Breakfast of Eggs and Pitta
Thus another week comes to a close, and as the new countdown clocks tell me on my desktop, another 15 days remain until I start full time work and a further 19,000 or so until I die. Better make this quick.
“The part of life we really live is small. For all the rest of existence is not life, but merely time.” – On The Shortness of Life, Seneca.
This week was full-on with a capital T: there was hardcore learning and a decidedly excessive amount of game-unrelated activity leaving me rather frazzled at its denouement (they love me in la France). As I start full time work soon and will once more have to shamble in the light with the other daywalkers, I thought I’d make the most of my guilt-free-time (scans better than “guilt-free free time”) and not only fulfil all of my 0XP tasks, but also read every book I’ve ever cared to make note of, listen to the entirety of The Iliad, and spend quality time with my younger brother while we still have full days together before we can no longer sip rum + coke and play XCOM til the sun comes up.
Things I did this week
- Completed the RM2KDev YouTube RPG tutorial series
- Made a heap of notes regarding C#
- Did a fair bit of coding in Xamarin Studio
- Played with some more pixel art
The major thing to report this week was my change in approach to learning. As some of you might remember from one of my earliest posts, I outlined my habit of obsessive note-making that I found improved retention. HOWever. In recent weeks I’ve been finding myself, now having mastered some of the basics of Unity and C#, more resistant when I sit down to learn because the muscles in my hands cower at the prospect of having defile more innocent tree shavings with my scrawl.
It was certainly handy 😉 in the beginning to track the motion of every muscle and molecule of my progress, but now I’ve figured out what a ‘Scene view’ is and I can make an object move across the screen without questing into The Forgotten Library to consult the Grand Owl of the Archives, I think it’s time I moved on.
The RPG tutorial was short but useful. It introduced me to two pieces of interesting software: one being a custom Tileset maker (Tiled), another being a program which imports Tilesets (even including collision data) into Unity, making for quick and easy 2D art assets. I may return to these in my own project, though tbh I’m so over the whole cutesy SNES RPG look which it specialises in recreating.
The tutorials also showed me how to do simple cutscenes and an interesting trick where you can maintain the compression of what the camera captures whilst adjusting the screen size. What in holy crumpets does that mean? Basically it means that when changing the size of the screen, the game’s visuals will not change with it, but just show more or less of the map rather than expanding or compressing the image – which for games with support on multiple devices is a godsend. The code is also very simple:
A brief explanation: “maincam.orthographicSize” refers to half the camera’s vertical height (orthographic in this context meaning the camera has no perspective; essentially it can only view two dimensions), and this code sets it to a division of the screen’s height (Screen.height, for those of you paying attention) – tying what the camera views to the screen size. The numbers used are arbitrary, and could be adjusted with some fiddling, but the important thing is that it keeps the game’s compression consistent regardless of what device you’re using.
Very simple, but magic 😉 (winky winky I am cheeky today).
I additionally began playing with some more pixel art this week, and started designing an (intentionally, I swear) dull and washed out-looking potential protagonist of a game. Perhaps we’ll see more of him laterrrrr, hmmmmmmmm….
Further on the Feel
Another exciting development is that I think I already have a good idea of what I want my game to be! The escapism idea I mentioned last week has been haunting me. I can’t stop thinking about it, and every time I sit down to brainstorm ideas I end up relating them all back to this one. Tis a sign I feel, and one I’m not going to ignore!
I envision it to quite story-driven, and while I want certain sections to be like an RPG, I’m actually imagining the main gameplay loop to be combat a la (French again) the original Zelda/HyperLight Drifter set as a Dungeon crawler/Rogue-like a la (oh, one more time) The Binding of Isaac. What’s that Picasso quote? “Good artists borrow, great artists steal?” Yep, like it. Stealing that.
I’ve still got the C# basics to get through (deceptively complex – I didn’t think the ‘basics’ would be so extensive) in addition to the Unity 2D Rogue-like tutorial series, but I want to get started ASAP now I have an idea in my head, so I’ll make quick work of both of them I should think – like a professional Gordon Ramsay knifing through an insolent legume.
You can follow my progress on here, or on my other media outlets such as Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Any feedback is greatly appreciated I would be more than happy to chat if you wanna shoot some ball.
Many thanks for escorting me this week – I couldn’t have done it without you. Well, I mean, perhaps quite literally from a ontological perspective: without the readers to read the reading, how do we know if there is any reading to be read? Woahhh dude, how much pot do YOU smoke? Not enough my friend, never enough.
Au Goodbye (final French).