MyI@FarNiche

Building an XNA Game Studio XBox360 Indie Game.

[page 0075] ~ Up to speed Back on track :

Updates: –  FireFox 36.0.1. , FireFox 36.0.4
DownLoads: – ZBrush 4R7, In-line FL Studio BETA3, Allegorithmic Bitmap2Material v.3 & Substance Designer 5.0.1 & Painter 1.3.2,  Unity v.5.

I almost had a blog post for this WordPress Series earlier this month, but it turned into a Gamasutra Blog instead, Life as an Indie Game Developer.  It is a synopsis of what I’ve gone through for the past couple of months after my old computer rig failed.  I learned a lot, so any Indie Game Builder might learn a thing or two from that blog post.

But now that I’m mostly back in action, I have been trying to figure out how to use my time effectively while pressing forward in my game building expedition with One Game A Month.  A major change with this new rig came from my acceptance of an offer from Unity where I am now using Unity 5 as my preferred game engine.  Unity 5 is now free, as the Unity Personal Edition, so this is where I will be consolidating my time, effort and game assets.  With the Unity 5 game engine I will be perpetuating my own form of continued education in the field of computer science through game building.  Previously, I had been working through a Computer Major and Business Minor in which I threw my extra time and effort, when I could, at the University.  Now, I’m on my own, still no degree, with only the actual education that I have taken away.  But to move forward with these new tools, technology and knowledge recently acquired as an Indie Game Developer, I must also build my own curriculum and chart my own progress.  The entrepreneurial drive to continue building is what keeps me going.  But to keep from spinning my wheels I need a plan, and this is where my website comes into play.

I have kept my FarNiche website as simple as possible.  It has three main places of focus, Home, Research and About.  The Index page is the Home page.  This is where I start off to begin going somewhere.  The Home page holds most of my links to the ancillary accounts I use.  The connected services are found via links to the internet.  These links are representative as the icons of the providers.  When I click on an icon I’m whisked off to where my participation is within their service.  Next, the Research section of my site is slightly different.  Research is split into two major divides.  The first half consists of a main page with a list of the programs, the tools that I use.  The second half is formatted in the same way but is a collection of knowledge based concerns.  This second Production Pipeline section holds links to what I need to know and become familiar with to use the tools from the first half.  The last section, the About page, is the final section of the three main divides.  This is mostly about me, what I like, where I come from, how I got here, what I’ve been up to.  It is my memento box, for the most part and holds my mission statement of what makes me, me.

A while back, when I first started my FarNiche website it was mainly derived by my previous works which became the focus used to center my About page.  I tried to figure out what my mission statement should be from what my ideas of game building were, and from there the About section solidified.  Then, because I had previously built games for the PC and XBox360 using C# and the XNA Game Studio, the direction of the Research page was formed around that platform.  But shortly after I began building my Research section to showcase my XNA game building venture, I started in with my participation with One Game A Month.  But I had no realistic way of getting any C# XNA XBox/PC game submitted to One Game A Month.  So my initial Research section quickly faded out of sight and out of mind.

Now I have finally gotten around to my Research section again and it also has taken on a new format. It has also taken on its new shape from all of the new and varied provider directions as I branched off from a strictly XBox C# XNA game building format.  Because I signed up with many services to keep in the loop with different activities of other “Indies”, I found other ways in which participants were building games, each geared towards their own way of expressing Game Development.  Everyone there at One Game A Month was building with what suited them best, any platform, any tools, whatever was capable of making and playing a game.  So although I had some work moving along for a while, from my XNA days, once I jumped in with One Game A Month, I found many other possibilities to gamify the computer technology as a game developer.

So I have been putting a lot of time into the Research section of my website and have completely rebuilt it.  It is back and continually evolving where it has become something of a scheduler, bookmarker, thought keeper and wish list of sorts.  It has become more like a menu of searches consolidated under various game development topics.  The Production Pipeline Research section has its focus where concepts find instruction in concern to the tools that are used.  To implement the tools and facilitate their use in the construction of those concepts, the ideas must become objectified and in turn become assets built from the tools where they then make up the game.  And that is what the Research is now all about.

Lately, its been mostly testing out the new rig along with its performance issues to see what it is capable of.  From there comes learning how the different programs’ exported assets fit from one part of the production chain into the next.  Finally the record keeping of all the progress and brainstorming that is done is fitted into this WordPress blog.  Also, now, through a newly created Game Dev Series on my +Farnicheé YouTube Channel I have a Vlog.  This newest creation, my video blog, chronicles an aspect of my most relevant progress as a Video Milestone. That’s it.

G’day.

March 30, 2015 Posted by | 2015 [0073] to [0???] | , | Leave a comment

[page 0055] ~ Neon Designs:

Updates – QuickTime 7.7.5 and Windows ShutDown Updates.

The theme this month, is NEON.

And Unity4 has grown to become Unity5.  But the task at hand is that I get an MVP from my SOB where the book this month is, Unity 4.x Game AI Programming , to wit, obtain my Minimum Viable Product from Safari Online Books to produce a neon kind of game in Unity.

So I read on from my various sources and continue to view tutorial videos.  This brings me to the conclusion that what I need for this months game is to start out with a Particle System.  This is a component that is created through the dropdown of the Hierarchy tab within the Unity Game Engine.  This particle system produces what initially looks like a cascading fountain of fuzzy light gray sprite fluff balls.  This component also reminds me of the XBLIG samples, Particles and Particles 3D and the banter in XBox LIVE, for example, in the Community Forums.  With Unity, one thing I have noticed is that the “free” version has been given to use as a base model, in comparison to the Pro Unity version which is full featured.  But this free version gives me an opportunity to get an understanding of what this Game Engine is all about and what it can do.  Then, because of my previous experience with the Xbox LIVE Indie Games Developer site I have a better understanding of the code that builds up particle systems and further, what makes this Unity Game Engine a game engine.  Now with Unity taking care of the technical aspects of the implementation and usage of, for now, the particle system, I can work on differing aspects which will include building the Materials.  This then will also take me into the wonderful world of Shaders, free up some time to dig deeper into ZBrush and continue on with the many other parts of game building.

Well it looks like, I would guess with this version of Unity, I’m still in the kiddy pool.  With that I will start this game from scratch and see how far I can get, without any training wheels.  As I continue to study how to use all of the programs that are needed to create my game assets, be it 2D art, 3D models, code scripts, story lines, or countless other understandings, tasks and processes, I need to consider how I will be consolidating all of these within the Unity Game Engine as my game, with neon things in it.  And after that brief jaunt I find that that didn’t last long, because for now, starting from scratch will need to become another self modified project from using the base game of Unity Tutorials called Project: Roll-a-Ball.  And the name of my new game will be “Neonlithic”, where neon is an element and lithic is of stone.  This may sound strange for the name of a game but my direction within One Game A Month and my direction for game building because of One Game A Month has also taken a strange turn.  I have realized that there are many parts and varied processes that are involved in the creation of video games.  So my direction needs something lucid but also something solid to build from and upon.  Instead of focusing on a whole game per se, I will go into the different aspects of game parts and make those concepts into mini games that revolve around something that can be used within many games.  In short, what I will be doing with the Theme of the Month for One Game A Month, is to come up with reusable game parts, like a wizards wand blast in this months case.  The game will have nothing to do with a wizard nor the wand, but will focus on the blast, which will be in neon colors.  This will be the game part that comes under scrutiny for this month.  It will then be placed into a game format so a unit test can be performed while it also retains some gamish quality or enough so as to pass for a game of the month.  This way I will get another validated game part into my tool box, I get a finished game to submit for One Game A Month and I’ll get a little more back-story and future reference for the game and the part just built.  But beyond this I’ll become more confident in my own understanding of the different programs that are used to construct the varied assets needed to make a game an interesting and hopefully fun game to play within my own production pipeline.

To this end I will be reviewing the Roll-a-Ball tutorial in full, again.  And then why waste time, as I have already gone through viewing this whole tutorial project video sequence once, just recently, before.  It is time to learn and build, both together, just like math class lectures and home work assignments, learn and fail, just be consistent, test and adjust, remember and pass, it all works out for the best.  One thing I am noticing about using this game engine is that the object names assigned within Unity and MonoDevelop no longer need to be as long winded as I had become accustomed to making them.  I will never see these objects names outside of the game engines’ scripting API and the game engine itself.  So the variable names for the objects and the structures that make up the features of these objects, for all practical purposes, are encapsulated within Unity and Mono.  There is no longer any real need to make variable names any more type specific than that of just knowing what they are or possibly named for what they do in the game.  No longer will they need to incorporate prefixes for the implementation in the code because of, the slightly higher than low-level purpose that the naming conventions would normally provide, like in the c or c++ naming conventions.  Rather amazing, indeed.  But this does not preclude the use of syntax or pragma, so be it, such is life.

While chopping right into the scripting aspect of Unity, I seem to already have a general understanding of how scripts are used to augment the objects behaviors.  The objects in the game are altered by calling properties and methods of the object that then become affected and change the modifiers that create aesthetic appeal, promote a challenge for the player or somehow evolve game play that could not normally be accomplished with static processes.  While previously building games completely through code using XBLIG and Microsoft Visual C# 2010, I began to try to understand how I could add scripting to the games I had already written in C#.  What I really didn’t quite grasp at the time, was that, for all intents and purposes, that was pretty much all of what I was doing already.  My games, although precompiled into an .exe, were one huge mega script that became a homogeneous, part and parcel, game and game engine integral combination.  I would guess that is why, for me, the Unity Game Engine is so intriguing.  Back when writing pure C# games, but of course while also incorporating .obj’s and .bmp’s and the like, I began to run into stumbling blocks that took the form of something that could have been remedied, from what I thought would be some kind of flowchart.  I was trying to come up with some type of schematic that would help me consolidate the “whole lot of everything”.  All of that had need, for me, to come together and become more apparent in structure in that: it would have the capacity to retain orderliness while building, would be seen as rather amorphic until put to use and once again intriguing in facility because of its vast and varied scope of conjointed implementations.  I think I like this Unity Game Engine, even though I am still learning what it does and how it works.

But this current game is going to be a template for better things to come.  What I’m working on now is getting the Roll-a-Ball ball to move around on a flat surface, but then to also have a third person camera follow that “Avatar” around.  The problem currently is trying to figure out how to have the camera follow behind the Avatar.  I have gotten the camera to pivot 360 degrees horizontally from the offset point, which looks down at the Avatar at an angle.  It is from the tutorial, but it is always attached to the Avatar from the south so the Avatar is completely out of view when looking south.  And as there are four walls that are barriers that help to keep the Avatar on the board, but the Avatar is always hidden when the camera is facing south and blah de-blah de-blah.  Hmm.  And, there is something else that is going wrong here, that is, if while moving the Avatar about the playing field and the camera is spun to look backwards the controls that were N,S,E&W are also backwards and do not work as intended.  The camera turns but the controls do not follow the Avatar and subsequently the camera, well they do but left is right and so on and so forth, it gets backwards, dumb stuff and stupidity, whatever.

Almost done, maybe not, so,

To Be Continued …

G’day.

March 22, 2014 Posted by | 2014 [0050] to [00??], The Process | , , | Leave a comment