Monday, September 7, 2015

The Story So Far... Part 1

Welcome back everybody!

In this post I'm going to give you guys a little bit more backstory on my journey into game development.  The truth is, I've been working on Eruptoid off and on for about 2 years now.  Let me tell you the story.

Just before July of 2013, I decided that I was going to learn how to program in Unity.  I had looked into Unity a long long time ago, back when a free game engine was a big deal.  I didn't have the patience or the skill set at that time to learn a game engine or make a game.  I wanted something fast and easy, and way back then there was no such thing.  But I digress.  Every summer my wife and I go on vacation with her family to a house in Murrels Inlet, SC.  The property has been in the family since the 60's.  Beautiful view.  So naturally, I decided that I'd take that 1 week to learn Unity.

Unity 4.3 I believe had just come out at that time.  We brought my wife's laptop to the beach and when folks were taking their afternoon naps, I sat down with a pair of headphones and went through the basic unity tutorials.  You can still find them here.  Naturally, I started with the very first tutorial - Roll-a-Ball.  If you have clicked on and reviewed that link, you'll find that it's basically the game I'm making.  Yes, Eruptoid is an extension of the very first beginner tutorial.  But it is also so, so, so, so, so very much more.  I also went on to do the space shooter tutorial, and attempted the stealth tutorial, which I was not successful at completing due to its dependency on several Unity Pro features which were not free at the time.  I also played around a bit with various modifications to those tutorial projects (like a first person camera on the space shooter).  At the time, those were the only 3 tutorials up at that link.  None of the other tutorials available today existed back then.

So, believe it or not, in the span of just a few days, a few hours a day, I had acquired the skills to make very basic games in Unity, and had been pointed in the right direction to learn anything else I needed to know about Unity.  However, this was not the end of it.  I was only scratching the beginning, and now found myself with more questions that needed answers.  Where do meshes come from?  Where do textures come from?

I don't really remember specifically what made me decide to pursue working on the roll-a-ball concept more.  I think it was because I mistakenly believed at the time that a game where the main character was a rolling ball, and all the levels were basic primitives would eliminate a lot of the work that I didn't know how to do yet.  I hoped that I could at least fake the rest.

As I said, I was quite mistaken.