New Coding Adventure

Over the last few years I’ve spent a fair amount of time tinkering around with making games on and off. They can be inspiring to think and talk about, but the two major shots that I have taken at making a game have been put off for one reason or another. The first major shot was using pygame and python using the Eclipse IDE. After a while of learning the ropes of python and the libraries, I realised that I really had to use something that had a lot of libraries written for it already, as necessary libraries for the more advanced stuff down the track were not written, so I could see a huge great wall coming up to wack me in the face at some undetermined future date. Although I did make a really nice spirograph thing, and a relatively simple game for my friend Cass, which took me 3 or 4 hours to write, 90% of which were me in the hysterics :) (Get them here).

The screenshot above is from a simple early spirograph experiment in python/pygame. (To Download this go here)

So after a rest and a breather for about 6 months, I eventually hooked back in, and went near-pro style, coding a little 2.5D shooter up in C++ with OpenGL, FMOD and SDL. Its actually sorta finished, in terms of the basic game mechanics. But the wall here that I didn’t expect was, as well as the known complexity of the code giving me quite a number of headaches, was the somewhat sluggishness at which I could create and incorporate content into the game…. I basically had to raw code the geometry for the objects in the game myself, which is cool, but beyond the 2.5D shooter I could see no future unless I just quite everything else and became a hermit for a year…. No Dice.

Above is an early shot of the 2.5D C++/OpenGL geometry shooter. Might get around to finishing it one day.A closeup of one of the geometric enemies from the geometry shooter… Sorta need to imagine it pulsating…..

So another year or two passes, a lot of that time swallowed up by my PhD studies (which continue of course 😉 ) and now I am turning my attention, to what I hope to be third time lucky, to an already made engine called Unity, which rather than being code-focussed like Python or C++ (80% of time writing code, 20% working with content), it turns it on its tables and becomes very content-focussed (80% of time content, 20% code), and also provides all of the raw skeletal necessities that any game program needs so you don’t have to start from scratch. I’m fairly confident that I’ll do really well at Unity, especially in the coding sections given my C++/Python game coding ability. Unity code is basically Javascript or C#, and then you only need to write snippets rather than full code.

So wish me well! My first attempt will be a Skyroads/Trailblazer kind of game, which I will also review at a later date. It seems that this type of game is well within my grasp. I might make an iPhone/Android version, and perhaps XBox Live. We shall see, we shall see :) Might make me first million 😛 But what I’d really like to do is to get as good at making games as I am with guitar or music, and bash out some unique games with unique style and feel. Thats a bit in the future, but I’ll get there :)

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