By Jon Holtan
I’ve always been interested in games. From an early age I spent hours playing them and in my college years I spent hours building them. Only after did the desire to build fun and exciting games shift to building great products. However, I’ve never let my interest in making games die, it has always been rumbling around inside my thoughts.
You tend to hear a lot of different questions about new technologies when you spend your days working in a startup. I believe every developer wonders if and when they will make a name for themselves as one of the few experts in said technology. A few months back I found myself in this moment, there was a pair working on a scope that involved Unity. They were unsure of the inner workings of Unity and I was asked to come have a look. Now, I am by no means a Unity expert as I have only worked with Unity a handful of times, but I was still excited to be able to share my knowledge. This moment gave me a chance to introduce TribalScale to Unity.
“Unity is the ultimate game development platform. Use Unity to build high-quality 3D and 2D games, deploy them across mobile, desktop, VR/AR, consoles or the Web, and connect with loyal and enthusiastic players and customers.” — Unity Website
As time went on, I began to explore more of Unity and would often discuss the engine with a friend who makes games professionally. I had been wanting to make a game for a while but none of my ideas stuck. Recently, TribalScale purchased a couple copies of Unity Games by Tutorials and I have been working through them during my free time in the mornings. I highly recommend this book for anyone who is curious about Unity, it has definitely helped me understand the principles. When I started to look at development in Unity, I knew I ultimately wanted to create something simple and show my peers that Unity is cool. That something is Robot Rampage.
The tutorial laid the groundwork for a game called Robot Rampage, players would have to defeat as many robots as they could before their health reached zero. The Unity tutorial went over how to import 3D models, write scripts, track health, score, etc. through the UI (User Interface), and create meaningful gameplay. Upon finishing the tutorial, it felt like there were some missing elements that would help complete the game. I began adding enemy health bars, sound effects, fixing bugs, and implementing a leaderboard system. You can’t have a game without some way to compete against your friends. The additions took about a week to finish, and let me tell you, it was so much fun to see an idea come to life.
While working with Unity, for what was essentially the first time (in many years), I made a list of some tips that helped me along:
- Make sure to consume a lot of information. Whether that be tutorials, blog posts, or videos, it is important to understand where you can find help if you get stuck.
- When you get stuck on a tough problem, try to break it down into smaller problems. If that doesn’t seem to work, try taking a break, walk away and go do something else. In that time, your mind will be free to think of a different solution.
- Remember it is totally okay that your game may not look/work exactly like the tutorial. These engines evolve over time — and faster than most tutorials can keep up with — and you will run into problems. However don’t fret, remember to read the documentation and understand the problem you are having. Chances are that your “really big problem” could be as simple as a changed API.
- Above all else remember to have fun, you are creating art!
I am proud of what I created, even though it is a short and simple game, it was fun to work and release it to the members of the Tribe. I will continue to work on and improve the game after gathering feedback. I felt that it was important to finish an idea and showcase what can be done in Unity. I will definitely continue to learn and build with Unity over the course of 2018.
Note: This is not a fully published game and you may need elevated security permissions.
Jon is an Agile Android Engineer at TribalScale OC. He spends his time building quality applications for the biggest brands, such as AAA and a major automotive manufacturer, he teaches Android, and explores the latest technologies. Outside of work, he enjoys giving back and sharing his knowledge at local meet-ups and cooking up a tasty storm in the kitchen.