Day 92

I had originally planned to create a card game and then a clicker/incremental as my first and second project. I decided against that because in short, I want to also enjoy the game rather than using it only as a learning exercise and those game genres aren’t particularly fun for me.

So what can be a relatively simple type game that I can also have fun with? A SHMUP – shoot ’em up. It gives me a lot of options and I can make it as simple or complicated as I want.

I hope to have something to show you next week!

 Onward!

Day 83: See You Next Sunday

I’ll be away for the long weekend without access to a computer that runs Unity. I picked up a book on C#7 at the library to help be productive with the downtime.

It’s closing in on three months since I started my game dev learning. Looking back through all the posts, on one hand I feel like I’ve learned a lot…but on the other, it feels like I haven’t accomplished anything.

Three months is a long time until I consider at 1 hour a day, it’s really only 2 full-time weeks of work and that helps me put it in perspective.

With my new job schedule, I’ll have a set schedule with every weekend off for the first time in years. As such, this will be my last daily post. I will instead be posting a new weekly update every Sunday night starting with May 26th.

I trust that I am disciplined enough at this point not to require a daily check-in, but I’ll reeveluate that if I feel myself slacking 😛

Onward!

 

Day 79: Browsing

Today was the first day of my new job…and my brain is frazzled. All I managed to do was browse the Unity Asset store and see if there was anything I wanted to purchase before May Madness ended.

Tomorrow I’ll try harder to actually accomplish something after work regardless of how tired or anxious I’m feeling.

Onward!

Day 78: GoldenEye (N64)

Some of my favorite memories playing games were the GoldenEye tournaments my friends & I would host. We’d have three N64’s set up with four of us huddled around each one.

It’s still so vivid; the smell of pizza and the feel of sticky controllers from spilled pop, the cries of “No Oddjob!”, and the ocassional ‘tsk, tsk’ from my mother checking in on us and complaining how the game was too violent. Those were good times.

I was only reminded of those days because of the following snippet in the Haunted Jaunt tutorial:

 
Now you need to fix a small problem. The movement vector is made up of two numbers that can have a maximum value of 1. If they both have a value of 1, the length of the vector (known as its magnitude) will be greater than 1. This is the relation between sides of a triangle described by Pythagoras’ theorem.

This means that your character will move faster diagonally than it will along a single axis.  In order to make sure this doesn’t happen, you need to ensure the movement vector always has the same magnitude.  You can do this by normalizing it.  Normalizing a vector means keeping the vector’s direction the same, but changing its magnitude to 1.  

Playing multiplayer GoldenEye, we had discovered that we could go faster by straffing diagonally than just foward or backward. I had always thought it was a glitch – and maybe FPS purists would classify it as one. It wasn’t until 20+ years later that I understood the math behind it.

Onward!

Day 68: Not By Reading Alone

Just a couple quotes I found interesting from the introduction to The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell:

Please do not think that reading this book, or any book, will make you into a game designer, much less a great game designer. Game design is not a set of principles, it is an activity. You could no sooner become a singer, pilot, or basketballplayer by reading a book than you could become a game designer.

There’s an saying among game designers: “Your first ten games will suck — so get them out of the way fast.

Current Progress Status

  • Tower Defense Tutorial: 63/73
  • The Art of Game Design by Jesse Schell (pg 88/518)
  • C# The Yellow Book (pg 52/216)

Onward!

Day 56: Community

What stands out while going through the SoloLearn C# course is the helpful user community.  I’m on lesson 52/72 and it isn’t a stretch to say that I’ve learned just as much – if not more – from the comments in each lesson than the lesson itself.     Everyone is trying to help each other and that is great to see and experience.

I’m nearly two months into my journey and I would like to thank you readers for making me feel part of a community here as well. 

WeirdBeardDev thank you for all your helfpul advice, comments and support!  It means a lot and has been invaluble to my progress. I’m excited to follow your dungeon crawler quest.

psychocod3r, I appreciate your insight as well and continue to read all your blogposts. I don’t comment often on them only because the material is often so far over my head and beyond my expertise that there’s nothing I can contribute, but I continue to read and glean whatever I can from your projects.

Thanks also to lakehoundgames (hope your new job is going well!) and everyone else that has commented and shared.

I started the blog as a self-motivational tool and didn’t expect to connect with such great people online with similar goals and interests.

A deep and sincere thank-you to everyone.

Current Progress Status

  • Tower Defense Tutorial: 54/73
  • Clean Code by Robert C. Martin (pg 116/464)

Onward!

Day 54: Tripartite

My game development plan is a simple three pronged approach:

Learning to use Unity and program in C# are clear, concise goals attained by following tutorials, reading books, and repeated practice. There may be some offshoots from C# such as also learning to use VS Code & git/Github, but all in all, the goal is in sharp focus.

The third prong – ‘Misc game dev skills’ – is where I need to narrow scope. It can include many different areas of game development such graphics, sound, writing, marketing and publishing.

For example, creating images and models means becoming proficient in Photoshop, Blender or Maya. I could spend countless hours learning just to do that (and still do it poorly) and never have a game see the light of day…or I can utilize the expertise of an artist.

There’s one thing that makes me hesitant to use assets I didn’t create. I’ll talk about it in tomorrow’s post.

Current Progress Status

  • Tower Defense Tutorial: 53/73
  • Clean Code by Robert C. Martin (pg 116/464)

Onward!

Day 46: Never Have A 0% Day

It’s been a difficult week in my personal life. I’m waiting to get the lab results of a biopsy and it has been weighing on my mind. Today, I got pulled over for having an expired license and fined $310. That really stings.

(I have email reminders for my registration and insurance renewals each year, but I’d forgotten about my license which is only renewed every 5 years. No excuses, it’s completely my fault. It’s just tough to swallow with finances being so tight.)

So when I got home after another day at my dead-end job, I sat at my computer, dejected. No motivation to do any learning. Almost looking for an excuse to quit.

It took a few minutes of mindful meditation to recalibrate myself.

I had to remember that there will never be a perfect time to pursue my dream of game development. Life will always throw obstacles in the way. Whether it’s health, money, work or whatever – if I were to wait for an opportune time where everything was ‘just right’, I would never accomplish anything.

I apologize for the opening to this post being more of a personal diary entry rather than a game dev one but I guess it’s to be expected at times. Dreams are very personal…and developing games is my dream.

In the GDC talk No Time, No Budget, No Problem: Finishing ‘The First Tree’, one point that stood out to me was ‘never have a 0% day’.

David Wehle, the developer of The First Tree, is married and father to two young children. He worked full-time. His father had recently passed away. I doubt he would say everything was ‘perfect’ in his life to start gaming development.

In order to work on his game, he needed to make sacrifices. Staying up late every night, he was able to devote approximately 10 hours each week to his game over the course of 18 months.

David’s talk was one of the most motivating talks I’ve listened to and I am glad I watched it earlier this week. I really needed it.

Along with always working on his game, even just a little bit each day, he licensed publicly available assets to save even more time.

Although he could have made most of the assets himself, he estimates licensing them instead saved him roughly 600 hours of work. Considering his game took about 1000 hours to create, that’s an immense amount of time savings that would have otherwise nearly doubled development time.

The resources he used included:

So even though I’m feeling low, in line with the ‘never have a 0% day’ motto, I’m going to continue working on the Health Bar Tutorial which is a branch of the main Tower Defense Tutorial I’ve been following.

Current Progress Status

  • Tower Defense Tutorial: 47/73 -> Health Bar Tutorial 2/7
  • Unity in Action (Pg 324 of 352)

Onward!

Day 31: No Shortcuts

A programming book at the library caught my eye. The front cover proclaimed I could learn C# in one day. Not only would I learn it well, the back cover stated that I could “easily master” the language even if I had never coded before. The entire book from preface to index was 159 pages.

This post isn’t to knock this particular book. In fact, I found it well written in that it built upon concepts in manageable, easy to understand steps. As an introduction to the language, I think it did a fine job.

But to master C#? To learn it well in just one day? Come on now.

There is no magic shortcut to learning a programming language. Beginners should not be discouraged if they don’t pick it up right away. I’m a month in and have barely scratched the surface.

A few days back I started reading “C# in Depth”, got a couple chapters in and decided it would be best to revisit the book when I had a deeper understanding of the language so I could fully appreciate what the author was explaining.

There’s no shame in not understanding everything right away. Learning is a journey with no shortcuts.

Current Progress Status

  • Tower Defense Tutorial: 23/73
  • Unity in Action (Pg 110 of 352)

Onward!

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