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Step by Step

Every day I do my best at plugging away at my craft. As I explain in my previous blog post, the games I am currently making are to improve my skills with C# as well as getting more comfortable with the Unity engine. The first simple game in these string of games for self-improvement is called The Gap and I have been hammering away at it for about six weeks. So far it has been pretty challenging but it is coming along nicely.

I decided to make The Gap because I have always wanted to make a platformer. Coming from a Flash background, it was kind of a pain developing platformer games. As I'm sure you already know, Flash is an animation tool and not a game engine. This meant I always had to hard code all things physics related: collisions, forces, gravity, etc. While still definitely doable, it was kind of a pain and wasn't worth the effort to me at the time. That said, there are game engines that work with Flash/AS3 such as Flixel and FlashPunk that handle common gameplay elements so you don't have to reinvent the wheel every time, but I just didn't want to take the time to learn them (preferred to learn more intermediate programming concepts in AS3). So you can imagine the joy I experienced when I switched to Unity and got to experience what it was actually like developing a game with an actual game engine! It's frickin' fantastic!

Working with Unity has been amazing but it hasn't been all rainbows and butterflies. A new engine and a new language require a lot of work to learn and even more trial and error. Thankfully my experience in AS3 has helped make the transition to C# a little easier. I know the more I work at it the easier it will become and that's why working on a simple platformer like The Gap has been so great. It has got me used to working with various types of collisions and understanding how physics work in the engine. The game has also been a great opportunity to learn about all of the various UI elements within Unity as I also got to create a level selection scene for the very first time. In fact, the level selection scene proved to be the hardest thing for me to program so far and it took me the better half of two weeks to figure it all out. It was definitely worth the time and now I know a crap ton about handling UI and animations within Unity.

So what now? Well I have already programmed the vast majority of the core gameplay elements, so now begins the really fun stuff - building the levels! More on that coming soon!

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