Tag Archives: reflection

Four Small Unfinished Unity Projects

Over the last year I’ve been working on some small projects, each of which has been put into stasis or more than likely abandoned. Here’s a little glimpse at four of those projects.

A Cube Moving Puzzle Game

What I was really interested in learning whilst working on this project was how I could manipulate the mesh of a cube to make it animate. Like a lot of the game systems I design, it started moving towards a puzzle game.

The aim of the game was to remove the coloured cells on the larger cube by stamping on them with the smaller cube, which you control. I did spend some time adding symbols to help distinguish the colours as well as making the colours stamp a trail.

The idea was ok, and I was relatively pleased with the animation and style I managed to generate, however, I did not feel that this one was worth my time to get it into a playable state. The effort required to make the puzzles, I believed, would not be worth the finished outcome.

Drawing Shapes

For this project I was interested in how a system could recognise shapes drawn by the player on a touch screen.

The method used was to create a series of points as the player draws, making sure that they’re evenly spaced no matter how fast the player moves their finger on the screen. The centre was found, and any distinct changes in directions noted. This info was put through a series of tests to determine the most likely shape.

To make a sort of game from it, the player can only draw in the white section, with the navy blue timer restricting the drawing space. Completing the required shapes bought the player more time to keep drawing.

The game functioned but really wasn’t much more interesting that an experiment, so the final polish and push was abandoned for other projects.

Jump Snap

This game started as an idea to create a multi-player shared tablet game inspired by snap. I wanted to create something that couldn’t obviously be recreated in a physical form, or at least took advantage of the animation possible in digital games.

I started with shapes bouncing and rotating. At the moment of bounce they form a 2d shape allowing the 3d shape that they are part of to be switched to another one. In terms of animation I focused on the squash and stretch of the objects, as well as creating an offset between the two shapes bounce times.

Players did seem to struggle slightly with having to match the volumes of the 3d shapes rather than matching the sides (2d shapes). Something I’d have to find a way to make clearer in the instructions/tutorial for the game.

I did also consider the idea of creating a custom controller where players would stand on their own pad and have to jump in the air when the shapes matched.

This idea might be picked up again, if I can afford the time to make the custom controllers.

Tri-To-Hex-It

iconsWork

A game about sliding triangles around to make hexagons that match colour, which then flip to create more hexagons. Grey and white triangles make red triangles; red triangles make orange triangles; orange make yellow; green, blue then purple.

Out of all the games, this is the one I have been working on the longest, on and off for about 2 years. It is also the closest to being finished. It only requires two things.

  1. A final end game animation.
  2. Some music and sounds.

I stopped working on it the first time, when I thought I’d have to add a scoring scheme for the game to work. I then realised about a year later, that if I didn’t want a score system it didn’t need one (players can see how well they have progressed by the colours of the triangles they have revealed). I started up again, and worked a lot on the animation, adding depth to the triangles, which were previously flat 2d objects which faded rather than rotate.

Then I stopped again a while ago because I can’t do sound myself.

Once I find someone to do sound for this, I’ll put the finishing touches to it and release it. I just need to be a bit more pro-active finding a sound person.

Conslusions

Although I’ve not finished any of these projects, I have learnt a lot from doing them. My skills in Unity have come on a long way over the last year and every new project provides me with new insights and methods that I can use for the next.

For me in my current situation, I get more from making many unfinished projects than I would from finishing one project. I guess I’m just waiting for the project that I think is really worth it, and the time to really dedicate to it.

Maybe the next one will be the one.

P.S. This post has not included all the half finished board games I have lying around my desk, but maybe that’s another post for another day.

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Optisocubes – 30 days later and a Curious Event

optisocubes

Around thirty days ago, I uploaded optisocubes onto itch.io (@itchio), ‘an open marketplace for independent game creators’.

As per usual, I posted the link on facebook and twitter, and wrote a little about it on here. The first day, it was pretty clear that a handful of my close friends had taken a look at the game. However, on the second day I found, much to my surprise, that the game had be put on the itch.io latest featured games list, on their front page.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 17.04.33

My views for that day reached 189, far greater than my previous two itch.io accessible games FoxStar and Bright:Knight:Kite:Fight, to be honest I was pretty pleased and excited. My game got a small number of nice responses on twitter from people I had no connection to.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 11.04.41

Over the next couple of days, things generally calmed down, I was averaging around 40 views a day with a few peaks above 50 and some lows of around 20. All relatively good I thought. Comments came in about the game slowly (twitter search: optisocubes), three people sent me the amount of moves it took for them to complete it, so I at least know some people managed to finish it. I also sorted some minor issues with the games, animations and making sure it worked in most browsers.

One major improvement I made to the game was to make it playable on mobile devices using swipe controls, at the loss of being able to save your progress and come back to play it. This was the first time I had implemented touch controls on one of my games and it was really nice to be able to show people the game on my phone, even if it was only through the browser and not an app.

Being relatively pleased with how the game had been received I planned to write a post about it, which would have looked similar to what is above, however something strange started to happen.

Yesterday (2 July), just around lunch time I decided to check how many people had been viewing the game, and it was about 150, almost as high as the first day itch.io had it in their featured game list. Then I refreshed and it crept up by another 10. After I got back from lunch it kept getting higher. So much so, that I thought there was clearly something wrong with the data. There was no clear indication where these views were coming from. I could not find anything on twitter or through google which gave me any clue. By the end of the night my views chart looked like this:

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 00.57.26

There were a total of 1267 views for that day, I still presumed there was some sort of fault. After a little bit of rummaging online I think I found what caused the peak. I managed to find a link to a daily news letter from EmeraldStreet (@EmeraldStreet), which you can read in full here.

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 00.25.28

They posted a little section about the game in their In Other News section:

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 00.20.36

THIS GAME IS SIMPLE BUT ADDICTIVE

Somewhere on our travels through the internet we came across a clever game designed by first year students of game art at the University of Auckland. To play Optisocubes, press the key named at the top of the screen to guide the cube onto the blue highlighted square. After you hit the fourth level things start getting trickier. Hint – try changing your perspective on things (think about it being upside-down).

From looking at their twitter and facebook accounts it is apparent that they have a large enough readership to account for that days exceptionally high number of views. They have also written some pretty nice words about the game, so at least someone at their office appears to have enjoyed it.

but hang on one minute…

“designed by first year students of game art at the University of Auckland”

(Please read the following in a calm tone, I’m not angry just confused) I assure you that this game was not design by first year students of game art at the University of Auckland. It was designed and made by me. It actually really sucks to have your hard work and effort credited to someone else, something I have not really experienced before. I do not think it would take much of a look on google to find out who the game creator was, it is not some hidden secret.

Additionally there does not seem (I may be wrong) to be a game arts course at the University of Auckland, there is a minor course titled Game and Play Design at Auckland University of Technology. This information just makes the whole thing all the stranger. I cannot fathom why the game has been credited to a fictional course. This accreditation must have originated somewhere, but I doubt I’ll ever know where.

I guess these things happen all the time, some sort of loss of communication at some point, not that it really excuses it, just always be wary of everything you read it’s most likely written by fallible people. I’ve tried to contact EmeraldStreet via twitter to correct them, but so far have had no response, which is a bit of a shame, I hold no grudge just want to help correct their misinformation, I’m genuinely pleased they decided to include the game in the news letter.

Edit: EmeraldStreet have since, retweeted the link with me credited, thank you to them for their understanding.

In the end some more people had a chance to look at and play my game, who may not have had any reason to come across it on their usual trawls through the internet, and that is always a good thing.

If you have not had a chance to play optisocubes yet, why not have a play.