I shall teach you new things! Project Spikes 9-11-13 Update!

Sorry I’ve took so long with this update, I’ve had stuff to do. And things. But without further delay, here’s the latest update! 

spikes-30There are new particle effects when you use a checkpoint, and a little “whooosh” sound effect that plays, hence they are infinitely cooler than before. More importantly than that, I’ve updated World 1 levels 1, 2, 3 and 4 (again) so they’re a little bit cleaner and, of course, textured. A newer level 5 will be coming soon, but so far it’s proven to be a bit of a nightmare, given how much is in the level. Each tile I’ve used to create the levels can now have a separate texture applied to each side, so each level should look tidier at the edges in particular.

spikes-34Perhaps the most important change in this update is the inclusion of an interactive tutorial, which guides new players into learning the mechanics of the game. This feels much better than the previous tutorial level and is a lot more enjoyable more than before, plus it’s much more useful at teaching the player the basic concepts of the game. Dotted around the level are mini billboards, which now have 64×64 images as opposed to the previous 32×32 textures, so my doodles are more detailed than before.

spikes-35I’ve also added a proper options menu, which is  copied just a little bit from one of my older projects (ctrl-C and ctrl-V are my friends). Here you can change your graphics and sound settings (from “basic” to “ermahgerd” for the video settings and 0-100 for audio), as well as check out your computer’s specs.

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That’s about it for the bigger features in this update, here are a few smaller things:

-Turrets have sounds now! *pew pew*

-More scenery that can be blasted around using the force gun

-Medpacks will replace grapes as a health pickup (see picture above). I guess I’ll add food back in at some point though

-Running! Hold down left-shift to run, it’s a much better way of getting around

-Super-subtle code optimisation, it’s (probably) made things quicker than before

-Removed a random directional light in level 4 which was slowing things down rather a lot

I hope you enjoy playing! Have fun 🙂

-Daniel

10/05/13 Update- Saving and loading

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I’ve done more work on my game over the past few days, and I’ve got an automatic saving and loading system working. This is a great achievement considering I’m not at all advanced at programming, and I’m pleased with how it works. Now, when you enter a portal, and therefore complete a level, your record number of gems is saved. This means you won’t lose all of your progress every time you exit a level, and any levels you’ve unlocked (i.e. if you have had enough gems to enter the level before) will remain unlocked. So that means you don’t have to collect loads of every gems in the hub world every time you want to go into Level 1, for example.

The record number of gems for the level you’re in is displayed in the corner, which is useful to tell you that you need more gems. Soon I will add a counter to tell you how many gems the level contains, but since there’s just a random assortment of gems in the level so far, that’s a rather pointless thing to add at the moment.

unity_platformer_21I’ve finally added some better, more colourful trees too. I had a play around with Blender too, and came up with some really basic scenery such as a bridge and this awesome rainbow (which looks a little weird when viewed from the side, but I’ll fix that). This rainbow is just a circle, cut in half, then I divided it into seven bands and added coloured textures to it. It look pretty cool in the game, along with another thing I added: more trees! These are simply re-textured leaves, coloured a nice dark pink. They look pretty awesome.

unity_platformer_trees_2The shape of the pinky-red trees are different, but ultimately the texture is the same as the green trees, just re-coloured. But they look awesome. I’ve also started work on another level, which will eventually be a volcano level with a rocky environment around it. You need 200 gems in the hub world to access it currently, but there’s plenty in the level so you shouldn’t have a problem.

unity_platformer_20There’s not much currently here, but it will hopefully evolve into a more detailed world. The game accurately keeps track of your highest gem record in this world too. I will add a transition level at some point between entering worlds, that may come next. I haven’t made a video on this update, but you can still download the .exe file for this to play around with it and give feedback or any ideas you have. Thanks for reading!

-Daniel

From 2D to 3D! The Unity game engine

Recently, while researching more about the subject of game development, I discovered a wonderful game engine called Unity. The basic version is free (there is a Pro version, which has many more features but isn’t free), and it includes all you need to start making your own game straight away, with its own IDE included and many pre-made features and components ready for use. The game supports three main programming languages- Javascript, C# and Boo- and since I have some experience with Java, I am now learning Javascript (don’t confuse the two, they are not the same, albeit very similar concept-wise). Writing scripts for use with Unity is very simple, and a lot of the legwork is done for you by the game engine itself, and all you need to do is drag and drop scripts into the game engine’s interface to automatically apply a script to a game object. From a design point of view, the interface is a dream, allowing for quick, visual editing of your game world in a virtual 3D space to resemble your finished product. Some tricky aspects of game production, such as cameras and lighting, are handled by the engine itself, allowing for more fluid gameplay and better graphics. I’ve been playing around with it for a couple days, and I dont really have much to show about it, but anyone looking to develop 3D games will definitely love this. I made a very basic scene where you can move the camera around, and whenever you left-click, it places a cube, which then falls to the ground. It’s extremely simple but took no time to make, which shows the ease at which you can play around with this to create whatever you want.Image

Its design-focused basis allows for incredible precision in creating your game environment, which will please perfectionists everywhere. It is also easy to import 3D models and animations from popular modelling packages such as 3ds Max, Cinema 4D and Blender. I chose to use Blender, since it is free and open source, with many of the features of costlier packages. Now I can make my own models of characters, items or scenery, give them animations, import them into Unity and they’re ready to go! Hopefully I can get a good prototype game going with this (I have planned to make a practice platform game based on the old Crash Bandicoot and Spyro games, it should be great!), and I will get back to you with my progress! Oh, and I haven’t given up on my 2D Java game, I’ll still show my progress with that sometime. Oh, and here’s the link to the Unity website: http://unity3d.com/unity/ . Thanks for reading!

-Daniel