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Poking around Unity

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For the past couple of weeks I've turned my time to dissecting the problem statement "If I were to build a simple casual game in the Supercell mould, what would it take?".

However instead of planning it with any real degree, I just picked some tech and started throwing it together.

I'm relatively pleased with the result so far. A simple server running in Windows Azure and a simple text console "client" which I can perform the various actions for the game. I've got a few of the core features in place already, which is satisfying:

  • Simple tech-tree of buildings and upgrades which is data-driven (defined in a JSON doc)
  • Basic resource generation and harvesting mechanic
  • Server-side action validation and state persistence

    I can "log" in from anywhere and play (in theory). Although right now there's nothing more than building, upgrading to an extra level and resource harvesting.

    I'm getting to the point where my text-based front end isn't satisfying and am looking to put it together in a form that more resembles a game. A couple of issues here already; my intended target platform is Windows Phone 8/Windows 8. This seems to limit the options I have for out-of-the-box engines and SDKs from the get-go.

    Initially I was planning on using MonoGame. This is basically an open-source XNA and would let me target WinPhone8 from day 1 and migrate to other platforms as I needed. However, the downside of MonoGame is that you have to build lots of things you get as part of a full engine, or things you can add-on simply from third party libraries. This is a bit of a bummer from a productivity standpoint.

    I've decided to work in Unity 4 "free" for the time being. At the moment this will be prototype-work mostly - trying to get the game as I want in an environment that allows rapid iteration. The downside is that if I end up loving Unity, I'll have to fork out a load of cash and will have to wait on the hope they provide WinPhone 8 support. But right now, the benefits of using it as a prototyping ground are strong, so it feels like a simple option.

    Now, to figure out how to actually use Unity :)

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What don't you like about it? I'm just starting out with it, so I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

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I like Unity for the ability to work on a wide array of platforms. Unity can be a great engine to rapidly prototype an idea and further refine components of game play. Plus it is free to use.

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After taking all these years to learn to program I don't want to have to learn another framework. I've already got everything I need to make first person shooters or any other game from www.GameTutorials.com.

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I've been playing with Unity for a little while now, mostly because I decided to take the jump into developing an indie game and realized that I can either spend time putting an engine together or spend time actually working on the design.  Also, I managed to browbeat a couple of coworkers into helping me with it in return for vague promises of undefined wealth, so the fact that it is easy to learn and work with means more can be done at the end of the day.  I'm curious to see where the limitations exist and exactly how it'll be to deal with once we get into the more unorthodox parts of the design, though. 

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