Day 2 complete!
This morning I covered a lot of ground. By lunchtime I wanted all the students to have come up with a simple game design document showing the plan what would be in their game. First of all though, I wanted to give a wider view of some of the different styles of game that can be made with Unity, since we spent the majority of the time yesterday looking at things via the standard first-person controller prefab, and I really didn’t want to end up with ten first-person cube-firing physics shooters at the end of the week!
I demonstrated a range of different pre-made types of “player control” as alternatives to the first-person control we used yesterday. We had:
– A rotational third-person character with an over-the-shoulder camera view.
– A directionally-controlled character with a higher overhead style non-rotating camera view (rpg style).
– A physics-ball control similar to marble madness / super monkey ball.
– A generic flying “vehicle” which could be used for anything from a bird to a jet fighter
– A steerable car using wheelcolliders and suspension
I also ran through a list of the types of interactions and game-like activites that are particularly easy to achieve in Unity, such as
– Collecting items
– Physics challenges (building/toppling stacks, see-saws, swinging or hinged objects, etc)
– Numeric counters (ammo / health / targets or checkpoints hit)
– Trigger and Collider events
– Animation (eg, doors opening)
I also presented a short slideshow explaining a useful design “tool” described by Charmie on the funstormgame.com blog which is basically a simple diagram which helps you look at a game in terms of layers, with the game’s “core mechanic” at the centre, surrounded by secondary mechanics, then game progression, and finally the ‘story’. The article is a good read, and the slideshow I made was basically just a bulletpointed version of it.
Armed with this inspiration, the students were able to come up with lots of ideas – a few of which were possibly on the ambitious side given that we now have 3.5 days remaining, so I had to help them by suggesting simpler compromises – and by lunchtime each student had their own mini game design doc, complete with a “core mechanic” diagram describing their game.
In the afternoon, everyone dove headlong into making their games, and while going round the room solving individual problems, I also tackled lots of common game features on the projector for everyone to see, such as how to make a title screen, level progression, time limits, more complex trigger mechanisms, 2d camera work, the terrain engine, GUI text and 3D Text.
By the end of the day I was seeing the beginnings of lots of interesting games: