Unity Editor screenshot

Game Dev Diary #1 – early days & false starts

A friend and I have begun work on a PC game project, and I’ve decided to write an irregular dev diary covering our work as it progresses.

Just to unpack this a bit: he and I have dabbled with various ideas and projects before. I’ve been gradually learning to use Unity since about the middle of last year, although my efforts on that front massively dropped off once I started writing for Rock, Paper, Shotgun (there’s only so much time in the week). The two of us had worked through various tutorials and were dabbling with a couple of projects of our own invention, none of which really went anywhere.

To date we’ve very much been dabblers: I’ve dabbled in GameMaker, Construct2, even RPG Maker and Adventure Game Studio, primarily I think because my brain is telling me “you want to make a game” whilst failing to deliver any killer ideas.

Fortunately, I had an actual good idea! A pub session in which I talked through the concept left us both enthused about it and we’re going to work on it gradually, as and when we have time to spare. I don’t expect rapid progress but having something interesting to focus on should help with our motivation and consistency.

So far we’ve made little progress. I’m writing my first ever game design doc, trying to formalise the core concepts and chuck in ideas and information around the tertiary stuff that is on a mental list headed “might be fun, but might ruin the core mechanics”. I’m aiming to keep this doc fairly breezy and “living”, rather than a big obnoxious monolith we never look at again, but I also want to cohere the ideas and systems at the core of the game before we start any serious development. If they later change, that’s fine, but I want to articulate the original vision and for any drift from that to be deliberate rather than accidental.

We’ve mucked around with trying to work out how to accomplish a few of the technical challenges we’re already aware of in a scratch Unity project – well, Ben has, I was mostly trying to update the design doc on my phone as my bloody Netbook died – but so far that’s about it. Given the recent announcements concerning Unity 5, Unreal Engine 4 and – hell – even Source 2, we’re probably going to want to put some serious thought into which DK we build with. Watch this space, I guess; we know Unity best so far, but UE4 does look much easier to get to grips with than it used to.

That’s it for now – hopefully the next update will contain more info of actual substance.

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