Monday, February 8, 2016

A Day of Unity

For basically this entire day I've been working in Unity, the game development engine. Now it's 11PM my time, and I haven't spent any time today thinking about a good blog topic. So, I figure I should just talk about Unity and why I dedicated the day to it.

As mentioned before, I'm taking classes in game design right now. So, the main reason I worked in Unity all day is because I have to bring a working minimum viable product to my class on Thursday. I know I won't have a lot of time to work on it after work during the week, so I've got to get as much done as I can on the weekends.

In case you're unfamiliar with the terminology, "minimum viable product" is a game development term for a playable version of a game, stripped down to its most basic elements. It's basically the first step in developing a good game, since if a game doesn't feel good and fun to play at this basic level this is the time to rework it before you spend a bunch of time building on the idea. Extra Credits did an episode on the idea several years ago, and I was amused when the instructor of my class played that episode in order to explain the concept.

Currently my classes are either teaching super-basic stuff (variable types) or complex, theoretical stuff (rotations via Quaternions), and I haven't been getting much practical experience with Unity yet during class time. For that, they've pointed to using for more hands-on experience, and the computer lab at Pima Community College has several computers with Lynda accounts set up for that purpose.

I'm not interested in spending hours at a time way across town in a computer lab, though, so instead I just went ahead and signed up for a personal Lynda account. It's $35 per month for the good stuff, which is a bit pricey, but worth the convenience for me. Lynda has tons of videos for learning all sorts of things, and they're genuinely informative, so I highly recommend checking it out if you have some skills you've been itching to pick up.

I swear they're not paying me to say that. If they'd like to offer me a free month for that endorsement, though, I'd be happy to take it.

Anyway, I took a Lynda course through the process of making a 2D game, and I think I learned most everything I need to know to make my minimum viable product. In fact, with Lynda I'm almost tempted to just drop Pima altogether and just refer to Lynda if I get stuck on anything. However, I can't discount the value of having actual, experienced people available to help me with my problems as they arise, so I'll stick with the program for this semester.

In any case, Unity is considerably less of a brick wall to me now after that Lynda course. The rest, I think, is going to take experimentation and practice, practice, practice to get more familiar with the functions and scripting. I just hope I'm half as committed to practicing with Unity as I am with getting a blog out every day.

Hopefully it starts to come as easily as blogging, too. I pooped this post out in just 30 minutes, not counting editing time.

1 comment:

  1. Lynda is great. It's too expensive for me to stay signed up for, but every so often I'll buy a month and take all the Perl or CSS courses I can handle.