Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Unity Game Development: My Game Design Story (Cliffsnotes)

Hello Everyone!  If you don't already know me, let me introduce myself.  My internet name is Belart Wright and I like to create stuff.  I've been doing it for a while now and currently my imagination has extended to the formats of books and game design.  I'm only decent at one of them though.  The other, I have no clue where to begin.  I'm on the cusp of releasing a book this year so you can clearly infer which one I am lost in.

To give a little history, I began my experiments into game design a little before 2007.  Back then I made a few crappy flash shorts and some interactive stuff.  None of it elevated beyond the level of a child playing with finger paint for the first time.  If I had examples, I'd show you.  Actually I do have one example from my account.  You can find it here in it's full barely animated glory.

I've made worse and tried to get them through the portal but that's the only one that made it.  Anyways it started then and continued into 2007 when I went to a game design school.  There I barely learned anything at all really.  I did pick up some beginners programming and made some cool text based games with that.  I also made a pretty neat board game but beyond that I didn't learn much more about the craft and with the flood of Gen Ed high school level classes I was getting along with the slight peppering of one or (if I was lucky) two game related classes I honestly couldn't justify spending so much money on that tuition.  So I quit and dealt with other personal problems I had at the time.  I also wrote my first book around that time so that was awesome.
My Flash Bros. "Artwork."  All images belonging to Crystal Dynamics, Silicon Knights, Sega, Ubisoft, and Nippon Icchi.

Since then I've been dabbling with a few experimental game design projects.  I've played around with M.U.G.E.N. and RPG Maker.  I made a pretty funny and irreverent RPG back in 2009/2010 with the lovable fighting game character parody, Ipatch Hedband and the boss character Pimpmaster Poundmax along with the Overpowered/Game Breaking fusion character call Mayan Jesus, who could of course walk across water.

All fun stuff but it didn't really feel like I was learning anything lasting in the field.  My closest friends and I were talking in depth at the time about designing a fighting game and all came up with amazing ideas and characters for an epic pet project.  This was the unofficial beginning of our game design group, at the time called Digital Dragon Studios (more on that later).  Now, many years and project concepts later we've finally come up with a solid game plan (no pun intended) and now have the technology and ease-of-use of it to back us up.  We've always had ideas but little money and now with jobs and other priorities, little time.  Unity3d software is our beacon of light guiding us through the depths of hell.  With it, a lot of our design and monetary nightmares are put behind us and we are free to just worry about designing our games.

With that said, I still suck.  I'm honestly still a beginner at game designing.  I've been out of design school since about 2008 and my only frame of reference are my various critiques of the games I like and dislike and my own friends.  It's my fault because I didn't take game design seriously.  I didn't think I could do it all on my own, with no one to teach me.  I didn't think I had the time to do it.  My life was not easy, by any means, back then but I had many choices and I could've chosen to dedicate more time to it.  I deeply regret that.  I do understand however that I was ignorant.  If I had known such a resource as Unity was available, I would've jumped on it long ago and experimented with it.

My game design group, Flubberknuckle Studios has been consistently working on games for a few years now.  I've picked up a few tips and skills working closely with my friend Ryan.  I've given up programming long ago, leaving my skill at the beginner level but my friend Ryan has flourished after rigorously teaching himself the craft.  I've crafted the design documents, created some concept art, designed menus and other UI, written a few things, and co-crafted a few gameplay systems.  All that stuff was very involved but I definitely want to get more hands on.  So to that end, I'm delving into Unity creation.  I've done a few tutorials like learning the interface and Roll-A-Ball.  I'm about halfway through the Space Shooter one so I think I'll start posting my progress here.  Maybe somebody out there will find this helpful.

So that's my story, the summarized version anyway.  What about you guys and gals?  Anyone interested in game design?  Anyone going to school for it or doing it solo dolo?  What's your experience been like and what software do you swear by?  Please if you have any opinions go ahead and comment below.  I'd love to hear from you.  This has been Belart and I just want to again thank you wonderful viewers for the browse!

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