Way back in the deep dark days of my teenage years, there was this little operating system called MS-DOS 5.0. You may recall it. It’s the one that allowed expanded memory. Man. I could hack a config.sys with the best of them.
Anywho. Along with sweet, sweet expanded (and extended) memory there were CPU rendered games, mostly 2D that required you to physically address (ha get it) the Video Cards memory and tell it what color you wanted to set it to. See here for an excellent tutorial series.
The reason I’m talking about this stuff, other than to show you how very, very old I am, is that this is probably the last time I actually made a game. I created a couple of Defender/Galaxian clones and the odd round of Arkanoid clone. I was always into gaming and coding of course, but never really got a huge kick out of coding games for some reason. I think even as a teenager I only did things that I thought would end up making me money in the long run. And in the late 80’s / early 90’s the game development industry here was non existent. In fact I doubt there were more than 100 people in the Southern Hemisphere making a living out of games back then.
However, for the last few years I’ve had a hankering to make a game. I’ve started many. I’ve got plenty of ideas, but never really sat down and actually finished one. So, I made a goal for 2018. 2018 is the year I finally start, finish and release a game!
As luck would have it, in my day job, I got to make a little puzzle game for a client. (More later). The game was a 2D, top down game similar to Pipemania. From a game mechanics point of view anyway.
The game had to run on mobile devices, preferably from the same codebase, and it had a lot of UI screens. I looked at a bunch of different options, briefly going with Cocos Creator, then flip-flopping to Gamemaker Studio 2, before finally settling on Unity.
There were a number of reasons why Unity became the platform of choice. To name a few:
- Cross platform for free: GMS 2 wasn’t free, and had a cost per platform. While this wasn’t a huge consideration, it was a factor.
- C# scripting language: I speak a few languages, but C# is one of my more fluent. Plus it kicks arse!
- Massive online resource of tutorials and documentation: This should never be underestimated when starting something new
- Cheap and good add-on store: While most major platforms have these, the Unity Store is pretty great in it’s breadth and value for money.
- Ability to grow: our client didn’t care what tech we did the game in, as long as it was on time and to budget, but I didn’t want this to be a wasted effort. I wanted the skills I acquired fulfilling this brief to be useful in other avenues.
- Cross platform Editor: again, most other options had this, but I use a Windows box at home and an iMac at work, so I preferred the game development platform of choice just work anywhere.
None of those items alone would point anyone towards Unity, and I’m sure that there are other platforms that could have worked just as well, but IMO Unity offers all of them in a pretty complete package, with the least amount of trade offs. I plan to document my game development journey in a series of posts, but until then I’m happily learning what Unity has to offer.
Maybe because it’s so very different to what I normally do, but I’m finding that fun level again. Now if I could just finalize any one of the about 500 ideas I have for a game!