Finishing our Game Projects


Image from US Navy via Wikipedia Commons

With two more regular dojo sessions to go before our final party and belt awarding ceremony, the finish line’s in sight and we’ve been concentrating on helping people work on their projects.

Some projects are already looking good, and that’s fantastic. Others however aren’t showing a lot of progress.

If you are struggling, please remember – overly ambitious scopes are the things that ruin most game projects. Ask yourself: what are the basic things that will be the most fun in my game? Maybe it’s exploration. Maybe it’s shooting. Whatever it is, get that working as soon as possible. Don’t do ten weapons, do one. Other features can be layered on over time as long as the fundamentals are there. Try hard to have something working for the next session. We’re here to help.

In the next session we’ll talk about the specific belts we’re going to be awarding. We’ll explain how they’re earned and we’ll try to get an idea of how many people are going for each category.

Basic Sample Projects

I briefly showed a number of sample projects that I’d been playing around with this week. These projects are intended to demonstrate certain useful things that you might want to put in your own game.

The first sample project was a modified version of SprocketLeague. The modifications were relatively modest: each car was given its own camera which was set to render into half the screen. The original top-down camera was set to render into a small area at the top of the screen.

The project files are available here.

The second project, called BasicAI, was just an experiment with baking a NavMesh and having an AI character follow you about. For extra fun, the followers spawn every 1.5s and they’re labeled “HipsterISIS” thanks to a very funny gag one of our ninjas made when watching the game run.

The project files for this are here.

Doors Project

This project wasn’t working fully during our session. It is now. The project contains two scenes. Both implement a door but in different ways. The two scenes can be found in the _scenes folder.

The first implementation is a physics based door. There is a box called DoorFrameRight which has a RigidBody component but is constrained so that it can neither move nor rotate:

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 14.57.38

Immediately to the left of this is the Door itself. This is also a box with a RigidBody component. In addition, it has a HingeJoint component. This HingeJoint component links it to the DoorFrameRight box. The HingeHoint is just visible as a small orange arrow on  the left hand side of this picture:

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 14.56.18.png

The HingeJoint component is positioned exactly where the door and door frame meet and its axis is set to be vertical, as the door is to swing around the vertical. It also has a spring which will close the door again (more or less) once the thing pushing it open moves away:

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 14.56.33.png

A regular FPSController can’t push this door, as it has a kinematic RigidBody (no physics), so note that we use the RigidBodyFPSController instead to represent the player in this scene.

The other door works in a very different manner. The door consists of a frame and a “hinge”. The hinge is just an empty GameObject which contains all the parts of the door that will be moving. It’s origin is at the left-hand edge of the door panel; this means that when we change the hinge’s Y rotation, the door will pivot about it’s left-hand side. The hinge’s origin is shown here:

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 15.40.36.png

I could have made the hinge rotate in code, but instead I decided to create animations to do the same thing (change the hinge’s Y rotation). To explain how animation works in Unity is beyond the scope of this post, but I’ll give a very broad introduction to it in the next session.

The door has a box collider around it. When it detects that the player has entered the collider, it triggers one of the opening animations (the direction depending on which side of the door it determines the player to be). Once the player leaves the collider, it closes the door again.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 15.59.07

The files for this project are here.

Random Maze Project

This project was started live in our last session on the suggestion of one of the ninjas; it generates a random maze using a very simple algorithm.

An empty GameObject called MazeGenerator is placed in the scene. In its Start method, it constructs a random maze which appears in the scene. An FPSController from Standard Assets allows us to navigate this maze and try to find our way out.

The MazeGenerator constructs a 2D array of bool values to represent the maze. All the values in this array are ‘false’ by default and we take this to mean ‘solid’. Taking a point in the centre of the array we mark it ‘true’ to indicate an empty space. We then randomly pick a direction from North, South, East or West and set a new position. We check if we’ve moved outside the bounds of the array yet, if not, we mark this as another empty space and continue until we are outside.

Once we have this maze generated, we know we have a path from the centre (the start) to the exit (the outside of the maze). We loop over all elements in our array and place a solid block (from a prefab) everywhere we find a ‘false’, unless we’re at the edge of the maze in which case we place a special prefab that detect the player and plays a sound. This is our ‘exit’. For a ‘true’ we do nothing. The picture below shows one such generated maze from above.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 18.35.04.png

To make this more fun to play, we also added a script to the FPSController to drop “breadcrumbs” as we move. This shows where we’ve already been so that going around in circles shouldn’t be a problem.

The files for this project are available here.

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