On where I realize I should prototype small mechanics individually in a larger game design.

It’s been a while again, eh?  This is the first weekend I had where I have not had mandatory Overtime in … 9 months?  A full weekend, what to do?

A few game design ideas came into my head, one a new thing, and one just pondering about my graffiti game.

1) Movement/Programming game based around hacking.  I have a hacking game concept that I wasn’t sure how to proceed, but I think it might be interesting to have it be a path laying game, where you play hex pieces that have paths/routes between nodes.  All on a sort of original Pandemic board – that “cyber” light on black screen look.  You could have number tokens that indicate things like number of pieces to play or how many rotation steps to perform of an already existing node (in that sense I could see it be a little like “Droplitz” and old X-Box 360 game.  Anyways just thinking of that sort of mechanic.  I’m interested in the concept of programming games, but not quite sure how I want to implement one yet.

2) Graffiti game.  Mostly thinking about what I need to do with what I have, instead of fretting about getting a big board or pieces.  And this is going to seem the most obvious, but… Prototype play small subsets of the game in chunks.  Like – I have an idea for a market mechanism.  JUST DO IT.

Now that I have time to do so, I Just need to play it out, not hard at all.  I don’t need to print pieces as I’ve got the pieces already made.  I can get a basic market mechanic going and then see if it feels right, then integrate with movement/piece playing mechanics, etc…  So prototype that out tonight is my goal 🙂


Delegates, Events, Practice/Learning

So – so far, when I’ve been trying to learn something new, I’ve been doing it directly in my code. I think that has had the side-effect that I have been hesitant to try new things because of being afraid of fucking up my code. This is dumb thinking (especially if I properly backup and use source control – which I *have* been doing since my screwup on that little number last time), but it can still be something to think about.

When learning things, sometimes it’s best to strip down the complexity and really focus on the core concept.

I’ve been looking at tutorials and text regarding delegates and events in C#. Conceptually it’s fairly simple. But implementation is a little more complex than I would think, and therefore, that complexity, combined with adding it to my already existing code (which adds yet more complexity) meant that I’ve been afraid to dig in (it doesn’t help when I have been working lots of overtime at my 9-5 job and just want to be braindead after work).

Between realizing that I can test code without having to deal with Unity directly, along with some advice I gave a C programmer on reddit last night about not diving in too deep, and stepping back the complexity of something while you try to learn, made me realize that I should work directly in C# with some sample delegates and events that don’t utilize the Unity framework, and once I fully grok the concept then could even, hopefully, get some template/scaffolding code that I could plop into the larger framework of the game (and just modify as needed)…

Take my own advice. Sometimes, that’s the way forward, it’s easy to sit there and give wise advice to others (well, if you’re being rational and not just being opinionated about stupid shit, which, admittedly, is 90% of the time for most people, including myself)… But it’s good to perhaps step outside your own self, and give yourself the advice you might give to someone else.

When you ask “How should I approach this?” don’t answer for yourself, answer as if someone is asking you that question, and having that separation might make the pressure of finding an answer more clear and give you some insight that you might not really have gotten if you’re stuck nose down in your own ego.

The Rebootening

Well, I finally got my ass in gear at 6pm on a Sunday evening to work on some code again.  Now some of the stuff that’s already there I kept, though I almost feel like I should start completely from scratch.  However, I’m still fairly bare bones.

I’m at the point now where I am able to spawn a vehicle of a given index – I have no randomizer and I have not levels with various vehicles in them.  That’s next.  That also means I’m at the juncture where I make the big decision:  Do I make the levels prefabs or do I bite the bullet and study ScriptableObjects.  I’ve watched the tutorial video on the Unity site and I read some blogs, but frankly, there just isn’t a whole hell of a lot of documentation for ScriptableObjects and in particular how to use them…

My goal I think is to stick with prefabs for the time being, because I already lost time to some stupidity on my part with my source control.  So before I go any farther, I’m going to sit down and work on the actual design of the levels and how to refactor the code.

I was afraid of digging in to even get the ball rolling (by doing anything), because?

I dunno.  I write way more on this stupid blog than I ever write in code.  I talk more about my fears and concerns regarding moving ahead, but I think it’s important I write about this to get my thoughts out, to let others see such difficulties if they have them, to let them know to keep going.  It’s not easy for me, I complain a lot, I take my time – but it’s a hobby, not a job, I don’t get paid, I’m not forced to sit at a desk all day and think about code.  On the one hand, it means there’s less pressure, on the other, part of my own pressure is just dealing with making sure I have energy reserved for my work day, so I find half the time I’m trying to push myself into it, it’s the fear that once I get going I won’t stop, but of course, the later I put it off, the less gets done AND it means I start later, and then it makes it worse, because I eventually DO get myself to push ahead, but now it’s like late, and it means I’m probably gonna get going energetically and it means its harder to stop… Objects in motion… It’s quite ridiculous really.  I have a very large inertia, but once I get going, I get going, but then now – I have to slow down because I have to get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow (not literally “now”, I still have a few hours left to my evening, but you know what I mean, that’s 48 hours wasted on fretting/inertializing, and not on coding).

Fuck that.  I’ve been lazing around the past few months in some weird pity party mood.  I’ve been trying to get myself into a healthier mind-state.  I’ve been lacking on the exercise department.  I told myself I’d start walking and I haven’t done that, but I got my room cleaned up a little and that got me in gear, somewhat.  I’m gonna get back in the swing, I’m gonna start to kick ass, because fuck this noise.  I’ve had enough time to recharge I’ve had enough time to let the little fears gnaw away at my free-time and my soul.

This is a very convoluted post, and I apologize.  Such is life in the big bad world of Phoning It Industries.