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Saturday, December 21, 2013

Status Report #17

     This has been one of those weeks where lots of things happen. It's that exciting part of development where all the pieces come together. I finished the sprites, I put together animations and object groups, I have the GDD ready, and a working prototype to look at. This is my favorite part of development. Actually making the game pretty and playable! Having a really nice alpha running would be a great Christmas present for myself. But for now, it's time for a weekly status report!

  • Organized Unity Sprites
  • Made All Unity Animations
  • Expressed Concerns With the Dean
  • Considered Starting a Game Dev Club For Next Year
  • Updated Unity
  • Broke Old Games by Updating Unity
  • Uploaded TriGrid on Amazon
  • Failed to Upload Candy Shop Catch
  • Sent Help Request to 100% Indie (still can't log in)
  • Found Temporary Fix for Annoying Unity Bug
  • Over 300 Twitter Followers
  • Aligned Sprites in the Menus

       I am ready to code DragCore! First I'll write scripts to get the menu layouts to format correctly, then I'll work on getting enemy prefabs to work, after that I'll work on getting a basic game loop based on the prototype, next I'll add in missing features (I keep a list of things I overlooked), then I'll get the progression system working. When all of that is finally done, I'll be polishing the gameplay and experimenting with variables. I predict being done by the start of January.

     The game is shaping up nicely and I'm getting really excited about it. This will be my greatest game yet and I can picture lots of people really enjoying it. It's polished, unique, and fun! I just need to code the gameplay and see how it feels on a phone. And as far as graphics go, I'm thinking about experimenting with Unity light systems once I get to alpha stage. I want to see if it makes a difference. I'll start posting real screenshots when I get finalized looks. I'm changing things around all  the time right now so even the things you see above look different by the time you read this.

     I listened to all of the Indie Chatter videos as I finished organizing the sprites in Unity. I have folders and Collections set u in a way that makes it easy to find any and everything. The videos kept me entertained as I watched a fellow Indie developer take his creation from Xbox Live to tons of other platforms, all while preparing a big passion project on the side. Really inspirational stuff. I'd love to see more web series like that.

   Onward to this week's downloads! (still not much to see here)



        My Amazon account is now linked to my App Annie analytics service now, but the data is still being retrieved so there's nothing to show yet. you can still find TriGrid on Amazon though.


        I won't even post the flat line. $0 on every platform. Free games downloaded 0-4 times a day don't earn much other than warm fuzzies from thinking about total strangers giving something you created a try.

     In other news, my trademarks got posted in the Gazette as one of the finalizing parts of trademark registration. If anyone has a problem with my trademark or thinks it's copying theirs, they have 30 days to call me out. I did a lot of checks and nothing comes close to the Yotes Games name or Logo, so I'm pretty much safe and set.

     Now I guess I should mention the Unity update. I'm not sure how new it is to everyone else since I discovered it by re-installing Unity after an Internal Compiler Error that won't go away. Up until then whenever I checked for Updates it said I had the latest version (literally seconds before I choose to re-install). The new Unity brought some nice GUI changes. Things you are using light up blue now so you can keep track of where you are, and they apparently have 2D elements working now. I refuse to touch those just yet because 2D Toolkit is working just fine for now and according to their latest update, the new Unity features just makes it even easier to manage.

     Things I like about the update include the GUI highlights and the camera resolution changes. I'm not sure if the 2D Toolkit camera changed or if I just found out how to use it properly, but it's easier than ever to get things aligned on screen perfectly. And in a way that makes it fit perfectly on all resolutions like magic! Resolution problems have annoyed me since Fish Feaster and now it's just a matter of Drag n' Drop in the Unity Scene window. A dream come true. I was prepared to write a hundred lines of code to get everything lined up perfectly and dynamically. I love how Unity took out this tedious task for me.

     Things I hate about the update are of course all the errors that pop up. You know how you never update your iPod or iTunes because you know the update is gonna mess something up and make you start from scratch? That's how I feel about Unity. I like to wait until a project is finished before updating and working on a new one. Things just fall apart too easily. Code is fragile.

     I don't think I can touch my old Unity projects anymore. After fumbling to try to fix a compiler error (which I'm still getting today) my games are left in a mess that just won't build. Even thinking about it physically hurts me so I won't go into detail. Bottom line is, my Android games are finalized. Cemented in time. I can't work on them anymore if I wanted to so it's best to just move on from here. I'll use my newfound experience to keep future games clean and easy to manage.

     My main problems now are 2D Toolkit's consistent resets and an Internal Compiler error. Every time I open Unity, 2D Toolkit is uninstalled somehow. The forums I check have nothing on this and Unikron is apparently working on a patch. My fix for this is to open up the asset store and re-import the package 4-5 times (because the first few tries don't do anything).

    The internal compiler error is the worst of all. It comes in multiple forms, all saying access is restricted to a different Assembly C-Sharp file in the project folder. Some help sites suggest turning off anti-virus, restarting Unity, or Running Unity as an Administrator. The method I found to work (for about 20 minutes each time) was to Run Unity as Administrator, re-import 2D Toolkit 4 times, then open MonoDevelop and clean all, then build all, then build the apk file 4 times (the first 3 times gets you different internal compiler errors), then try running the game. It works for a while, then the error comes back and I have to restart Unity and start again.

     It's an annoyance to say the least. I'm constantly checking for a patch for this and I sent a few troubleshooting messages out. I'm not the only person getting this, so I'm sure help will eventually come after Christmas (devs are probably on vacation). For now, I just have to only try to run the program when absolutely necessary. There's plenty to do in the meantime.

    I'm slowly mastering Unity as I use it. I'm learning tons of new shortcuts that just whizzed right past me when I first learned how to use it. This is also why I'm not starting my dream project yet. I want to learn as many little tricks as I can. Things like calling objects by name and not tags, making specific Sprite collections, setting up a dynamic camera, organizing scripts so each only contains code needed for the scene, deleting demo assets that take up space, keeping the Update() function as empty as possible to boost performance, making objects responsible for interaction instead of relying on Update() and Start(), and using layers.

    I finally got the hang of animations with 2D Toolkit and it's a simple process for me now. I can now easily get my sprites to move just the way I want them too. Now I'd just like to learn how to make animated buttons (with more than up/down/pressed images). In retrospect I think the hardest part about making the animations was organizing the sprites in Unity in the most efficient way possible.

     It took a few days to get everything set up to where it is now and it was all exhausting. I'm happy to finally be diving into the code now, but also dreading the process of getting rid of the Internal Compiler Error every time I change a line of code. Literally. Every. Time.

     I hope the inconvenience doesn't set me back too far! I'm going to get back to work now. I should have some gameplay screenshots by then.

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