13 Dec 2016 – Decisions (1)

I noted yesterday, almost offhand, that I was using Unity as my development engine. Obviously, that is a rather big decision, so I ‘ll step through some of my thinking.

While there are myriad game development engines out there at the moment, the main two  contenders are Unreal Engine and Unity, so they are the two that I spent some time testing.

I briefly looked into Stingray and Lumberyard, but both appear to have a rather limited community and less general support than Unity or Unreal.

The decisions in the end was really rather simple and boiled down to three things.

Performance

I love the Mac, most of my workflows rely on it, and (at least for the moment) I’m not willing to switch to Windows, even for more power. In my testing, Unity’s editor runs far better on the Mac than the Unreal’s does.

Community

The Unity community is just larger and more vibrant than the Unreal community. I spent some time on there forums and reddit communities for both engines, and Unity has more activity and questions tend to get answer faster. That means it’s easier to get help and there are more guides and tutorials about.

The Unity Asset Store also has heaps more stuff the Unreal. The makes it up asset to find examples of things you want to make, or just outright use something that saves you doing it yourself. I also looked into specific assets that would help with what I had in mind, and Unity has a better selection.

Ease of Use

Obviously this one is subjective, but, Unity is just easier to use. I completed a small project in both engines and Unity just make more sense to me. It also uses C# instead of C++, a language that I’m more comfortable with and I find easier to write.

Unreal does have some high points. The blueprints are nice and a good shortcut. It also does look a bit better out of the box. From what I can find, Unity can look pretty much as good, it just takes a bit more work.

I don’t think it’s incredibly important which engine you use, the important step is to pick one, learn it, and stick with it till the job is done. SO now I have one, it’s onto the getting the job done part.

I’m experimenting with asset pipelines are the moment as my next part of the tool chain to nail down.

 

 

12 Dec 2016 – The Plan

I had a nice quiet weekend getting the company books up to date, bug hunting in our practice management software, and generally taking it easy. I can’t do that all the time though, or things would never move forward. It’s time for a plan!

The goal is to create a decent quality game that can be sold on Steam for PC and Mac. I have no idea how console development works, so I will just leave that for now. I do intend to make a small nod in that direction (just in case) by ensuring that the control scheme I go with works with a controller.

I’m making a 2.5D game, in the vein of Shadow Complex, or the classic Another World. I’ve always loved these 2D style adventures, and they just don’t get made that often any more. It also seems to be that the limited perspective and options for movement will make it a bit easier than making a full 3D game.

I plan to start by constructing three or four postcards in Unity. Capturing a few scenes from the game and helping firm up both the style, and my asset pipeline and workflow. At the same time I’ll continue working on tightening up the story.

At this stage, I don’t really know how long getting stage one done will take. I haven’t yet got a good handle on how long making good assets will take and I’m still experimenting with a few different programs and options. (Knowing me, 0 that is going to be a large time sink for a while).

Rather than dwell on it though, the best things to do is just get creating. If things are taking far longer than expected, I can adjust the plan as I go.