Who Are You and What Have You Done with this Blog?

Well, I have remained true to my very first post on this blog… that my biggest challenge would be updating this space on a regular basis.  Seeing as my last post was made nearly four years ago, I guess I know myself… crikie, mission accomplished. 😀  I can’t promise I’ll do any better from now on, but here’s hoping.

A lot has changed in nearly four years.  Sticking with the game development theme, my interest in pursuing the Cocos2D-XNA framework waned shortly after that last post, due in no small part to the lack of support that the framework was getting because CocosSharp from Xamarin was coming on the scene.  I played with it for a bit and found it an easy transition, but my interest didn’t last for various reasons.  If you follow that link, you can see that framework hasn’t gotten any love for almost two years since Microsoft bought Xamarin, so it’s basically end-of-life.  It can be a tricky thing to find a game development framework that has staying power.

However, several months after dropping time into Cocos* frameworks, my nephew wanted to show me a game he had created for a school project that he had developed in Unity.  I had heard of Unity off and on a few times and had seen some games that used it, but had thought it squarely focused on 3D game development which I have zero experience in, so I never pursued it.  But after seeing my nephew’s 2D game creation using it, I was intrigued and started to check it out more thoroughly.

Thus began my interest in Unity, which I have been immersing myself in for the last 1 1/2 years.  I am definitely a fan and it has been a real pleasure to work with it, though there’s still much to learn.  The reasons that make it attractive for me are the following:

  • The main framework is FREE (at least as long you’re under $100k in sales… heh, I think I’m safe for a while).
  • Great tooling in the editor to help you visualize what you’re working on and real-time debugging with code breakpoints, debug log, etc.
  • Programming in a top-tier language (C#) for scripting with support for MonoDevelop and Visual Studio (my tool of choice).
  • Huge resources for learning and equally huge community for support.
  • Plugin-based architecture facilitates a host of free and paid plugins for use in your games through the Unity Asset Store.  There really are thousands to choose from.
  • The platform has support for 2D and 3D games, and even a mixture of the two if you so choose.  My focus has been on 2D gaming, but it makes 3D approachable and I’ve been focusing learning efforts on both areas.

It took a while to get my hands around the framework, but I’m fully committed now.  It’s a great platform and I spend a lot of my free time learning, tinkering, and just having fun with it.  I spun up a prototype for a space shooter game (one of my favorite games in my youth was Galaga) and have fleshed out the basics of battling enemies, much like Galaga.  I’ll detail my progress on it in another post as it’s well past my bedtime. 😀

So that’s what I’ve been up to from a game development perspective in the past four years.  Plenty of other stuff has happened in life too… it certainly has been interesting.  But if I post anything here, it will likely be related to Unity and my journey to fully realize the potential locked up in it… and there’s A LOT of potential in there.  Thanks to the folks at Unity for making such a great and approachable game engine, it really has been a fun ride making my creations in it.  More to come…hopefully. 😀

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