DevLog #1 - Genesis

Quick Update

So quite suddenly I find myself free with about a month’s time before I start the Game Innovation Programme at SUTD Game Lab. I haven’t really worked on any games of my own for a while now, so it’s quite exciting to jump back in. I decided I might as well get myself more familiarized with Unity, since that’s what will be used during the programme.

Prince of Persia

Just the other day, I watched this talk by the creator of the original Prince of Persia. Game developers from that era are amazing, dealing with so many technical limitations and yet somehow always manage to find ways to make things work. (It reminded me of Ian Bogost’s Racing the Beam, in which he provided an in-depth look into game development for the Atari system.) It’s incredible just how much effort was required just to get a simple sprite animation to work.

To me it was particularly fascinating how he just built out the small parts of the game, the technology, before he even had a clear sense of what game he was making. He had a very very general idea of what it could be, but he didn’t force it and instead let it slowly take form in a very organic way.

I think I’m going to try that for this new game. I kind of want it to be like a Donkey Kong game, with ladders connecting various platforms. Possibly with some sort of escalators or moving ladders system.

Let’s just start with that…

Getting Started

I grabbed some graphics from Kenney’s platformer pack. I don’t necessarily think that these assets have the right aesthetic for the game, but in this case I’m more concerned about the gameplay. I think this pack conveniently contains all if not most of all the parts I potentially need. (Ladders, buttons, platforms, keys, locks, doors.)

I then grabbed the CharacterController2D script by prime31. Took me awhile to get it running. Some features seem pretty useful, for instance the one way platforms. The ability to handle slopes may come in useful too for this game. Ran into some problems with collision detection, but finally got it to work. Not sure if it’s worth all the trouble.

Next I tried to find some sort of tilemap editor plugin for Unity, but there didn’t seem to be any free options. Thankfully, I eventually stumbled on X-UniTMX, which allows me to layout a level in Tiled, and then import it into Unity. Seems to work pretty well so far.

It’s not much, but here is what I have so far. Seems like a decent start!