Screw Dependancies; Make the Game.

posted Sep 27, 2012, 3:10 PM by Edward Norris   [ updated Sep 27, 2012, 3:17 PM ]
As an engineer, I've been systematically trained to avoid dependancies whenever possible. Always allow code to execute fast and efficiently and never allow your design to require needless dependancies. This realization is what keeps my optimism on high as I continue working on Planet's Core. The game I started working on after I quit my last job.

Planet's Core's development process has been pretty steady and solid all along. We've pretty well known what the game was supposed to be like from day one. The only complication with Planet's Core development is the development team's availability. 2bitENT started with 3 people on staff; a producer/gameplay programmer/lead designer (EDDnorris), a backend developer (ChadARR), and a contract artist to work on everything art. Our contract artist had to quit because we can't afford health insurance yet, and that leaves me to figure out how we plan to put all the game art together and figure out who/what's going to create it.

Luckily Both Chad and Myself have each worked in games for about 5 years and have a few friends eager to work on something fun and exciting every once in a while. Most people have been overtly happy to work on the game and some people have even shown a great deal of glee at the idea of getting to play the game when it's done; which has made for an exciting closed alpha period for the game's dev.

As exciting as having people already like the game and give artist feedback and even occianal production help, we can't make a full scale game like that. We have to look at the game and the scope of the production and figure out how to build everything for everything without depending on people whom aren't myself and chad (2 engineers).

So... How do 2 engineers with zero art skills build 10+ large worlds of gameplay? Worlds which do not suck?

Luckily we are using Unity and so we have options to look at for how we could build levels using plugins.

We started with Rage Spline
It has a strange issue where nodes will drift their position if the spline gets a invalid index... and the guy who made it now works at unity and has said he isn't on full support.
It also doesn't seem to handle a perspective camera very well, and lighting didn't seem to work.

We looked at a few other things to handle how we create our level art.
We eventually landed on MegaFiers and MegaShapes 
While it seems to be a good fit for what we want to create, it's not as easy to use as Rage Spline and seems to require most object type be created one at a time or the data gets copied and while that is good for a memory footprint, it takes some time to get the first level made.

The point of this post, 
Everything must get done and when things get rough, you have to get it done yourself; It isn't always easy but it is dependable.
Or you could have enough money to pay for health insurance,
Or you could live in a country which supports small businesses with a public health option.


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