One plus one equals three. Game Development Mistakes.

What is the Biggest Game Development Mistake?

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This may surprise you, but one simple mistake in your creative process can cause you to spend months longer making your game than you really should. The worst part is that this is a process that literally can be done in one afternoon. That Game Development Mistake? Coming up with a plan for your game. Before you even write one line of code. Before you add a single prefab or node tree, consider planning out the following:

  • Is your game 2D or 3D?
  • Will you be doing levels, open-world? How many locations?
  • What kinds of NPC’s will there be? How many?
  • Do you have swappable gear? If so how many varieties?
  • How does the gameplay work?
  • How does game progression work?
  • What are the objectives in your game? If it’s a puzzle game how is it structured, if it’s a questing game how do you accomplish the quests?
  • Are there any special mechanics in your game?
  • Is there anything special about the physics in your game?
  • How will you be doing inventory management?
  • How will the player interact with the world?
  • What art assets will you need to have? Which ones do you have already, which ones must you create/buy?

That’s about it. That’s not a huge time investment to answer these questions for yourself but it will allow you to be in a much better position for a variety of the game development challenges you’re about to face.

Feature Creep in Game Development

Perhaps the greatest bane to a game developer is feature creep. This happens when you’re making your game, and you think to yourself, “This one feature would be amazing!” and then you add it. Again and again. Several months go by and then you realize, I made a critical game development mistake and I am never going to be able to release this game.

If you had had a planning document such as the one described here, perhaps you wouldn’t have run into this situation. There will still be times when you come up with an amazing idea mid-development cycle, but you have to go back to your planning guidelines and then make an honest decision with yourself, is it worth adding to the game at this stage? If it is, then work it into your plan, if it’s not, then add it to your list of ideas to try in future projects.

You can ALWAYS make more projects! Game Development isn’t going anywhere, one of the greatest gifts humanity has is it’s the ability to tell stories and Game Development has become an exceptional medium for it.

Advertising and Building A Following In Game Development

Go check out a few of the more successful Patreons for Independent Game Developers. Do you see anything in common?

They all have lists of features that they will give you in their games. They have a general idea of when things will happen, and they, for the most part, aren’t just whipping things together willy-nilly. This is important because it lays the groundwork for fans of independent game development to see real progress as they put their projects together. Seeing this progress is exciting to your fans and by not making this game development mistake you can help them to feel part of your development cycle, which should translate to more sales when your game hits the market.

By knowing the features ahead of time, you’re further able to plan when your game development cycle will end. Sure you may be off by a  couple of months – and this is why you should always add at least a couple of months – but you will be able to build excitement for your game by having a release date advertised. As that date draws near, you can pump it up on your YouTube channel or your Twitter, and if players are excited about the features and look of your game your wishlist will grow and grow!

Milestones and Motivation in Game Development

This is probably the biggest one. What is more motivating to your game development experience than checking off boxes on your gigantic project. Before you know it 3/4’s of your game tasks are done, and you’ve got plenty of time to fine-tune and finish off the rest. You can see real progress, rather than just the mass of scenes/node trees that comprise your game.

That real progress will build excitement not only in your fans but also in you. Your vision is quickly taking shape and will soon be ready to take the world by storm. It’s easy to make the game development mistake of not doing enough planning, but it seems this it’s almost necessary for the optimal game development experience.

You Can Do It!

So I’ve said my bit, and I wish you the best of luck on your current projects. Why don’t you share a few of them below!

If you haven’t started making Your Game Today, what’s holding you back? 

If you’re looking for an excellent book to get you started with Unity Game Development, check out Hands-On Unity 2020 Game Development on Amazon or wherever else you can find it. It’s a great highly-rated resource that can jump-start your game development journey!

Photo by George Becker from Pexels

What is the Best Way to Learn Game Development?

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Ah the age-old question. You’ve decided that you have an idea, but you don’t know the best way to learn game development. You have the will, but lack the tools to get the job done. Your desire is true but…

I’ve gotten carried away. Learning Game Development may just be a skill in and of itself. It takes many different forms depending on the platform you wish to work with. Designing a board game is significantly different from building an iOS game for example. For the purposes of this post though, I will be sticking to computer games and apps, as I lack any sort of experience with the board game design process.

The Best Way to Learn Game Development

Many professions share a similar saying. You learn by doing. This is as true for game design as it is for pole vaulting and car racing. You just have to do it.

That doesn’t mean close this window, and immediately boot up Unity and start your dream project. Actually, it’ll likely be a long while before you build your dream project if you’re just starting out. What it does mean though is that you need to make games. Depending on your fluency, and what platform you wish to use, you may have built your first game by the time you go to bed tonight. 

If you’re just starting out, you seriously need to consider using a Framework. The Unreal Engine is extremely popular and brings with it the kind of name recognition that you’d expect from a framework that powers many of today’s AAA games. The Unity Engine is an excellent engine as well, perhaps slightly less powerful but even more user-friendly. Lastly, for my recommendations today anyhow, if you’re not into using a framework that may end in you paying a royalty or fee, then you may consider using the Godot Engine for it’s open-source and free-to-use features!

No matter which engine you choose, the path ahead of you is difficult and you will encounter some stumbling blocks along the way.

What Goes Into Game Development

There are a few key aspects to games when you break them down. There is the visual aspect, the audio aspect, the gameplay aspect, and the story aspect. Obviously, it’s possible to have a game that lacks a story, or a story that lacks any kind of gameplay, but in general, these are the basic parts of the game you’re going to build.

For the visual aspect, you will need to design or acquire assets that you can use to display your vision. These assets can be made in 2D or 3D so long as it fits your motif. If you have these skills that are fantastic, however, don’t be upset if you don’t. Many developers either spend years honing these skills, make do with what they have, or purchase assets from the Unity/Unreal asset stores or even hire freelancers to build assets for them.

Largely the same philosophy is going to apply to the audio portion of your game. You’re going to need to have sound effects unless you are intentionally designing a silent world. It can be something as simple as you recording yourself dropping a rock on your phone, or as intricate as a symphony built entirely in Garage Band or Audacity. It’s entirely up to you!

For the story portion, well, this is where you decide how your game will play out. When you decide you want to know the best way to learn game development it’s likely because you have a story to tell. You want to capture the end user’s attention. You don’t want them to turn your game on for five minutes and then be done. You’ve got to get them attached to your world. Try reading some good short stories, or playing other games and piece together how they are drawing you in. This will give you a great idea as to how to build your game’s story.

Lastly, the gameplay. You don’t want your user confused or having difficulty playing your game. You want it to be intuitive, and you want the end-user to have fun. Try and think about how other games have designed their controls and layouts and then modify that to suit your game.

All that to Say

You’ll need to program your game, or use a framework that allows you to avoid it. Sounds will need to be recorded/Acquired, and you’ll need to string it all together. You’ll likely get discouraged at times but keep going it will be worth it in the end!

Do you all have anything to add?

MicroSplat Ultimate Bundle

MicroSplat – The Ultimate Shader Bundle for Indie Games

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The MicroSplat Ultimate Bundle is bringing more to the table than your average asset. I mean, it better be at the price, but just take a look at what can help you within your game today. You can quickly turn your game into an interactive wonderland. Where your world reflects the sum of all of the actions taken thus far. It’s an impressive collection of different assets that will bring your game’s terrain to a completely new level.


By purchasing this bundle, you’re taking advantage of a massive discount on the collection as opposed to buying them individually. Just watching the video above, you’ll see all the different things you can do with these shaders.

The video itself opens with a dragon that drags its tail through the snow leaving a path in its wake. Followed quickly by a cart roaming through a desert town kicking up sand as it goes, and then a massive snowball that leaves a trail behind it as it rolls on its way.

Further, built into the package you have Digger integration to dig down into your environments! Create massive lava flows and show the wind gliding across your barren landscapes.

With tools that allow you to blend your shaders with the environment and absolutely great performance, this package of shaders for Unity will not let you down. You’ll be able to build expansive living worlds that don’t seem static to your player. It will help you build Your Game Today!

How has the Microsplat Ultimate Bundle of Shaders Been Received?

The bundle hasn’t been around long enough to accrue many reviews, as of writing it is sitting at 3. However, each of them is a 5 star! Further, the individual packages that comprise the Microsplat Ultimate Bundle have the following ratings:

I think the track record of the included packages above basically speaks for itself. The MicroSplat Ultimate Bundle is a gold mine for creating an amazing, breathtaking game that shows off your vision in the greatest ways.

In reading many of the comments on the various included packages, people are pretty supportive of the developer! There is plenty of praise going around and a common theme is that the products are kept up-to-date which is great when it comes to being an asset for a constantly evolving product like Unity.

 

I found a 4-star review on MicroSplat – Wind and Glitter, but they neglected to leave a comment so I have no idea what they felt could be improved. 

In the MicroSplat – Terrain Holes module there was also a single 4-star review. They have indicated that for making a tiny hole in your terrain it is probably best to use a different solution, however, they still point out that it is a useful add-on for water features and other bigger shapes!

Overall, the value of this package speaks for itself if you’re looking to build a larger majestic game. What are your thoughts?

#YGTInspiration

#YGTInspiration April 10, 2021

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I know I don’t get around to these as much as I’d like, but I’m making an attempt I swear! I’m currently thinking that I’m going to reduce the number of featured games to five, and then do them whenever I get the chance, no more limiting it to Saturdays! As such, here we go, the indie games and tricks that caught my eye the most this morning! Check it out if you need the inspiration to make Your Game T0day!


A Wooden Sculpture for the Ages

Now I can’t be positive, but it seems to me this is the silkiest wooden-looking sculpture ever, and I absolutely love it. The fluid movements coming from the low poly body give off a vibe that I actually really enjoy. The developer states that it’s just a test, so this may not be the end result, but I’m featuring it today so that  I can share this important fact about independent game development… AAA graphics don’t matter at all. The big studios have to do it because they think that’s what sells. Do yourself a favour though, look at the most popular independent games out there. The vast majority have great graphics, but they don’t go for hyper-realism. Work within your means, and make a great game!

 


Test, Test, Test…

This tweet from Bittor shows one of the greatest and most rewarding aspects of game development. The testing cycle. You’ll test every little tweak you make until the world that you’ve built comes to life. With tools like the Unity 3D Engine, Unreal Engine, and even Godot, you have everything you need to make your games feel like your own. Little tweaks and tests like this culminate in your vision becoming reality. Plus, as I said on Twitter, a super cool and rewarding explosion at the end!


Nom, Nom, Nom…

Apparently, I’m big on three-word subtitles today. Ah well, such is life. I do however want to share this awesome little clip. I love how the electricity, or energy, or whatever just envelops the little guy and then suddenly he has entered a different location. It’s smooth and clearly works well in the context. Plus, I just love the… I guess you could call them 3D pac-man type games. Very cool!

 


Harvesting Lumber Is a Chore!

Well of course it is, but it’s imperative to most city-building games out there that you have resources to build your cities. That being said, how you have to do it matters, and when it’s as smooth as what Against the Storm pulls off, well, it just doesn’t feel so bad. Very cool!


So Many Different Activities!

Well, in this case, it’s shelves and arcade cabinets, but look how the developer made use of scripting to enrich their world. Rather than having one cabinet and having to keep changing their selected prefab, they’ve gone and made it so that each copy is instantiated with it’s own features. This allows them to much more quickly build out their world. Super cool.


Well, that’s it for today! I’ll try not to take two months to do my next one. If you ever need help making Your Game Today, come and check back for more tips, tricks, tutorials, and inspiration!

Village Interiors Kit

Everything You Need – Village Interiors Kit

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Designing and building an entire 3D world is a huge endeavour. Add to that when you need to build each and every asset from scratch, and then turn around and find all the places you’re going to put it in your world. That’s a huge ask! Fortunately, packs like the Village Interiors Kit will quickly get you through the assembly stage and let you begin to fill your new game world!

With so many different assets included, you’ll have tons to fill your interior spaces with. The worst thing you can do is have huge sprawling empty rooms in your RPG. These rooms just don’t look real, they don’t look lived in. You want the dirt, you want clutter, you want some light sources! You want the world to feel alive and the best way to do this is to have tons of assets at your disposal. The Village Interiors kit contains over 2800 prefabs for your Unity build. That’s an insane number of different objects to bring your world to life. The asset has been out for quite some time and is in a very mature state. From barrels to forges to furniture, it will literally fill your world with everything you need to build your game today!

How well was the Village Interiors Kit Received?

Having been out for quite a while this asset has had the time to collect updates over years, as well as feedback. Taking a look at the feedback we can see that it is overwhelmingly positive. With only one 1 star review out of 350! To be thorough I decided to read that review and it does appear that some of the assets are more suited to a top-down game world. This may be something to consider, though in the video above you can see that many of the objects are quite well suited to the more traditional RPG open-world style.

For the rest of the reviews, they heap praise on the developer and outline how much this has sped up their game development. When you consider how long it could take for you to build these assets individually, it’s no surprise that this is a massive time saver. For even half as many assets, the price of the Village Interiors Kit is certainly worth it!

Brute Force Grass Shader

Best Grass Shader I’ve Seen! Brute Force – Grass Shader

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If you spend much time on Twitter, you’ve definitely stumbled upon Brute Force sharing GIFs of this grass shader from time to time. Usually, there is a stone rolling around in circles, leaving behind it a trail in the grass, sometimes with rain falling and creating their own little holes in the tiny foliage. If you’ve seen this, then you know exactly what I’m talking about with Brute Force – Grass Shader. This grass shader is something else!

With functionality that works across devices, and simple drag and drop materials, Brute Force – Grass Shader will be running in your game today! The grass is customizable, can both receive and cast shadows, and is ready to do basically whatever you need it to do. I’ve been pretty excited for this one to come out for a while because the GIFs on Twitter have been very impressive! Just look at the video in Brute Force’s tweet above! 

Are People Talking about Brute Force – Grass Shader?

Being a really new asset on the store at this time, there aren’t a lot of reviews. It’s currently rated at 4/5 stars but I expect that will increase pretty soon! Reading the one negative review it seems as though there may be a misunderstanding, and the developer has reached out to try and rectify the issue. With great developer support and a fantastic-looking product, I think this grass shader is a win!

HurricaneVR Physics Interaction Toolkit is Here to Blow You Away

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This asset is going to blow you away. I’m just going to start there. The HurricaneVR Physics Interaction toolkit is a no-brainer if you’re building a VR game, especially if you happen to already have the HexaBody VR Player Controller. These two assets make for a seriously high-powered development combination!

Watching the video above, you can see the responsive hand physics at play. You can many of the various actions that you’ll be able to take in your new world. Smashing, grabbing, stabbing, toppling. All of this saving you plenty of time in your development process!

You can even have a loose grip and move it around, honestly, HurricaneVR Physics Interaction Toolkit is a fantastic asset with plenty of uses for the independent developer, and with it, you’ll be able to make your game today.

So Many 5 Star Reviews!!!!

Okay, let’s be real for a moment. When an asset has nothing but 5-star reviews there are only two real possibilities. The first possibility is that they’re playing a game, however the second, and based on the video above and reading through these actual reviews, you can see that no games are being played here!

Multiple reviews mention purchasing both Hexabody VR Player Controller and HurricaneVR Physics Interaction Toolkit together, and watching their videos and reading their accounts it’s easy to understand why. These assets will both save you countless development hours in not having to design and build your player controller from the ground up, and then rely on the framework provided in HurricaneVR Physics Interaction Toolkit for your object interactions, again saving you hundreds of hours!

Your game can literally be playing in no time at all. The best part is, with the basics of your VR game taken care of, you can spend more time focusing on really immersing your player into the game world that you’ve built for them. Combine this with your game performing like the player will expect and you have a winning combination.

It seems if you’re developing a VR game as an indie developer using the Unity framework, this is the way to go!

 

Check Out Hexabody VR Player Controller for Unity!

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So you’re making a VR Game. Well if so you’ve got to check out HexaBody VR Player Controller and you just might save yourself hours of development time!

Using six different rigid bodies to build up your player character, Cloudwalkin Games’ Hexabody VR Player Controller provides you with a wonderful set up to get you moving along with your virtual reality games! Just look at the video above and how well the player is able to move through and interact with the environment. 

Your player character will be able to run, jump and crouch using the Hexabody VR system. It will take hours off of your development time, let you get through prototyping much faster, and help you on your way to making your game today! There are plenty of different settings that you can use as well to make sure that everything flows just right.

Also, if you happen to grab the HurricaneVR Physics Interactions as well, you’d end up with a variety of interesting and fun dynamics that you can use to play with your environments.

What’s the Buzz?

Sometimes extremely useful packages wind up having very divided reviews. That is NOT the case at all with the Hexabody VR Player Controller. All of the reviews on the asset store page are absolutely glowing, though many of them do stress that it works best if you also have HurricaneVR Physics Interactions.

Becomming known in the community as a full-fledged framework for your VR Player controller needs, HexaBody VR Player Controller is ready to be in your game. Are you ready to make it?

 

Hands-On Unity 2020 Game Development Book

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So,  you’re looking for a book that’s going to jump-start your Unity game development Journey huh? Well, that’s great! Putting in a little time and effort can get you ahead much faster than if you simply tinker with the environment on your own. I do hope before you take this step you’ve taken the time to follow at least some of the tutorials on Unity’s Learning Website.If you have a chance, be sure to check out the tutorials there first as you may find what you’re looking for. That being said, not all of us learn best when we’re watching videos. Further, maybe you don’t want to be tied to your computer while you learn about game development! Those are both valid reasons to check out some great books that can help you along!

Available in both a Kindle and Paperback copy, the Hands-On Unity 2020 Game Development book was designed to quickly teach you about using Unity’s newest features in a very practical way. You’ll learn about Unity’s scripting capabilities, and how you can use C# to manipulate various game mechanics. It even covers newer features like the Universal Render Pipeline and the Shader Graph. Whatever you’re getting into Unity for this book will get you up to speed.

When you decide you want to make a game, you don’t always have all the tools available right away. When you do, perhaps you don’t have the experience you need to get the game done. Following along and learning with books such as this are a great way to get your game done today! This book is literally for any would-be game developer who wants to see their creation get out into the world.

What are other people saying about it?

Well, it’s quite a popular book and rated quite well on Amazon. You’ll have no problem at all going from being a complete newb when it comes to game development, to loading up with a plan every time.

Reviews on Amazon, as usual, run the gambit. The most scathing review there mentions the lack of coverage of online lobbies and racing games. I think it’s important to stress that picking up this book, or any other book for that matter won’t make you a master game designer overnight, but rather give you the tools you’ll need to hone your skills so that you can one day build the game of your dreams.

Some reviewers mention that the pictures being in black and white can cause some issues when you are trying to compare what you are looking at on your computer to what you’re looking at in the book, however, its quite clear reading through the verified purchases that this book covers the basics of game design in a detailed and goal-oriented manner.

Overall, Hands-On Unity 2020 Game Development is definitely a good bet for helping you finish your game today!


 

Review of AVPro Video – Unity Plugin

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A Quick Overview of AVPro Video

If you’re looking for a user-friendly solution for playing videos in your apps then the AVPro Video plugin for Unity has you covered. With support for all of the major development platforms like iOS, Android, Windows and more, it’s more than likely whatever it is that you’re building will benefit from this plugin.

Admittedly it is a bit on the pricey side when it comes to Unity Plugins, but if you need a lightweight framework to play videos that won’t bloat your project, this is going to be it. Without hundreds of dependencies and providing a simple drag and drop system, AVPro Video will have you playing videos in your projects in no time. If you run into issues, the developers have prepared and laid out outstanding documentation, and just so you know you’re getting the best bang for your buck, you can even try a free trial version of AVPro Video that will have a watermark but otherwise show you what you’re getting upfront.

VR videos, 8K videos, whether they are on the drive or remote, even adding subtitles, AVPro video has you covered.

What Are Others Saying About AVPro Video

So reading through the reviews it’s clear to see that AVPro Video is a Unity plugin with a lot to offer. Say this for two reasons. One, there are a number of people who are praising the utility and robustness of the plugin. Two, in the few instances where people post a review where they are asking for help or saying something isn’t working, there is a developer response providing either additional information or a push in the right direction.

The documentation is well laid out on the developer’s website and provides you with a quick start tutorial to get you into the thick of it right away. Once you need more than the basics, wandering around the documentation will illuminate any problems you should encounter. If you encounter one where it’s still a nagging issue, head on over to the developer’s Github repo for reporting bugs. 

It seems to me that the developer is standing behind this product, and even at the higher price point it seems like it could be well worth your while to not have to struggle with other solutions. What do you think? Leave your comments below!