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Code Hero

February 16, 2012 Leave a comment

Primer Labs

Code Hero is a new project that turned up on BoingBoing today, and it’s kind of incredible. It’s a Unity game designed to teach you how to make Unity games. You play by copying Javascript code, editing it as necessary, and executing it on objects around you. It’s really very clever!

In the first area, I saw a goal above me. I looked at some of the code I had, and realized that I could just teleport myself to the goal’s location, bypassing the way I was ‘supposed’ to do it. At first, I thought “Gee, I can just avoid parts of the level if I’m clever.” And then, I thought “That’s the whole point!”

I guess the first part of coding is experimentation, play, and wanting to break the rules. Realizing that you can follow the games that others have made for you, or you can start changing them and making your own games.

Well, let’s hope I stick with this one!

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Unity iOS Essentials Review

February 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Unity iOS Essentials | Packt Publishing Technical & IT Book and eBook Store.

Packt provided me with a free copy of this eBook, and I was totally happy to give it a review! Unity is a strong interest of mine, and programming for an iOS device seems like the logical direction to start making actual commercial games. I feel like limitation drives creativity, and by limiting the power of the device your game runs on, you can really get to the heart of the gameplay.

So, on to the book itself!

Overall, I found its style incredibly informative, but a bit disjointed. It felt like I was sitting down with a programmer who has a lot of experience in iOS. This programmer would give some great technical insight, then digress onto some side topic about dungeons or health packs, then give another bit of technical advice.

For what it is, though, the book is very valuable. If you’re considering developing for iOS, but afraid of falling into a ‘newbie trap’, Unity iOS Essentials will quickly give you some red flags and some things to reconsider. A cloth cape? Not going to happen! A button that highlights on mouseover? What mouse?

A lot of time is spent discussing UIs, and making them slide and feel good. It might seem like a frivolous topic, but getting the ‘touch’ of an iOS device is critical. Your game has to feel like it belongs on the platform, and I was glad that Wiebe spent a good deal of time on the topic.

I’m not entirely sure how this book would work as a beginner’s book; I didn’t go through all the code, but it appears that there’s a complete game in here. Nevertheless, the tone definitely assumes you know a bit about Unity programming already, and you’re just looking to make the jump to iOS. Unless you have a real desire and immediate opportunity to create an iOS game, you won’t get very much out of this.

To summarize, I liked the book as an in-depth exploration of the quirks of Unity programming on the iOS! I look forward to the time when I’ll be ready to do an iOS game, and I can put all the information in Unity iOS Essentials to good use.

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Unity Books

December 17, 2010 4 comments

I seem to have approached my Unity education backwards.

I recently completed Will Goldstone’s book, Unity Game Development Essentials.

I’ve now moved on to Unity 3D Game Development by Example by Ryan Creighton.

Or at least, I thought I was moving on – actually, Creighton’s book seems to be the more basic one! It covers the basics of coding better than Goldstone’s book, starting with writing one line and changing one variable, then repeatedly checking to make sure you understand what you just did.

Still, I think I might recommend approaching it the way I did. Goldstone’s book allowed me to build a complete 3D game quickly, which was a great confidence booster. Now, I’m ready to dive into Creighton’s book, and actually understand what I’m doing.

By the by, I recommend Unity 3D. It’s been a great tool thus far.

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