Rock, Paper, Shotgunity, Part Three

The Rock, Paper, Shotgunity project rolls on down the Road of Development like a shiny hubcap liberated from the dirty Lorry Of Gaming. For those still catching up we’re making a game – yes an RPS game – using the newly-free Unity engine. Caught up? Read on.

This week I’m reaping the rewards of our cunningly nurtured community and also poking around in the innards of some of the Unity extensions. Come on kids, grab a stick!

With Build 01 released into the wild last weekend we had something to work with – I’d certainly dug the holes if not yet filled our foundations with concrete. I’d hoped that the RPS readership would want to chip in with Shotgunity but I’d been quite unprepared for the amount of effort people were willing to muster for the cause. The forum is filling up with sound, artwork and code lovingly crafted by some wonderfully willing RPSites – bless you – and ShotgUnity is growing. We now have a far more versatile player movement script (thanks largely to Tinus), much improved over the Build 01 version. With it we can now use moving platforms, jump without wall-climbing and soon we’ll be able to use ladders. Imagine that. These features may sound like trivial functionality but they’re important steps and it’s hugely pleasing to see your designs coming to life, however basic the principles. One of things I’m really enjoying about using Unity is the ability to quickly try new ideas by instantly testing new snippets of code in the game scene, changing a few lines of code and then just clicking Play to see if they’re having the desired effect. This kind of trial and error coding may not be terribly efficient, but it’s certainly fun and it is producing results. For example to go with our newly functional player movement script I’ve been making moving platforms that are activated using specific triggers, in this case placing the Rock into a hole near the platform. It was very easy to get this simple mechanic working by trying a few lines of code, testing them at a click, then refining things til it worked. The Rock is starting to look like a more important item now, far from merely distracting the baddies, we’re going to use it as an important puzzle-solving item.

I’m going to continue playing with that idea this week and see if I can’t knock our first level into more of a puzzling challenge. I’ve also been taking a closer look at some of the extensions that you can download for Unity. These are free framework packages that often aim to provide developers with common functionality that requires some in depth knowledge they may not have. A great example of this is the Detonator framework. What’s a game without explosions? Dull, that’s what. FACT. But how tedious to have to design and your explosions from scratch? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was, say, a framework for explosions that was infinitely tailorable to your needs? Well what do you know, Detonator is exactly that. A package of out-of-the-box asplodes which you can use as they are, or tweak – in very extensive ways – until they’re totally unique and suited to your needs. Detonator takes all of the grind out of the process leaving you to do the fun bits. This is absolutely ideal for small teams who might not have the art expertise or time to work on that sort of thing and for a newbie like me it’s pure bliss. I’m going to be looking at another official extension package this week, one that rather excitingly promises to procedurally animate characters using only a few key anims – the Locomotion System – to see if I can’t use it along with this other intriguing discovery – the UniHuman project – to make a few more-humanoid baddies. I may give them T-shirts with RPS faces on while I’m at it. Come back saturday and see if I – sorry forum, WE – pull that off…

Why not join a more detailed discussion of all things Shotgunity in the super-special forum we’ve set aside for the purpose. We’ve still got a long way to go…


  1. Ian says:

    I feel like a bit of a lamer as a regular RPSer who hasn’t contributed much but every time I look in there there are folks with far greater technical know-how and such than myself, so I end up thinking “Ah I’m sure they’ll do a grand job.”

    Really looks like the basis for it is coming together though, and I’m halfway tempted to have a tinker with the software being used as well, as it sounds like it really is game-making for newbies. Or capable of offering game-making for newbies, anyway.

    • James Carey says:

      Aye but like I said in the first post, don’t be lulled into thinking it’s a latter-day SEUCK. It’s a proper grown up development suite and I’d be all at sea if it weren’t for the coding support I’m getting in the forums…
      That said, download it and have a play with the tutorials and you’ll see for yourself.

  2. Davee says:

    Damn it, this makes me want to start fiddling even more with Unity. Too bad I don’t have the time/energy to come up with something!

  3. Schmung says:

    Dear crickey that Locomotion thing is the bees knees..

    Can we have bears in the game?

    • PRS says:

      How about a version of the classic Snake using a certain endless bear? You’d have to run around the hairy maze whilst using the rock to stun him, the scissors to trim his beard and finally the paper to take a rubbing of his chin. To win. Or something.

  4. Desmolas says:

    Wow. that Locomotion video is quite insightful. I know games have done that for a while (GTA 4 comes to mind) but have they ever done it for animals? Something like WoW would look much more natural if this system was in there.

    • Lu-Tze says:

      There is a massive massive difference between the technology being used in GTAIV and the technology on show in Locomotion. There are lots of systems out there for “procedurally generated animation” (in this case just blending between a few different animations by using some event matching), you’d be amazed how many games use similar things.

  5. The Sombrero Kid says:

    don’t really have time to help, so i’m pleased things’re coming along nicely.

  6. NikRichards says:

    humm….. Might be able to fit in a few bits around my current workload

  7. Fazer says:

    The system animation blowed my mind O_o

    • JB says:

      It blowed mine too. Especially the four-legged creatures going sideways along the stairs etc.

      Also, I now agree with Schmung, can we have bears in ShotgUnity?

  8. WilPal says:

    I can’t believe he is giving away the animation package for free, it’s simply amazing.

  9. Sagan says:

    You have definitely convinced me that I will use Unity should I ever want to make my own 3D game.

  10. Weylund says:

    Yep, the Locomotion demo impressed me when I saw it too. The code is surprisingly elegant.

    I’d totally be using Unity if it weren’t for a) the limitations of the indie (now free, which makes speaking of “limitations” slightly pointless) version, and b) its terribad rendering capacity (try rendering more than a couple dozen “Locomotion” characters, even without all of the Locomotion overhead).

    Otherwise it was great fun, easy to spank stuff out with, and good-looking too.

    You seem to be doing a good job, by the way.

  11. the_dancing_spy says:

    Dude, you should make it so some enemies are made out of rock, so you have to use the paper on them, some out of paper so you have to use the shotgun, and some…

    Ok this probably wouldn’t work and I havent really been paying attention, but… oh well.
    Good luck anyway

  12. DMJ says:

    Wow. It’s coming along nicely. Here, have some kudos.

  13. Blather Blob says:

    Just read through all the shotgunity posts so far, and I’m impressed with the power of Unity. There James was protesting his complete ignorance and incompatibility with programming in post one, and by post two he was responding to bug reports with:

    Ah, that might be something to do with not calculating input per frame against a fixed time. in other words if you get a faster framerate on your rig you can move faster. Fixed pretty easily by * the speed with time.deltatime (probably).

    with the apparent belief that this is both interesting and helpful to the average user. Just like a real programmer :P

  14. MadMatty says:

    Woohoo ! at Locomotion. Its basically the same project i thought about making if i ever got started on programming again, coz it was do-able, but still fairly challenging- and sorely missing from a lot of games.
    Someone else did it though- and thats great- coz i never made it further than noting down some sketches a couple of years ago.

  15. Mikhail says:

    I’ve been looking at the Unity website out of curiosity, my fingers are itching to click download but I fear that this could devour whole weeks of my life without blinking. Anyway, the Unreal Development Kit is also available free of charge now. Anyone out there able to comment on how the two compare?