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Rock, Paper, ShotgUnity, Part Eight 

'Twas the weekend before Christmas and all through the InfoNet, children were wondering just what they would get. They'd written to Santa: 'Dear St. Nick hear our plea, All we want is Build 04 of ShotgUnity!'

And so it was. Fortunately for Info Claus we're at the half-way point in our attempt to build a game in two months using the free Unity game development suite. Those on The Nice List can get their just desserts, along with the next part of our diary, below the cut.

I've been aiming for a certain goal. By this point in the process, half-way through our self imposed two month time limit, I wanted to have all the basic mechanics for Shotgunity in and working. Not necessarily working as they're supposed to – though that would've been nice – but at least working in some fashion. This was so we could spend the next month actually making what I think of as the meat of the game, the flesh that people see rather than the skeleton underneath that does all the work. I reasoned that, as a total newb to this, the hard part would be getting anything working at all, so if I could crack our core mechanics in the first month, we'd be in good shape to actually make the game itself in month two.

Happily it's all come together. This week I've achieved a fair bit in preparation for the last build before Chrimble. I've polished off the Paper weapon - You can now use the paper to hide from enemies in exchange for forced blindness. They'll still look at you, and even approach you if you were spotted before you managed to get the paper up, but once it's up they quickly loose interest and wander off. At the moment there's no time limit to paper use but there will be in future. This whole paper mechanic seems to have split opinion – some have said they love the idea, others hate it, but I think it's hard to judge whether it's a success or not until we actually get some levels and puzzles built. I guess we'll see in the new year.

I've also changed the Rock grabber weapon so you can now power up and throw the rock with the right mouse button. This was a much needed and asked for feature so I'm glad to have it working at the half-way stage. I still want the rock to be a burden though, an element you have to cart around through the puzzles, so it doesn't just get magically stored away in your inventory, you need to actually carry it. Which means you have to drop it if you want to use the paper or the shotgun. Again, this will all be factored into how the puzzles work. Again, we'll see if that's a good idea when we're playtesting in the new year...

This build is also the first to feature the produce (other than code) of The Shotgunitiers of the forum. We've got some great sounds and art being made in there (just this morning I see Calabi has made a charming Angry Internet Man baddy) so it was about time I put some into the game. Sound cues especially are really helping to bring things to life, I don't think the paper would work at all without Triki's expert rustling. I must also mention Shotgunitier Vitamin Powered's excellent work on an in-game options menu, which isn't in the build but can be toyed with in the Project Files. Right, enough thankyou speeches, back to the process...

So now we have our core mechanics. A rock you can throw to distract enemies but must also be used as a key, a paper you can read to hide form baddies you are unable to kill, and a shotgun that requires ammo which is very limited. In the new year we're going to have to take those elements and make them work together, so I'm encouraging you all to download not only Build 04, but also the project files and the Unity Editor suite itself. All the elements are now in those project files for you to build and test your own scenarios. It's a simple drag and drop operation to place enemies, waypoints, ammo, triggers, traps etc so why not throw some shapes around and see what you can come up with? Either way, here's wishing you a Merry Christmas.

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James Carey