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Rock, Paper, Shotgunity – PenultaBuild!

This was supposed to be the last build of Shotgunity, the game we've been making using the free Unity development suite, with Build 8.1 (NEW LINK). Starting from scratch, with no prior knowledge of Unity, or indeed any type of coding, we planned to make a game based on RPS by today. Did we hit our deadline? Did we hell. But find out how surprisingly far we got after the cut.

So yeah, turns out I, as a newcomer to Unity, couldn't quite make the FPS I wanted to from scratch in just two months. Who'da thunk it? However, I did make a FPS - however broken – in that short time. If I started making another FPS now with two months to go, I reckon I'd be in with a good chance of realising the original design. If only because I'd now know to make it simpler...

The whole point of this series has been to see if free Unity means game development is now within reach of just about anyone. I wanted to find out what happens if you just download Unity, read a few tutorials, and start making games. The saga of ShotgUnity may not be a shining example of game design or process, but I think I've made the point. ShotgUnity is now drawing to a close, but it's done it's job. I, for one, am hooked on this Unity way of doing things. I've been unable to resist the temptation to begin new projects over the past weeks, I've got proto-space shooters, snooker sims, arcade racers and all sorts cluttering up my hard drive now. I've truly caught the bug for game-making. Once you've spent a few hours with Unity, it's hard not to make games. A few hours, even as a total coding newbie, and you've got a basic understanding of the systems at work in the toolset. Get to grips with that, and experimentation follows naturally. If you understand how to make an sphere rotate, of course you'll try and make a marble maze game. If you understand how to instantiate objects, how far behind is a Tetris clone? The simple accessibility and comprehensibility of Unity blows away the mystery of making games, chops it up and orders it into digestible mouthfuls on TV dinner GUI plate. The code-peas live there, the art-mash here... it all makes sense, without dumbing down or limiting the engine that's behind it all. This is Unity's real power.

But back to poor old Shotgunity, and today's build. I said this was supposed to be the last, but clearly the game is unfinished. The aim was to get six areas done in total. A tutorial level to introduce players to the RPS themed weapon-items, a hub room, and the four Hivemind themed levels that branch from that hub. The exciting good news is that we do actually have that much content. The bad news is that the levels aren't all they could be. While we have an Alec Moor and some JimSpace, I've had to draft in the test levels I made in the early stages of the project to be sham facades for Gillenopolis and WalkerWorld. The levels are all completable, sending the player back to the hub once you reach the win zones in each, and they all have challenges which can only be overcome with the weapon-items we've made, so in some respects we have actually achieved our goal. But they're not the spaces I'd hoped to make. All the building blocks are there so they could be, but I'm out of time, even with the excellent help and awesome contributions from the RPS community.

Next week, along with a post mortem, I'll release a final build that will hopefully iron out some of the lingering AI bugs and animation crapnesses, but generally speaking and for what it's worth, Build 08 is feature complete. Go find out more on the forums.

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Jim Rossignol