The Horror of the Yellowbugs

Last week I went camping in Norfolk with my wonderful lady companion and though it wasn’t a long holiday, we’d set aside a day to basically do whatever we wanted (the day after we arrived, to be precise). So when the morning came, on seeing a bright shining sun, I felt the urge to build something. So I figured, let’s head for a beach. You see, despite being a ‘respectable’ adult, I have not lost the need to construct temples to Ra out of sand. I’m actually volatile in temperatures exceeding 30 degrees, so sunbathing is never something I took a liking to, but I don’t know if you can go to a beach when it’s raining. It might be against the law; I don’t know, I’ll look it up. Continue reading

Iron Skies Devblog : When it comes to the Crunch

What do I know about the Crunch? I haven’t even been to the Crunch. But I have been pretty busy, working toward a playable demonstration of Iron Skies.

iTween for Unity, from the nice chap at pixelplacement!If you use Unity, I highly recommend checking it out…

But as everything is a bit all over the place, I’d like to share a link with something that promises to be useful not just for this project but anything else I do with Unity: iTween. Okay, bad name; but a fantastic set of tools. It was written by an independent developer (nothing to do with Apple) and put basically is an extension on Unity’s functionality to make changing something from A to B both easy and powerful. All that needs installing is a static script, slapped into your asset folder. Coupled with how painless Unity is already, the result is possibly the best thing in the world you can get for nothing.

On a computer.

Iron Skies Devblog – Thoughts on Networking

Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted, my excuse being no better than the usual guff about being busy and overworked and maybe a little hungry. Progress has so far been great, but the amount there is to do to meet my original aims is vast.

Today I decided that a working single player game was better than an unworkable mess of a multiplayer one, and for this reason I’m going to postpone the network feature of Iron Skies for the time being. I’ve done some trials with Unity’s networking and come to the conclusion network code is a bit hard.

Unless you’re a programmer or a particularly savvy designer, network games don’t work how you think they do. I liken a multiplayer game to a play on a theatre. In split screen, all the audience sit in the same theatre watching the same actors portray the same play. But in a network game, each member of the audience are in completely different theatres, with different actors, who are attempting to stand in the same place on the stage as all the other versions, and who’s only means of doing so is phoning up all the other theatres every couple of seconds to ask who’s moved and where they are now. Oh, but to keep it looking convincing, the actors ought to guess where they’re going to be and just adjust if they’re wrong about it.

A balmy-sounding analogy, but one that begins to capture the apparent inanity of networking. When coders say that adding multiplayer is a lot of work, they don’t just mean “oh I have to write a big file on the end here and some of the words in it are long and difficult to spell”. It is something that will totally change the core workings of your game code. The way everything talks to each other: picking up items, throwing objects, even movement; it all needs to be not just re-written, but often re-thought out.

I suppose this doesn’t sound like the ideal thing to leave out for later. It wasn’t an easy decision, but I don’t think the nightmare pandora’s box of online play is something I want to unleash before I even have a demonstration of gameplay. I will certainly want networking at some point, but it is easy to forget just how much work it requires.

So yes… Iron Skies 2.0 maybe?