Today I want to share my journey in falling in love with the Unity game development environment. I will start far off but it’s important to understand the source of my game dev passion, so bear with me.
So as you know, I have this artistic side project called Maina Creatures (Link). I started it a year ago with a friend of mine, but what you see published over there is pretty much created by me. Back in last October we started this, I also quit my well paid Big 4 financial auditor job (can’t get enough of sharing this…) and went back to my home town to pursue my (undefined) dreams. I left finance behind and went into mobile apps for iOS. After publishing PlanD and LemonQuotes (you can check those out in the menu above if you like) I really wanted to start designing a game.
It’s been a dream of mine ever since I laid my fingers on The GameCreators’ FPS Creator back in 2005. It’s now open-source and so fun to use, you should try it (Link). Back then I also played with The Game Maker 3D (not available any more) and DarkBASIC (from The GameCreators as well). It was fun, but I knew nothing about programming or game logic or anything… especially since I wasn’t even an avid gamer. It was much more interesting to build small games. In 10th grade I used Game Studio A6 (I think…) to create a game with falling cyrillic and latin letters that you had to distinguish and collect by navigating Saints Cyril and Methodius who were flying on a cloud. It was part of a Siemens Join Multimedia 2004 project I worked on with fellow students. We ranked 14th in the world which was quite exciting and this game gave us the big boost in points. Anyhow, so here I am after so many years… all up and running my garage XCode development gig… with 2 simple apps behind me (but published at least!) and an aspiration to bring my Maina Creatures to life.
So I started an awesome game dev Udemy course that was supposed to teach all there was about game dev for iOS. I spend a few weeks building this pretty cool side scroller and a level design system. And then I started drawing and replacing the sprites with Maina Creatures-inspired ones. But then I realized that by building for iOS only, I’d either have to admit that most of my friends won’t play my game, or that I’d have to find someone to develop it for Android as well.
And then I remembered… I remembered this thing I had played with in school, this thing called Unity 3D. I was sure they also had a Unity 2D version, and supported mobile export. Maybe now, after all those years, I could finally afford to buy it! Excitedly I googled Unity 3D and boy was I amazed at what I found. The engine had a fully functional FREE version. All they asked for was a splash screen saying ‘Made with Unity’ and that if you generate more than USD 100k a year, you pay like a thousand bucks to them! Which was epic!
So that’s it, it was decided!
I did some research and found out some aspects of this decision that one might regret. First, the free version also said on the splash screen “Personal Edition”, which was ugly and looked very unprofessional. Then it turned out that I had to start learning C# if I wanted to switch to Unity. So, just as I was getting comfortable with Swift and XCode I embarked on a journey to move to Unity. So I went back into Udemy, which is my favorite web site for online training if you were wondering, and found this awesome course called Learn to Code by Making Games by Ben Tristem (Link). It was on promotion and way down from the original asking price, so I went on and took it. The course is organized so that it’d guide you through the development of a few fully working games, while introducing more and more complex theories and concepts and advancing your skills constantly.
So I was like, OK, bring it on. The first game was a classic block breaker, which I started to passionately work on.
Then it hit me… instead of completing the course and starting to develop a game afterwards, I’d get every game concept we built and finish it up and publish it on mobile for iOS and Android (awesome!) and make it a Maina Creatures themed game.
This is how I came up with PaveL and Krachko fighting the evil villain. And this is how the Evil Villain Sakmioff was born!
And with him came the compelling story… so, the creatures from Maina Creatures went out for drinks after work but the Evil Villain Sakmioff decided to spoil their fun and built obstacles – walls of bear bottles that they had to overcome to go further. So, I have a block breaker – a paddle and a ball – naturally PaveL and Krachko were the obvious choices…
And after some designing and aligning in Unity I was almost there…
Then another interesting idea started circulating my mind. I met one of the Bulgarian craft beer brewers and suddenly had an awesome collaborative idea. Why not use Bulgarian craft beer bottles in my game and make some free advertising for the brews I so much enjoy and regularly use (and abuse…)
I got a friend of mine that knows all of them to negotiate terms (pretty much ‘give me images for free and I’l feature your beers for free’). I couldn’t get some of the bottles on good photos so I even had to build my light box (which was a fun project I did with a friend, that I might tell you about some other time).
So after a lot of trial and error and some rigorous level design I had it…
Then it was as easy as 1,2,3 to publish on both iOS and Android and upload to both stores. I didn’t get many downloads but for a first game it was epic and awesome and an incredible experience overall.
So, I’ll leave it at this and tell you more about what is my next project when it’s a bit more developed.
Thank you for bearing with me, hope you got inspired to start building your own simple games!
And when you do, please share the results with me, I’d love to feature your game and story on here and on my facebook page.
If you want drop me a line from the contacts form or at i @ brotherlemon . com
Have fun creating!