This has been an interesting week, so I got work in on the shmup in bits and pieces around other things. The menu screen, with a credits panel that pops up, is the biggest visible change. I also added some particles for the disruptor broadcast. Most of the work I got done, though, was refactoring.
This is just a quick post to say that I did get the phonics shmup caught up in Unity to where I had it in Godot.* It took me about as much time as I expected, though I didn’t get the work done on the days I expected. It now does everything the Godot version did and has random asteroids floating through as well because I didn’t feel a need to disable them, at least not yet.
Better than that, it’s more or less ready for level loading, so the next part of development is gonna be recording better quality phoneme sounds and doing it for the whole alphabet.
Best of all, you can play it online. I hadn’t figured out how to build for web in Godot yet, but Unity made that easy, too. Left click to shoot, right click to swap disruptor phonemes.
*Actually, now that I think on it, I don’t have even a basic broadcasting graphic on the disruptor. So all but that. Functionally speaking, though, the game is caught up.
I was thinking about the fact that my students are young and Japanese, and more easily impressed by flashy things than non-flashy ones. I am not a graphic artist, really, so I decided to rebuild my phonics shmup in Unity — the ease of grabbing things from the asset store makes it much easier to create something visually appealing.
I’ve spent the last several days learning Unity, and imagine my luck at finding that one of their introductory tutorials is a space shmup. The assets they provide with it are free to use, too.
If I were planning to sell this game, I would care about using assets from one of Unity’s tutorials; who wants to release a commercial game using assets that most Unity developers will recognize? But I’m not. This is going to be free, intended for educational purposes, and what I really care about is the likelihood that my kids (and the students of anyone else who wants to use it) will want to play it. For that purpose, these graphics are fine.
I participated in Ludum Dare last weekend, and although it was far from my most successful LD in terms of getting a good game done, I used the Godot Engine to make it and learned a lot, particularly in the area of dealing with collisions. So it was that when I came back to my phonics shmup yesterday, I got a lot done in a small amount of time.
It’s been a few days, including a Ludum Dare weekend, since I actually did some work on my phonics shmup, but it was a pretty productive time. As the screenshot shows, I got shields added to the enemies, but I also did a big reorganization of my Trello board.
Probably the biggest shift in my plans is how I’m planning to represent phonics as weapon to the player. Before, I planned to have individual bullets be aligned with specific phonemes, but that was going to be hard to pull off visually. Instead, I’ve hit on a more readable approach which I feel is more natural: instead of phoneme bullets being able to damage only certain enemies, the player will be broadcasting a phoneme signal that lowers shields on certain enemies.
I am trying to get in the habit of changing how I talk about this project, since apparently shmups don’t count as shooters to some people. The way I see it, you’re shooting things, ergo it is a shooter, but I prefer to use terms in standard ways, so here we are. Anyway, I’ve had two days in the past week where I put in a decent amount of work on my shmup for teaching phonics… in spite of being down one hand for a new repetitive motion injury. Enemies are now a thing, though nothing hurts anything else.
I don’t generally like endless runners, but Alto’s Adventure is something special. Below is the script for my newest Let’s Talk About… video discussing why.
I started a project ages ago, a game that was to be a shooter intended to help students learn phonics. The ship shoots sound bullets; all the enemies have letters on their ships and are only vulnerable to the sounds those letters make. Some ships are therefore only vulnerable to one sound, while a C ship, for example, is vulnerable to two.
I can’t remember why I stopped working on it. Judging by the last time I accessed the project, it might have had to do with Ultra Hat Dimension and our decision to polish and ship the prototype we made for Ludum Dare. Regardless, it’s been a good long time, and although I opted to continue using the Godot Engine to make it, I decided to start again from the ground up. Continue reading
I was rather salty about the fact that Square-Enix uses the PS4’s stream blocking capabilities on cutscenes in FFX/X-2 HD Remaster. Having gained some distance between me and the making of my FFX let’s play, I’ve made a video that talks about why I think it’s a bad thing to for Square-Enix to have done and how I think the blocking might have come about.