Phonics Shmup Progress: A Menu, Credit Where Due, and Refactoring

Phonics shmup start menuThis 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.

The music in the game now is a song that I licensed from a fellow named Tim McFarland when I first had the idea for this game a couple of years ago. He supplied exactly what I requested, music which doesn’t interfere with the phoneme sounds. However, I’ve begun to question my request — it gives the game a sadder tone than I realized at the time. I’m thinking I might have to acquire more music and write out a more complex campaign than I originally envisioned.

That lines up with the fact that I’ve learned a lot about teaching phonics since I first conceived of this project, though, to be honest. A campaign is a good idea. It’s a natural way to engage students while gradually ramping up the difficulty. I still intend to have a custom level mode, but once I get all the systems I want in place, setting up that campaign is going to be a priority.

Other credits are for things like that cool NASA photo of Japan from space and the particle pack I purchased because it had exactly the sort of broadcasting animation I was looking for in it, among other things. The particle pack is extremely versatile and will be useful for anything else I might make in Unity. Looking over and tweaking the settings for the particles I’m using is also proving educational.

The refactoring is super important stuff. I decided I needed a proper Letter class to hold associated phonemes and a method for matching them against other phonemes. I also dug into some of how C# is designed to work and rewrote some things to better accomodate potential future changes. Some of those changes are perhaps unnecessary, but I anticipate needing to do some things for localization later and want my code to easily support that.

I have not updated Trello to reflect any of this progress at time of this writing. I think that will be a task for tomorrow, when I’m not drowsy from my first dose of anti-pollen allergy medicine for the year.

As always, these days, the current build is available to check out on the other side of this link.

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