Phonics Shmup: Rebuilding in Unity

phonics shmup unityI 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.

Today’s Work

I started out by following the Unity space shooter tutorial to its completion, which I finished yesterday. When I started work on it today, I was hoping to get the game caught up to where I was in development in the Godot Engine. I didn’t quite succeed.

For the most part, the things I learned in Godot about doing collisions are applicable here, too. Since I was converting tutorial game logic rather than starting from scratch, however, I got a bit hung up. The shields now work, though, destroying bullets and protecting the ship.

The shields also look pretty cool, I think. I grabbed a neat glass texture from and used that. Figuring out how to get it to look the way I wanted it took me more time than I would have liked, but figuring out how to animate it took no time at all and I’m happy with the result.

unity phonics shmup game over

I also have ships spawning with random letter assignments, which is the first step towards getting the shield disruptor system in place. I lucked out again with the space shooter tutorial assets; the enemy ships are pincer shaped with a huge open space in the middle, perfect for adding floating letters. I like how they look when the enemy ships tilt to move. The letters also tilt, but stay legible.

Although I didn’t finish setting up shield disruptions, I have the foundations of a disruptor added to the ship. It prints to the console when the disruptor is swapped and again when the disruptor swapping mechanism is off cooldown.

More for Later

I anticipate getting caught up to where I was, more or less, by the day after tomorrow. (I would say tomorrow, but I need to record for YouTube, among other things.) It shouldn’t take me much longer to get the disruptor swap fully enabled with sound, though I’ll need to figure out how to create a broadcasting particle effect that I like.

I’ll also need to check my roadmap and update it for where the Unity version is at once that’s done.

One thing I am glad about is how painless it is to build for web in Unity. As of right now, it’s not much different from how the tutorial ends, but if you wanna check it out for yourself, you can do so here.

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