It’s been a while since I updated. To be honest, I don’t exactly remember all changes I’ve made. I’ve been working on it here and there in spare moments amongst busy times.
Many things have been refactored; I undid some unnecessary future-proofing I did in the previous update’s refactoring because it was silly and hard to read. I abstracted out some classes, either as their own files or as subclasses, making some code much easier to read. Again, not much has visibly changed with this new build, but I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made.
This has been an interesting week. I had 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.
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 aids in creating something visually appealing.
I’ve spent the last several days learning Unity. 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 and intended for educational purposes. 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. Although it was far from my most successful LD in terms of getting a good game done, since I used the Godot Engine to make it I learned a lot. This is particularly true 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. It was a pretty productive time, though. As the screenshot shows, I added shields to the enemies. However, I also did a big reorganization of my Trello board.
Probably the biggest shift in my plans is how I want to represent phonics as weapon to the player. Before, I planned to have individual bullets be aligned with specific phonemes. That was going to be hard to pull off visually. Instead, I’ve hit on a more readable and natural approach: instead of phoneme bullets damaging only certain enemies, the player will broadcast a phoneme signal that lowers shields on certain enemies.
There’s an awesome game out called Epistory: Typing Chronicles. It’s an adventure game controlled entirely via typing, and although it looks to some like just another typing game, it’s not. Script is below.
I am trying to get in the habit of changing how I talk about this project. 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 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. Although I opted to continue using the Godot Engine to make it, I decided to start again from the ground up.
It only took me an afternoon to get back to pretty much where I was before. That could say something about how well I relearn long-disused scripting languages. Alternately, it could say something about how much I learned in the process of getting to where I was in the first place. Or both.