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.

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Phonics Shmup Progress, 4/22

Now with shields disrupted!

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.

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Phonics Shmup Progress, 4/15

4/15/2016 Progress, now with shieldsIt’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.

Development Itself

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.

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Let’s Talk About… Epistory: Typing Chronicles

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.

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Phonics shmup progress, 3/8 and 3/14

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 11.31.17 AM

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.

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Reviving the Phonics Shooter

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

Pondering… PS4 Stream Blocking

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.

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Coloring <3

I love coloring. I always have. I recently decided that I wanted to color, gosh darnit, and so I would get some coloring books and colored pencils.

Since I live in a rural area, I can’t get coloring books at local stores. When I looked on Amazon, everything I found was $10-$15 bucks (in yen… I was buying from JP Amazon, but whatever). I balked a bit at that, but the desire to color was strong and I bit the bullet. Thankfully, it turns out that all of these books are well worth the price. Continue reading