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.
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.