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Phonics Shmupdate: Colorblind friendliness and phonemes for days

Colorblind friendliness and some IPA on display

It’s been a while since I did any updates regarding my phonics shmup; the stress of leaving a job and moving intercontinentally took its tool. When I stopped working on the game in April, I had broken it in magnificent ways. Now the broken is gone and I’ve added some colorblind friendliness features and built all of my phonemes in the way that Unity really wants: using GameObjects.


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Phonics Shmup Progress: Caught Up in Unity!

phonics shmup all caught up

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.


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Phonics Shmup: Rebuilding in Unity

phonics shmup unity

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.


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Phonics Shmup Progress, 4/22

Phonics shmup, now with shields disrupted!

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.


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Phonics Shmup Progress, 4/15

4/15/2016 Progress, now with shields

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.

Development Itself

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.


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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. Although I opted to continue using the Godot Engine to make it, I decided to start again from the ground up.

Re-Making Progress

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.


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What Ludum Dare has Done for Me

I originally posted this on April 9, 2013 on my blog on Gamasutra. Cross-posting here, as I should have done before.

I first learned of Ludum Dare last August. I wasn’t in time to participate, but I was able to play a wide variety of interesting games. That got me fired up — I definitely wanted to participate in December’s 48-hour compo (hereafter LD48). I hadn’t programmed in years, really, but I was signed up for an Intro to Computer Science MOOC and was pretty sure I would be capable of pumping out something come December.

Participating in Ludum Dare #25

When December and its LD48 came around, I was not at all confident in my abilities. I had successfully brushed up on basic computer science concepts and learned some new things, but the MOOC had been taught in Python instead of the C/C++ I originally learned in. I could do some things with Python, like perform computations and output things to IDLE, but I had no clue how to do things like play sound and draw graphics. To make things worse, I live in Japan, which meant that the event would be starting at noon on Saturday for me. In order to be functional for work on Monday, I needed to get to bed around midnight on Sunday, leaving me with only 36 hours to make my game. In short, my limitations were many.


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