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. Continue reading
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, so I got 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.
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 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