Archive for March, 2009

End of week 1

March 27, 2009

End of the first week of the Build phase. It’s been a frustrating day but now when I take a moment to look back on what we’ve achieved things are looking fine.

We have pretty much finalised the look of the game, established an asset pipeline betwen Maya and Unity3D, and level 1 is looking reasonably complete. Looking forward to the first build.

Not everything went to plan. We still have not worked out how to achieve a toon shader look. Having trouble finding ANY iPhone titles with the aesthetic we want but haven’t given up just yet. Also, we’ve had some hiccups establishing a clean line of communications using our online project management and version tracking software. We’re using my old favourite trac for all documentation and issue ticketing but uncovered a defect (missing feature?) which have slowed us down (no alerts when an attachment is added to a ticket). Similarly I was hoping to utilise Subversion in parallel to evaluating Unity’s Asset Server but we hit several obstacles. The number of files in Unity projects makes checking out files slow going. We decided to simply check in Unity packages today to save time (relinquishing any real version control of the elements within the package). Also still no luck getting Asset Server tested. We needed to manually request an eval license for the Unity Asset Server client (not the best product name in the world)¬† something I overlooked in the process of installing the server and failing to get it working on Debian. Given the high quality of the documentation for other software components, I think Unity could improve the Asset Server instructions. The documentation is written to suggest that a Server menu option is available inside Unity3D without mentioning that this is conditional on having a client license. Not the most intuitive thing when you are used to a world of free software clients and paid-for servers. The inverse is true in this case, Unity charge US$499 per client and give away the server (built around PostgreSQL).

Nevertheless it is a small team and process hiccups aren’t so big a problem at this point. Communication is going well and the important thing is that work on building the game mechanic is underway and everyone seems to love the art. The unexpected early release of Unity 2.5 for Windows has also given us Unity on all team machines which is a bonus considering we are all new to the product. A promising start.

Now I have to go off and mark student essays! Enough procrastination..


Unity 2.5 / iPhone

March 24, 2009

Quite an exciting week for technological change. Unity3D has a new release out, 2.5, and for the first time the authoring tool is available for Windows. Expect to hear more in the press about this. Most game developers have historically been working on PC platforms so no doubt there will be a rush to explore the new tool. At the same time, Apple has announced the impending release of the iPhone SDK 3.0 with over 100 new features. A good time to be cooking up iPhone apps methinks.

Starting the prototype phase

March 24, 2009
Baby art

Baby art

A good day. First 3D asset created – a partial hero model for us to start working out the asset pipeline. Apart from sound, the team is in place and looks like we’ll have a prototype up soon. Can’t wait!

A few headaches with spamhaus classing our server as a spam host Рgot it removed so team-members using hotmail can get their alerts. In the next life, I reserve the right to delegate all mail server  issues.

Disclaimer – this is just concept art on the iPhone, not Unity. I wish! Getting a nice toon shading is probably going to be a headache since the device doesn’t support the Unity ToonShader package.

Unity3D remoting working

March 11, 2009

Started my 30 day trial of Unity3D iphone. Today was spent getting remoting working. A cute feature whereby you can use the iPhone accelerometer to control the game on your Mac screen in a preview mode.


I had to reissue all the provisioning profiles from yesterday as the Unity iPhone editor seems to enforce your Bundle Identifier starting with ‘com’. Perhaps I did something else wrong but by creating a new App ID in the iPhone Dev center account I managed to get everything working. It was good to finally see some local apps compile and get installed on my device. Now it’s time to start building the game scaffold.

Hello, World

March 10, 2009

Hello, World!

Well that was a mission and a half… After weeks of playing email and phone tennis with the Apple Developer Center I now have a device I can write software for.

The final hurdle today was sorting out Certificates, App IDs, and Development Provisional Profiles. I feel quite vindicated in my decision not to go anywhere near this platform last year. It is always a lot easier to browse five months worth of anguish-filled developer forums than hitting issues first.