Stick Defenders and my escape from Tutorial Hell| My Game Dev Journey #3
2015 was the year I managed to defeat the Goliath that I had made Unity up to be. I was browsing Reddit because r/gamedev always gives me a lot of motivation to get to work. I love looking at the ideas that people express and it helps me find my own ideas as well as important resources. One such post was that of a Kickstarter for a Unity Course. The idea was that these two professional game developers would create a start to finish course on game development. That is the kind of course that every beginner wants to see. Assuming someone who doesn't know how to program is applying, and then raising them to the point they can make some really good games!
I’ll link the course I took at the very end because it was definitely an influential course for me. It was short and sweet, but the fact that that is where I learned C# for the first time and was able to end up with the skillset that still comes in handy to this day, I still feel like it was a steal!
Let's talk about the game I made now. Here is the point in the series where I will get more in-depth about the programming of the games rather than the story behind them, simply because there were more “adventures” in the programming than related to it. Up until now, all I had in terms of experience was a text adventure game, and if you’re a subscriber to my youtube channel, you know that my learning style is basically to go off the prescribed path. In this project, I was still developing that philosophy, and so I decided to create my own assets and since I had a bit of experience with Stick Figure Animation using Pivot, I was able to make some pretty cool looking stuff!
So I got the background off of google, and kinda duplicated it and made it look the way the course described, I set up the UI and stuff all in one script because in my head, that makes it more efficient. Of course, now the game is simply impossible to scale, but that's a lesson I learned at the end of this project XD. The code itself was pretty simple, once you clicked on the object, it would get stored in a variable, and that variable would then when you click on the field, it places the object you had selected. Back then I created a bunch of variables. I feel like at this point I would probably use an array of objects and clicking would just store the index of the array to produce. This way I could just use one function and not have like 50 if statements for 50 items. I would also most likely make the enemies look different. I mean yeah the enemies are the ones that are completely unarmed, but still, I learned this from the devs over at Naughty Dog, the best way to check the clarity of your game design is to squint your eyes and then play.
I won't lie, that was the best advice I have been given, and it was from a devlog that I found out about when I was looking to get into Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I later kinda realized that if my goal is to get a good education, I shouldn't wait to get into a good institute or whatever, I can just do it myself right now!
Back to the game, the “turrets” by which I mean the characters with the guns were just a bunch of objects that had basically shot these tiny game objects with a unique tag. Again, if I were to remake it, I would most likely just use raycasting, or if I absolutely had to show the bullet, I would create a separate class that only contains things like velocity and damage, and have the shoot function propel the GameObject accordingly. I would most likely have a looping system such that all the bullets are thrown almost at the same time. That and some Object pooling and some batching could allow for 1000s of GameObjects to be on screen at the same time!
It was a really short game and from there I drifted away from the course. I felt like I had learned all I could from it, and that I needed to discover the rest on my own or through my own ideas. One thing you’ll notice from now is that I don't finish tutorials and that is on purpose. If I keep focusing on what the tutorials have to say, I will almost always end up duplicating what they say. It's a very real problem called Tutorial Hell or Tutorial Loop. Stick Defenders is how I got out of that.
Next up I decided to create a completely finished and published game. Agni’s Labyrinth! But that's a story for next time, see ya then!