Grey Zoned

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Welcome back!

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So… What do you think of the new site?!

There’s much to talk about!

We have a new forum now, go and register for that and get involved with the discussion. It’ll probably be quite bare to start with as it’s brand new. So use your imagination and start some conversations ūüôā

There’s a dedicated tutorial section now, with tutorial series support to link together the tutorials for easier usability. If there are downloads available for tutorials then that will appear in the sidebar.

I have a Patreon page now too! If you ever felt like helping me then that’s how you can. Under each tutorial there is also the Paypal donate button still (thank you to those of you who donated!). It’s my goal to eventually make games and tutorials full time. With your help maybe I can make that a reality. Currently my main responsibility is making websites but if I can support myself by making tutorials then I can put more time into creating amazing content for all of you!

About those tutorials… I have made the first in a new series about the new Facebook SDK 7.3.0 for you to watch right now! I can’t wait to hear what you think of it, and to get some new requests for tutorials.

So enjoy the new site and the forum. If you haven’t already, please do subscribe to my email list so that I can keep you updated of new stuff (which will be more frequent now!)

Until next time, Happy coding!

Glenn

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Facebook integration for increasing your app visibility

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It’s no secret that Facebook integration in games increases their chances of hitting it big. With Facebook’s over 1 billion users with an average of 757 million users logging in every day, why would any game dev miss out on making Facebook work with¬†their game?

So what are the most effective functionalities to integrate from Facebook into your game in order to make your game spread virally? And how to do them?

The first that I consider important is using Facebook’s Score API to store and show user’s score on a high score board. If their friends are playing the same game they will see them in the high score board and its quite fun trying to beat your friends score.

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A simple Facebook high score board

The second great feature that helps an app spread is inviting friends to play with you. I’ve seen this done in collaboration with the high score board. Basically you can show the high scores of friends who already play, then below it you can see friends who don’t play this game and next to their name is an invite button. This makes it very easy to spread the word.

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Facebook high score mixed with Invitation API

The third important feature which really helps make your app social is letting friends help each other out. This can be by giving lives to each other or by sending thanks by the way of coins.

I’ve seen this done really nicely in Angry Birds Transformers. When you’re logged in you can select a team mate and if you use them in the game then it gives you the opportunity to thank them afterwards. Doing this will give the friend coins or gems. This sort of social gaming really brings people back and increases their enjoyment of the game.

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Ingenious way of having social gaming

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After the game it asks if you want to thank your friend for their help

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Friends activity showing the rewards you have gained from essentially playing with Facebook logged in.

Tutorials

It’s my ambition to bring to my readers a series of tutorials on how to do all of these things with Facebook in Unity.

Below is a list of the tutorials that will be coming. Some will be longer than others, but I appreciate any feedback I can get. Please let me know in the comments of each respective tutorial if it was helpful, understandable or if there is anything I should do to improve my tutorials. Please feel free to request a tutorial too!

  1. Facebook SDK in Unity: Basic Login Integration
  2. Facebook SDK in Unity: Displaying users name and picture, along with Share and Invite buttons
  3. Facebook SDK in Unity: Score API – Saving and displaying scores
  4. [by request]
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Drunk Pirate: Development Log #1

Black beard plan

The Idea

As a tipsy buccaneer you’ve stumbled upon treasure on a remote desert island, but to your dismay the treasure guardians – the immortal skeletons – don’t like your plans to steal it. Therefore you must haul anchor and run away from them across this desert island in a desperate effort to find your ship. A hard task when you’ve been drinking Rum!

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Early concept sketch for the Drunk Pirate game – have since decided to be landscape rather than portrait.

 

I introduce to you the concept: Drunk Pirate (working title). It’s an endless runner game around a gorgeous looking Caribbean style desert island.

Your adventures will span through caves, into the jungle, across the beaches, over draw bridges and more. Watch out for those immortal skeletons jumping out at you and don’t fall behind or they’ll catch you up and what happens then might certainly shiver one’s timbers!

Development

As I write this we’re already quite far into development for the game. Regrettably I’ve been delaying writing blog posts about progress so I’ll get you up to speed.

Here was the first idea, so many fathoms away from where we are now:

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First game concept. The idea was to negotiate the drunk character along the boardwalk to his ship. Not very entertaining!

Originally I wanted the game to work similar to Subway Surf with the bending over the horizon view. So I coded a infinite level generation script and modelled and animated a rough idea of a pirate to run in a slightly drunk manner. Then we had this:

But as the game has progressed the bending over the horizon actually became somewhat of a hindrance. So we took that away and made it landscape to show more of the view. We really want the levels to look nice and landscape offers the player to see more of it and get much more immersed into the game. Straight line infinite runner didn’t excite us any more.

We want to take the Pirate and player on an adventure through this desert island and to do that it needed to be able to go around corners. This became an issue because I’ve never done anything like that yet in Unity.

I tried animating the player through spline paths using iTween but there was a problem with keeping a consistent speed, and it would have been a pain at the level design stage with this method too.

So I pondered and brainstormed and came up with what I consider now quite an eloquent solution.

There are a series of way points in each level block, and the pirate will go to the next way point after it has met the current. When it finds the next way point instead of snapping its rotation to the new one it will slowly change direction – creating a curved corner. This way I could keep the player moving at a consistent speed and also go around corners. It will be much easier to rapidly create level blocks in the future too.

So as long as the waypoints are placed in a organised way it will nicely travel around any corner. With this new code working I re-thought the level design. I found a really nice picture and used it as inspiration for how to move forward with design:

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After implementing a rough idea based on this picture I had something which looked like this:

With level blocks spawning good and the curved path solution running well. It was now time to add game play features!

I want the pirate to be able to jump, slide, move left and right and also to swing his sword (there’ll be a sword!) I’m not overly keen on swiping to move left and right,¬†which would also be a pain on a landscape game.¬†Using the accelerometer for moving left and right works far better.

At the moment swipe up and swipe down controls jumping and sliding. Coming soon will be the ability to swipe left and right to angrily swing your sword at a devilish foe.

When you jump and slide it moves an invisible hit box which is parented to the character. This is the main hitbox which detects collision with obstacles and coins. A separate hit box is in place on the character to control going up and down terrain or over obstacles which should give more options when level design becomes the main job at hand!

With all this in the current version the game now plays like this:

With most of the game play in our next task is to work on creating more props to go in the game and create more of a level to play test and get a feel for the game. 

The existing pirate was never really meant to be the final. So I’m remodelling the first pirate now. I decided the game would look really cool if it was caricaturistic and flat shaded with minor details and gradients. So with this almost cartoony look in mind I sketched up Black beard!

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Front view of the first proper pirate in the game: Black Beard! Arrrr!

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Ye be wanting a side view with that too

I’m recording a time lapse of modelling black beard so you can expect that soon because I’m almost done, and it looks awesome!

Conclusion

So that’s all I have for now. This is my first ever development blog post. I’d be really interested to get your feedback on it. Did you enjoy it? Was it long enough or too short? Was I too vague in areas or would you like me to expand more on code or art? Any opinions, critique and plus any thoughts on the game idea and progress so far will be really appreciated if you leave them in a comment below ūüôā

Thank you for reading!
Glenn

P.S. I’d love it if you shared this ūüėČ

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