Wednesday, April 30, 2014

GuildCraft Dev Diary: Part I

In February, I decided to start learning Unity.

I was impressed with the tutorials I saw for the 2D toolkit they added. Also, unlike other engine offerings (Unreal, CryEngine) it was possible to write code in C#. I really enjoy working in C#, previously teaching myself the language by writing a GUI framework for XNA.

Although I was proud of the game engine skeleton I had built for XNA, without a partner to work with the task of creating an engine AND a game AND the tools to build content for that game was daunting. I decided that I had very little interest in building tools and that led me to look at commercial game engines.

Currently, I am learning Unity and experimenting with C# design patterns. My long-term goal is to build a 2D party-based RPG built on rules available through the Open Game License. The play experience should approximate the experience of running an adventuring guild. Hence the name, GuildCraft.

My initial goal is to build a character generator. I looked to games like The Temple of Elemental Evil and Neverwinter Nights for inspiration. I also looked at the D&D 4e character creator. One thing I never liked about building characters with those was the way that you had to choose your race/class/skills/feats/name in a specific order. You had to undo several steps to change a choice made at the start of the process. My character creator will be better by allowing any choice to be made or changed in any order.

After some research, I decided to buy DaikonForge GUI from the Unity asset store. It allowed me to get started quickly.
  • Quick review: I like DaikonForge's ability to render HTML-style markup, but long-term I will probably need to swap it out for a GUI framework that handles multiple resolutions and device sizes better. You will notice in my screenshots that the text is a little blurry.

Since my objective at this stage is to teach myself how to use Unity and Mono (the version of C# that Unity uses) the text content is placeholder.

[Standard disclaimer about images used for educational purposes. No artwork is final.]
An early experiment with UI in Unity.

Building an in-game codex to allow players to easily browse game rules.

The codex entries are specified in an XML file using a limited HTML syntax.

In part II of this dev diary I will discuss building the character generator and the UI for the character sheet.


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