header image

Rolling with Unity, Z2 update

I’ve realised that VB .NET is a dead end when it comes to building games. I’ve grown fond of its quirks and comfortable with its loquacious prose, but I can’t escape the fact .NET limits me to Windows. Yes, I could court XNA for its Xbox 360 connections and Mono, which opens up roads to Mac and even iPhone, but I’m not prepared to embrace the technical wrangling required to make this orchestra of cross-platform love sleep happily in the same bed.

Whimsical metaphors aside, I decided to do something about my .NET focus and its destructive hold on my game development future. So, I present the above screenshot, a little piece I’m working on in Unity. It’s inspired by polyhedral dice and the excellent Dice Wars.

Unity is really, really good. Not only does it support three scripting languages (including C#, yah!), but you can switch between a “Game” and “Editor” view and examine the properties of objects at runtime. It provides an unprecedented level of debugging power, and problems that’d normally take hours to track down and fix can take minutes or seconds in Unity thanks to its potent visualisation abilities. It could do with a script debugger, but I hear that’s on the cards for Unity 3, due in… August. I think.

Unity also allows publishing to iPhone, PC, Mac, Wii and web. You need to make a few purchases to access the iPhone and Wii functionality, but there’s nothing stopping you from doing the gruntwork in the free version.

As for Zafehouse 2… I’m still keen to get a demo out by the end of July. I can’t say it’ll be fully functional, but it will give you a taste of what the game has become. I’ve reduced the scope and halved the length of the a Z2 day to 12 hours. I didn’t feel the intensity was there for 24, and the systems don’t allow for interesting gameplay for such a lengthy period of time.

Looking back at the code, there are a lot of things I’d have done differently. The one building/multiple floors idea was a good one and I’m not sure why I abandoned it. There’s also a heavy focus on combat, which is not what survival horror is about. The original intent was to make Z2 strategic, not tactical, yet that’s where it’s ended up.

I have some ideas for Z3 (yeah, yeah, finish the second one first, I hear you say) and I think Z2 has helped me focus in on what a strategic survival horror game should be.

~ by Logan on June 24, 2010.

3 Responses to “Rolling with Unity, Z2 update”

  1. Well I hope that Z2 production continues smoothly, and I look forward to your Unity work.

  2. By “reduced the scope” you mean only “halved the length” or were there some other changes necessary?
    As for the tactical-strategic thingy. My favorite game x-com combined both so i don’t see problem with that.

  3. Some other changes have been necessary, but that was by far the most drastic. I think the sorter length really ups the intensity. I’ve also changed it so that instead of finding survivors, they’re drawn to your “stronghold”.

    Players will have to choose a stronghold – basically a building that’s been cleared – before midnight. Obviously, the longer you leave it, the better a building you can select, but leave it too long and you won’t have anywhere for survivors to go. If the player hasn’t selected a stronghold before it hits midnight, then the default starting house will be used.