I'd begun a pet project with a friend just before the WikiHow Dream Jam came up and my friend suggested we both participate separately. He was busy with real life affairs but I was able to slap this together. This was from the beginning intended to be a crash course in the Unity systems I'd had no experience with. These are the audio, animation, particle and UI systems.
In retrospect, Unity's pros and cons both shine through pretty immediately as a project and the components of it become progressively more and more complex. Like any platform, there are quirks and intricacies to grapple with and overcome as you learn the tool. I'm definitely going to be dabbling with Unreal soon to feel out my options and to play on some things I learned and wanted to play with while making this.
Not much to say other than that I've been out of the game for a while and needed to shake the rust off in more ways than one. Refreshing my memory with C#, structuring files, game logic and objects interacting is crucial in any larger project. Time was taken to get a basic grasp of the systems in Unity I had not used before, mentioned above. Of them, animations gave me the most trouble primarily as a result of a finicky pipeline from Blender to Unity. Most everything else was smooth and intuitive.
However, I'll say that Unity's prefab structure and level hierarchy felt like a double edged sword if I wasn't careful. It definitely requires a lot of thoughtful organization to keep things from becoming a complete mess. I did well enough that I could expand and polish this project if I wanted, but lessons were learned.
Audiovisual feedback is a ton of fun to create! Almost all that needs to be said there. Creating enough feedback to make basic, foundational actions entertaining on their own is something I consider central to making the tertiary gameplay fun by extension. Feedback is a huge part of that and it was great to finally flex that a little bit and explore different ways to create feedback for different actions. A particle effect here, foley sounds. If I'd made more durable enemies or perhaps minigun type armament, physics effects would've been a great way to add extra consistency and interest to the basic gameplay.
I had intended to get an enemy mech in the game as well but ran out of time unfortunately. That's a challenge for another day.
AI is another topic I've explored very minimally and it was enriching to get my feet wet. I'm looking forward to more in later projects.
Not a lot to say here due to how simple I kept the visuals just for the sake of efficiency. I tend to value animations over visual fidelity for creating believable machines and creatures so I put far more time into that. I'm looking forward to projects with more time so I can explore a little more artistic interest.
ROOM TO IMPROVE
I've learned a ton on this crash course project and I'm looking forward to coming projects that I've had on my mind for years. There's a ton of room to improve here too. My primary weakness on this project was composing objects together in useable ways, especially for inter-object actions. Methods for building individual objects and their behaviour are going to be a major focus on my next project.
I also very much need more practice with the audio systems in Unity, as those were a system I was unable to fully grasp as I worked and this directly limited the ambient sound design I was able to cobble together. I'll also need to improve my foley editing and adaptation for later work.
As always, my texturing work is one of my absolute weakest skills and one I need to really buckle down on and work to improve during my coming projects.
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