Throughout my personal and professional development, there is always the same question that pops into my head – “What should I be doing?”
In software development, that’s a tough call to make. But it’s usually a good idea to identify your ‘domain’ (what & where you’re working) and pick something that you feel you’ll be able to learn and use most efficiently.
The key word here is efficiency.
You can look all over the internet for opinions on game development, and what you should or should not be doing.
- You shouldn’t use a game editor because your game will be cookie cutter.
- You should only use C++, because that’s what the best games are made of.
- You should use Unreal instead of Unity because it’s better.
- You should use Unity instead of Unreal because it’s better.
- You should make all your own assets.
- You shouldn’t make any of your own assets.
Well… Here’s my opinion; Fuck ’em all.
The thing I’ve learned in software development, and the various projects I’ve worked on both in games and not in games, is that efficiency is key. Efficiency is the thing that is going to get your game done.
Efficiency usually also means lazy, but this has to be taken as the right kind of lazy.
Now, before I go into this I want to clarify a few things you should know about developing indy games either by yourself, or in a small team.
- You do need some kind of plan. Sit down and figure out a complete start to finish game. Add the rest of the shit in later. If you’re making an adventure game, make 1 complete adventure, then add the rest of them in later.
Same thing with puzzle games. Make 1 puzzle, then 2, and so on. This will make sure you have even a tiny completed work.
- Trends are there for a reason. It’s good to check out the latest blogs, youtube videos, sales charts, etc.. to see what is popular, and what makes a good game.
- Try to ignore hype. Making games isn’t very quick at the beginning, and you’re not going to make Skyrim on your own.
That said, I like efficiency and Unity allows me to do that. When I first got into game development, I believed whole-hearted that I should make every damn asset that goes into my game. And it was incredibly painful.
I consider myself reasonably good at software development, music, story telling, and design.
I am, however, a remarkably shitty artist. (You artists out there can keep reading, this applies to other fields of game making too. 😉 )
So then what? Get an artist to do it for you!
This is a fantastic idea if you have the money to do it, a design structure picked out, and can show your artist what they are making is supposed to look like. A friend of mine was working on a game, and paying an artist to do all the work, which looked fantastic. Unfortunately, he had a very particular style and stopped working around the 75% mark. So now, my friend had to try to find someone to emulate the artists work for the next 25%. Unfortunately the project was scrapped.
**Also, Friends working for free will flake out on you, I promise.
That said, the unity store has a TON of assets available. Sure, you can find the free stuff in a lot of crappy games, but they’ll also be great in your game. If you can pony out a few bucks to pay the artists and dev’s who made the assets, I’d recommend doing that.
The cool thing is, you can get all kinds of 3D assets from a lot of places on the internet and use them in Unity.
For non-coders out there, you’re going to have a bit harder time, and will have a learning curve getting things done.
Okay, so I’ve talked about being lazy. But what else makes Unity awesome?
Well, let me tell ya.
#1 – The developers of Unity keep it updated frequently, and are incredibly passionate about their product. I’ve worked with other game engines which are ‘neat’, but none that have the passion of the Unity Team.
#2 – The community is fantastic. Just take a look through the forums. Loads of people willing to help and share information.
#3 – Did I mention the Asset Store, and how easy it is to get things loaded into your project? Literally a few clicks away once you’re in the IDE.
#4 – Documentation and learning tools. OMG. It’s all over the place. The Unity forums and learning, Youtube, Stackoverflow, Pluralsite, Lynda, udacity, udemy, and on and on….
There are lot more things I can gush about, but those are the more important things to me. I’m not limited to simple mechanics, and Unity is being used for things that are WAY beyond what I’m doing.
One of the questions I’ve been asked a lot is, “What AAA games are made with Unity? I hear Unreal has more.”
Well, that’s probably true. One of the biggest names that I’m aware of is Hearthstone (Ya know.. Blizzard?) and at least 2 Bethesda games.
But my question is “Who cares?”
If you’re asking that question as a serious inquiry about deciding to use a game engine or not, you’re not working on a AAA title. You’re working on an indy game.
Want to know the list of indy games made with Unity? Most of them.
Here’s a gushy article about it.
So, there you have it. Why I think Unity is awesome.
…And now I’ve done what I usually scoff at, an opinion piece. Marvelous!