How to continue development while you’re sick

Just my luck…  I decide to startup a new project.  I get excited and get everything in order, standing up a new blog, figuring out how to publish to YouTube, verifying my resources, etc… and blam… The Flu hits…

I often think how convenient it would be to have time off from my normal job to jump-start a project.  Unfortunately, being sick with the flu isn’t conducive to a clear head and thought process with the fever, medication and general tiredness.  So, I tried to find a few things I could do to at least keep things moving forward, albeit at a slower pace.

First things first…  Take care of yourself.  Getting better is priority #1.  If I don’t get better, I don’t get back to writing code, designing the game, drawing models, etc…  So, I made sure that I took my meds, got plenty of rest and kept hydrated.

Enough with all that.  So, what did I do.

Videos

I decided to focus on things to continue my education in the space.  It used to be, when I was sick, I would stay home, bundled on the couch and watch daytime TV.  That alone often made me want to go back to work more quickly.  These days, I’ve replaced the daytime TV with watching YouTube videos.  Since I just started a new project, why not take the time to observe other videos on Unity game development, 3DSMax tutorials and continue looking for additional resource sites for the game.

So, here’s a small list of the videos and sites I found while I’ve been sick this last week.  Please keep in mind, that while the list is not extensive, it was enough to keep my interest up, and my knowledge growing.

3DSMax Learning Pagehttp://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/3ds-max/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/ENU/123112/files/3dsmax-learning-path-html.html

This site has links to a whole bunch of videos for 3DStudio Max.  In my case, I watched the first four sets of videos to refresh some of my knowledge with 3DSMax.  I’ve been a very long-time user of 3DS (since v1 of 3DS, before Max), but it has been several years since I’ve used it seriously.  These videos were really good.  There were many familiar concepts, and many, many new items that have been added to the program over the years, and seeing the new tools and capabilities really has me excited.

Unity Cookiehttp://cgcookie.com/unity/

I don’t remember how I stumbled on this site (probably following YouTube videos), but there are some good posts in here on setting up and importing from modelling packages, as well as many other Unity tutorials.  I’ve only watched a few videos, and while they are good, I found some of them to be a little more long winded than I would like.  I do prefer that over lack of explanation though.

In particular, here’s the link to modeling scale factor – http://cgcookie.com/unity/2013/11/05/unity-cookie-quick-tip-modeling-scale-factor/

and another for writing shaders – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-q2GxmLOIcw

Game Design

One of the good things about laying around is you have plenty of time to think.  So, I decided to put that time towards the game concept and design, including concepts like the audience, what was my goal / intention with the game, etc…  This proved to be a good way to pencil down an outline, but not too much more.  I had dreams of start-up screens, animations, and model designs.  This is good.  Because I know I had a fever though, I only took notes.  When I’m feeling better over the next day or so, I’ll convert those notes into the beginning of a game proposal that I can present in one of my next posts.

Anyways… back to bed.  I’m starting to feel better, but that doesn’t mean I’m feeling good yet.  Thanks for your patience.

 

Tools of the Trade

Before I get started, I’m going to go through a few of the tools I may use during this project. While most of these are tools that cost money, almost everyone of them has a free alternative. I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford these tools, but there are many who are less fortunate, so where I can, I’ll suggest an alternate tool to complete a job.

Tools I have or plan to use:

Unity 3D Links – 3D Game Engine / Toolkit

Unity3D – http://unity3d.com

There is both a free version and a PRO version. While many, many things can be done with the free version, the PRO version includes some advanced graphics options, and the ability to use some more advanced features across platforms (i.e. networking on Android)

World Machine – World building Software

Home Page: http://www.world-machine.com/

There is a free version that is limited in size, and a full version where the height-map is not limited.

BMFont – Bitmap Font Generation Software

Download: http://www.angelcode.com/products/bmfont/

BMFont importing into NGUI: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ni7TfMPWq5M

Great tool, and best of all it’s free.

NGUI – GUI add-on for Unity3D

Homepage: http://www.tasharen.com/?page_id=140

Download: Unity App Store http://u3d.as/content/tasharen-entertainment/ngui-next-gen-ui/2vh

There is a free version to try things out, and supposedly Unity 4.5 (or 4.6) will have much of this built in. Current verison I’m using is Unity3D version 4.3.4

Microsoft Azure – Cloud Storage and Services

Homepage: https://manage.windowsazure.com

Azure SDK: https://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/develop/net/

Almost free to use, and I’m not sure I’ll use it fulltime. I’ve used it in the past for hosting my websites so I don’t have to keep a server running at home. This service is always getting cheaper…

VisualStudio.com – TFS or GIT Source Control / Project Tracking

Homepage: http://www.visualstudio.com

Free for most people and groups of developers less than five.

3D Studio Max 2014 – Autodesk 3D Modelling Software

Homepage: http://www.autodesk.com/products/autodesk-3ds-max/overview

Expensive… Blender is probably one of your best alternatives. I’ve just been using this package for a while, and I’m familiar with it. With Unity, many of the models can also be acquired through the asset store for not too much money depending on what you’re going for.

Adobe Photoshop / Illustrator – Image editing and creation software

Homepage: http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop.html?sdid=JTGIQ

There are many alternatives. For me, I consider these the best in their class and continue to use them for game development as well as photography, etc…

Notepad2

Homepage: http://www.flos-freeware.ch/notepad2.html

Free. Great alternative to NotePad. Makes a great basic text editor.

UnityVS

Homepage: http://unityvs.com

I only recently acquired this one. It is not necessary, but it does make the transition between Unity and Visual Studio a bit better. If you’re using the built-in Mono development environment for Unity, you won’t need this.

 

I hope this helps. If you have any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll try to answer it.