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the game design experience

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By Geoffrey Engelstein
By Curtiss Murphy: Speaker, Consultant, and Game Designer
Latest episodes
Jan. 8, 2018
I’m writing this post because a reference solution for how to create a Unity button that allows to “share on social” text and images, opening the default “pick a social” screen on mobile apps does not seem to be sufficiently indexed, so my colleague Matteo Bicocchi and I had to struggle in order to put together a complete solution. Here I just re-post information we found elsewhere (in different posts) together with a linear procedure, so I hope to save time for some of you reading 90% of the solution is simply getting this library unity-native-sharing from GitHub and following its setup instructions, in our case the only resulting call is: NativeShare.Share(I18n.T("SHARE_GRAFFITI_BODY"), mediaPath, null, I18n.T("SHARE_GRAFFITI_SUBJECT"), "image/jpg"); Before finding this simple solution we went through a nightmarish set of experiments that half worked, Android manifest conflicts and Android Studio bizzarries, all stuff that using the above plugin will spare you. The only case the plugin doesn’t cover is this: on IOS, Instagram by default does not appear among the apps with which you can share your image (it does by default on Android). But the integration to get also Instagram is below. Special handling for sharing to Instagram on IOS For solving the Instagram case we used a different “plugin” that you can deploy together with the one above; it is just a header and implementation (2 files) and a bridge call from Unity, of the kind if (Application.platform == RuntimePlatform.IPhonePlayer) { InstagramShare.PostToInstagram(I18n.T("SHARE_GRAFFITI_SUBJECT"), LocalScreenshot.EncodeToPNG()); } else { NativeShare.Share(I18n.T("SHARE_GRAFFITI_BODY"), mediaPath, null, I18n.T("SHARE_GRAFFITI_SUBJECT"), "image/jpg"); } Now this will still not work by default (you will be warned by XCode on run) because of a permission problem: canOpenURL: failed for URL: “instagram://app” – error: “This app is not allowed to query for scheme instagram” Again here is the solution, which is to edit the plist file in XCode. And below there is how to automate the plist change from Unity: put this code in a class saved in an Editor folder:  [PostProcessBuild]  public static void ChangeXcodePlist(BuildTarget buildTarget, string pathToBuiltProject)     {         if (buildTarget == BuildTarget.iOS)         {           [... other changes ...]             // Change value of CFBundleVersion in Xcode plist             PlistElementArray array = rootDict.CreateArray("LSApplicationQueriesSchemes");             array.AddString("instagram");                        // Write to file             File.WriteAllText(plistPath, plist.WriteToString());         }     } That’s all. So thank you so much to the solvers of the three problems above, and you should now have a complete solution. Follow me on Twitter where I post about game design, game development, Unity3d, applied / serious games.   The post How to get “share on social” in Unity appeared first on Design a Game.
Dec. 27, 2017
With Daniele Giardini we wrote our GOTY lists here. They are almost totally disjoint! The post My Games Of The Year 2017 appeared first on Design a Game.
Dec. 30, 2016
These are the games I recall playing for the first time in 2016 that I really liked. I often discussed them with Daniele Giardini, whose list also follows. The games are not in order of preference after the first two. We both give the first prize to Firewatch. We both were greatly disappointed by VA-11 […] The post Games loved in 2016 appeared first on Design a Game.
Sept. 22, 2016
F = (When you publish your Unity application or prototype in WebGL a problem that your testers or players may have is that while the browser is loading the application, no progress bar appears and so they may be tempted to reload the page again and so…  F() ). A simple fix to reassure them […] The post Is Unity WebGL loading? A simple loader appeared first on Design a Game.
Aug. 8, 2016
A first trailer for an idea for a game on football that is taking shape both in design and in development – see the dedicated page for info and the trailer. The post First Trailer for Football VooDoom: Will To Comeback appeared first on Design a Game.
March 3, 2016
Working with a no longer minuscule set of customers on applied games of a really wide spectrum of themes I’ve noticed in the early phases some misunderstanding that recur. In order to help both parties (game designers and field experts) to reach a common ground, I’ve set the misunderstandings in extreme and simplified form so you may use them as vaccine Also get the PDF here. Follow me on Twitter where I post about game design, game development, Unity3d 2D, HTML5, applied / serious games.   The post (Mis)Understanding Applied Game Design: Vaccine! appeared first on Design a Game.
Jan. 24, 2016
In this short post and video I try to discuss and clarify a few points about GameObject state in Unity with respect to game, scene and “runtime” scope. It is a bit more complex than one may understand initially, so bear with me a little. When you start developing scenes in Unity, it won’t take long before you start asking questions like: How can I get the same GameObject in different scenes? Why do static properties sometimes get reset across scenes? Why when I reload a scene I get duplicated objects which are meant to be singletons? How can I comply with the (highly practical) principle “Make the game runnable from every scene” when I have global instances from other scenes? Here are some answers. Here is the full schema I refer to: While MonoBehaviour’s  life-cycle is quite well documented e.g. both directly in Unity docs here and also by third parties e.g. here, how to handle GameObject’s persistence in and across scenes may be more obscure. So here are written (partial) answers to the questions above: How can I get the same GameObject in different scenes? Would be probably better to reword this as “how can I persist and share data across scenes” – and there are many ways to do that Why do static properties sometimes get reset across scenes? Only static properties which are GameObjects present in the scene will get reset (typically singletons). Other static properties will be preserved across the virtual machine. Why when I reload a scene I get duplicated objects which are meant to be singletons? That is because you marked those objects with DontDestroyOnLoad and created them (also) in other scenes. Create them via code (not in hierarchy) checking before their existence. How can I comply with the (highly practical) principle “Make the game runnable from every scene” when I have global instances from other scenes? This is best done just as explained above: create the global objects in every scene via code if they don’t already exist.   Unity Execution Order – from Unity documentation. If you are in need of learning some good patterns in software game development, a really nice book is Game Programming Patterns. Here are also 50 Tips for Working with Unity (Best Practices) which I reread from time to time, understanding progressively more and more of them (but still not all :D). Thanks to Daniele Giardini for some feedback on the state scheme above. Follow me on Twitter where I post about game design, game development, Unity3d 2D, HTML5, applied / serious games. The post Untangling GameObject State in Unity appeared first on Design a Game.
Dec. 27, 2015
This math puzzle was proposed on The Guardian: How to fill up the slots with the numbers from 1 to 9 and make the result 66? I proposed it to my kids, who are actually still too young to appreciate the algebraic solution. So I created a simple “brute force” explorer of the problem – here – and used to explore the possible solutions. Here is the complete Unity project. Play with it! The post A little Unity project to explore a math puzzle appeared first on Design a Game.
July 29, 2015
In this podcast Daniele Giardini and Pietro Polsinelli (myself) discuss story flow in games – and how game endings are told. We roam from The Witcher to Sunless Sea, crossing game genres. Hear us here: At the end of the podcast we read and discuss a quote from If Games Were Like Game Stories… My favourite moment from Papers, Please was when someone gave me a banner for a sports team named the Arstotzka Arskickers. I had a choice of whether to put it up on my wall, or not. Compared to all the other decisions… taking bribes, separating families, conspiring to take down the Arstotzkan government… this was a small and silly decision. I put it up on my wall, of course. But the reason this is so memorable to me, is because the game actively acknowledged this small act! A few people commented on the banner, some remarking it’s tacky, some cheering “Go Arskickers!” And then, of course, this decision bites me in the ass when the inspector comes by and tells me the decoration is against protocol, and fines me. Games and books quoted: The Witcher 2 The Witcher 3 Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman Bioshock Infinite Bioshock (one) Lord of the Rings Movies Dark Souls 80 Days Shadowrun Kardashian Hollywood Sunless Sea Flick Kick Football Legends Alessandro Baricco Papers, Please Football Drama   Follow me on Twitter where I post about game design, game development, Unity3d 2D, HTML5, applied games. The post Storytelling flow in videogames – DAG pod 23 appeared first on Design a Game.
April 7, 2015
I just published a video where I describe how to start modelling and developing a sport game, specifically football (soccer) in my case: In the following notes some motivation for the work and references from the video. What am I trying to do? I am creating a game on football (not American Football), called Football Drama: this game is supposedly the story of the coach in the context of a Football Manager like game. The latest version of Football Manager for smartphones has a cool game play: One of the first thing I did in Unity is search for a plugin that would handle the match play part. Given the number of plugins available in the Asset Store and the popularity of football, I was pretty sure that my only problem would be picking the best plugin. Wrong. I didn’t want to do this The only decent looking component I found is Soccer Project by “Astute Games”, which is ok but actually does nothing useful in my perspective, as it provides passive 3D models of players and little more. The are simply no plugins covering modelling, movement and AI for football games in the Asset Store. Maybe because “The barrier of entry on making a decent team sports game is really high.”, as they say in one of the few discussion of the theme indie & sports available online. The Simple Soccer example In chapter 4 of the book Programming Game AI by Example the author provides a nice implementation of a simple soccer game. I’ve downloaded the Java sources and made the sample run in my IDE. Here are some of the Java classes of this example: Movements are regulated by physics: Complete Java source code is here. Not what I want for a sport game This material is useful but what it is modelling is not football. seems more snooker to me . I want a simple grid with squares as players and a state handling framework, where the (hierarchical) state machine can easily be extended. Movement is not determined by physics – the right metaphor is not snooker. If you actually watch a football game, its a highly fractioned game of control and tactics, my reference for this development has been Cameroon vs. England (World Cup 1990): Physics plays a role on long shots, but I will model that using tweening (the wonderful DOTween library by Daniele Giardini). I will call the model I need Football Grid. Football Grid: The model The example is also using heavily inheritance to model all aspects of play. I instead will be happily mixing inheritance and composition, reducing inheritance to a minimum and modelling state with classes only when strictly necessary. A great book to learn about basic game programming patterns, if you are new to the topic is Game Programming Patterns. The three states of game play: paused, preparing play, in play: this is simply an enum. I used object hierarchy and modelling of states with class instances only when it is strictly useful, so e.g. in the case of a player state. Here are the classes of my model: Curve ball effects To get these effects you can simply tween (I use DOTween) the ball differently along the X and Y axis: More? Follow me on Twitter – I study game design, development (2D), applied games, and I post about progress on Football Drama. Unity components used Game Logic Grids DOTween Thank you! Image references “Association football 4-4-2 formation” by MaxDZ8, based on work from Mario Ortegon – self-made, original file from Mario Ortegon. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons – “Association football 4-3-3 formation” by Threner. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – The post Making a sport game in Unity: model & prototype appeared first on Design a Game.