shawn's blog

Managing Assets

Posted in Other, Unity by Shawn on January 31, 2012

So, this past weekend was the Global Game Jam. I jammed up in the Philadelphia area, and it was definitely very fun. I do have plans to actually continue this, and the project is currently online here on GitHub. Fun stuff, and I can’t wait to jam again, potentially in June.

Speaking of jamming, a big thing for most people there, are the methods of collaboration. Not everyone needs to work together. Someone from the jam I attended work on a game alone, but did a really awesome job. My group took advantage of the Unity’s offer for letting free licenses use the pro version of Unity. Someone at the jam had set up the Asset Server, so we were able to share our projects that way. Very awesome indeed. I’ve heard of people using the Asset Server, and loving it, but I have also heard the opposite, were people feel as if this thing is a waste of time. I finally got to use it, and now I get to form a much better opinion.

Let’s talk about the positives that I found in my short time with the server. One was the speed. It was very *very* fast to use. The fact that it is fully integrated helps tenfold and makes the process much easier. Simply open the window (if you don’t have it tabbed), add files and commit them. This allowed me to do collaborate with my other members quite easily. I could definitely see why people would use the Asset Server.

It wasn’t all roses however. There are a number of reasons why I wouldn’t use the Asset Server for major projects. The Asset Server is fully integrated with Unity 3D. And that seems to be it. And I did search (not for too long, I will admit), but I didn’t really find anything that would lead me to believe otherwise. The install of Unity comes with MonoDevelop. However, Unity 3D doesn’t use MonoDevelop for anything regarding merges, changes, logs, etc. Yes, it does have it’s own history viewer, but the one with MonoDevelop acted much better when I used it. Actually, despite the complaints that people have against MonoDevelop, I really do like the changes that I found. In regards to version control, MD read the directory that my project was it, and found that I was using Git. Because of this, MD was able to allow me to view a number of different things, including logs, changes, blames, etc. Even funnier, and I guess potentially unsettling that information such as this is easily shared, was that m Gravatar icon show up when I was looking through the commits and changes. I do wonder how another vcs would integrate with MonoDevelop, but it’s out of the box interactions with Git was rather impressive. I’m not at my laptop right now, but I do also think I remember a history tree of my files/commits.

The asset sever, again doesn’t integrate itself well outside of Unity (from what I can find), which isn’t good if you’re using some sort of project management system to manage your files. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m currently using Redmine to manage my work. Redmine, and things like it, are great for keeping me organized, and I’m sure getting it to work well with the Asset Server would require me to develop a set of slick skills, ones that I’m a bit too distracted to learn at the moment.

But again, along the lines of integration, with Git/Redmine, I can add/commit/push my files to a remote repo. I can also tag files related to certain task/issues that I have open. For example, I can create task #210: Bug fix for Squarebots. Once I finish that task, in my git commit message, I can close the task. This would allow others (if I were working with others), to see in Redmine, “Oh, this task that Shawn was working on is now closed. Let me now do x, y, z”. Yes, you can do this in person, text message, email, etc, but the less time you have to spend doing such, the faster production can potentially be, especially if people aren’t working in the same location. Fun stuff!

So, what’s this all mean with the Asset Server? Basically, that the level of integration outside of Unity seems to be very non-existent. Personally, I don’t think it would fly for me, as I like to keep things organized and enjoy fully utilizing project management tools to help me get work done.  Not to say that you need that, but it has certainly helped me get work done, stay organized, etc. My brain is cluttered enough as it is, and it’s nice to put a piece of it somewhere…..figuratively.

But that’s it for now.  I could go into more details and such, and of course, this is all my opinion, AND I plan to do some more research on this! For now, the Asset Sever doesn’t look like a better option than using an external vcs.

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Game Jam Weekend

Posted in Other, Tone Def, Unity by Shawn on January 27, 2012

So that fancy Global Game Jam is today until some time on Sunday. I’m most likely going, and will try to do my best to be useful to someone this time. Last year, I wound up floating around quite a bit for the weekend, making some music here and there, then making an awkward game on the last day. This also means that I’ll need to put Tone Def on the side this weekend, and focus on what ever I wind up working on. Knowing me, I’ll still bounce around a lot this year. Last years theme was extinction; I hope to see something much more quirky this year. Something like donuts or hubcaps.

I’ve also finally downloaded the Unity 3.5 beta, and have upgraded Tone Def to this version. The first version of the 3.5 beta was too troublesome for me, and one of the main reasons I was looking to get into it was for the “Flash in a Flash” contest. Exporting to flash was a pain for me, and there are a number of things that I just can’t do for Tone Def & Flash, without major overhauls. Basically, since coroutines cannot be used for Flash exports, and I use them all over the place, a lot would have to be rewritten. I’m actually pretty sure that only two scripts have an Update() of some kind, not counting the scripts that extend from extend from a specific class.

One very nice thing about 3.5 is version control for basic license users. I have to admit that I was using the free version of Unity, and using Git for everything. Everything. And for the most part, it worked. I was able to push my repo online without problems. I could even ‘git reset –hard’ to blow away changes, or revert to an earlier version of the project. Git -dfx worked as well, and actually help me downgrade a project that I didn’t mean to upgrade. So, yay Git?

Back to Tone Def….I really wanted to push for a February 1st release date, but with the Game Jam this weekend, this does not seem like a possibility. I may need to push back to the 6th, since that should give me an entire weekend to lock myself somewhere and only work on the game until it makes me smile on the inside and out. Whatever that means.

But that’s it for now. Here’s to good jamming for everyone participating in this year’s game jam, and to those who have already started!

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Finished Soon?

Posted in Tone Def by Shawn on January 24, 2012

So, this past weekend, I managed to take care of a bunch of task that I had sitting around, but couldn’t do, due to lack of a laptop.

New instruments, new sounds, new art, new enemy types, new music, and the beginnings of the final boss! Exciting right?

Right now, I really do want to have this finished, latest by February 1st. That date depends of if I am attending the Global Game Jam, and how much work I accomplish over the course of this week. Lately, life has asked me to do a bunch of other things not directly related to game development. In addition to that, and my lack of computer, I feel as if I do not work hard enough on my games. Now, this could be the case, or I could be hard on myself. It’s most likely the former. So, here I go with more work! Who needs sleep anyway? Most living things, apparently…..

But back to game stuff. The remaining task involve finishing a song & 1/2, as well as finishing the very odd boss. Well, it’s odd for this game. Curious? Maybe I’ll talk about it at a later point in time. At the rate I make music, I may not be able to finish this as soon as I want, but then again, I shouldn’t rush things and sacrifice the quality of the project.

After I finish this, the plan is to get back to work on Mr. Condyle’s Escape. It’s been quite some time since I worked on that, but I really should continue it, unless I can find a good reason not to. There is that other project, MossHawk, which I have put on the side indefinitely. I do plan to return to it, but that game would need a lot more development time that most of my other projects at its current scope.

But that’s it for now. If I don’t update between now and the first, it’s because I’m mad at work, trying to put together something I think is good. We’ll see!

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