This escalated quickly. I started with a little tidy up… and ended up with a 3D character system! Big big big month! 🙂 This picture sums up a lot of it:
UI – Delete!
I started this month by working on the booking UI. I ended this month with a complete UI overhaul, and a much more stable game! 🙂
It rapidly reached a point where I couldn’t imagine how I wanted the game to work or look for the end user.
Enter Microsoft Paint. After arguing with many UX tools, and realising I’m too daft to learn them satisfactorily at speed, MS Paint came to the rescue. I used the Game UI Database for references, and revamped each element. It’s really helpful when considering how other games solve each puzzle I faced.
Then I used some assets from the wonderful Kenney, and made something that looked like a game! The only issue was my system was hung up on being reusable, and using the same few panels for everything.
Recyling is great, but this time, it made programming hard, because my prescriptive code had made things very rigid. It was sad seeing something simple like character selection for a match become hard work.
My solution was a deletion of the entire UI code, the folder, the lot. I redid everything from the ground up, but this time I was much more disciplined. Instead of trying to hit everything with the same metaphorical hammer, I thought about the user and what they would want to see frequently. This led to a much less menu-tastic approach, and the game now is much more of a toolbar-style game. The code is also much clearer, doesn’t rely on tasks every 5 seconds. It’s also nice that the game is actually not embarassing to look at.
Now that’s out the way, what did I do the rest of the month? In between working a lot, I vowed to solve one of the remaining problems with my proposed game. How the dickens a moron like me could have a good looking game with no 3D expertise.
I made a human head in blender a few times, and realised… I’m not likely to want to do hundreds of them. I luckily stumbled on my new lord and saviour, UMA2! It’s been used in some commercial games, and is open-source. Already I like it. I have seen this a few times and got scared when testing it; this time it clicked with a lot of tutorials from a wonderful person on YouTube called SecretAnorak.
I can’t understate how excited UMA has made me. In progress is a full-on character editor, saving wrestler’s appearances… all kinds of wacky brilliant stuff is now possible! 🙂 It’s a real toybox, and is very modular. It means I can reuse parts all over the place instead of making entire humans from scratch all the time. 🙂 It’s a treat to use. Much better than my tictac people at least. 🙂
Next month will be a mixture of things, likely finishing the character editor (so that it’s ready for players to enjoy too!) and then back to booking UI! Yes, I put that old chestnut to the side again, but I procrastinated so well this month that it was worth it.