Posts are in reverse chronological order. If you would like to start from the beginning, scroll to the bottom and join me on my game design journey.
May 7th, 2019
ALPHA DEVELOPMENT BUILD!
It seems almost incredible, the amount of work I was able to accomplish over the span of just under a month since my last post here... I've added more things than I can remember to be completely honest. 
In addition to quality of life elements such as a pause screen, menu, and tutorial, as well as streamlining some of the mechanics, I managed to:
-Polish my UI to a good degree, and add in build info (bottom right) as well as dynamic unit portraits (to the right of the mini map). I gutted my old button system in favor of one I had much more control over. The player needs a barracks in order to build astronauts, otherwise the unit button is grayed out. The cost of astronauts is reduced by 10 with an additional barracks too. When placing buildings buttons are grayed out to prevent issues too. 
-Create a 15 wave game mode that get progressively more difficult, as well as a more difficult end game mode, Insanity, for more experienced players. See the screenshots below for clarification on the differences in modes.
-Create 3 different enemy types for the player to battle against so the gameplay is less linear. There is the standard light enemy, a fast moving, fast shooting enemy, and a slow shooting, huge heavy hitter.
-Create models for each enemy type as well as new models for a few player structures and models for environment elements.
-Completely reinvent the visual look of the game.
-Almost completely revamped sound effects, as well as adding in about 6 different voice lines for astronauts because the one repeating over and over was getting annoying :)
and last but not certainly not least (and definitely taking the most time of all)
-Fix all the bugs...
The core game mode
Insanity: 1 astronaut, 1 barrack, and less than half the time per wave
This build of the game is also now available to download on itch.io at the following link:
I still have a bug or two to fix, but I think I've gotten to a point where the system is fun, and feels like a mostly complete thing, and that is all that I could have asked for. 
I came into this project eager to learn what it takes to create a real time strategy game, and boy has it been a ride. It has been rewarding to find out what I am capable of doing on my own as a game designer, and to experience a longer development period than I'm used to on my prototypes. I think that so far I've come out a better programmer, game designer, and artist for it. 

Bringing the game to this level of polish makes me want to take it even further, however, just to see where I can take it.

A burning enemy from the "Insanity" game mode

To get to this point, it has taken me a semester, roughly 3 months. I've developed it more or less completely on my own, barring the incredible feedback and playtesting from my incredible professors and peers at MICA.
April 10th, 2019
I've added some really key things into the game, as well as some important user interface updates!

There is a lot new here so I'm going to break it down one at a time.
Combat: Yes! Combat! After a bunch of hard work, I have a (mostly) working combat system where units and the new turret structure can be ordered to attack, and fire plasma balls at each other till' they explode! Charming!
Waves: At the top left corner, you can see the countdown timer, about to spawn a new wave of enemies from 4 corners of the map! Waves add more and more enemies until eventually you are practically overrun by a flood of them. I want to make some more changes to the system for the final.
Money Generators: I created a structure that passively generates income for the player.
UI Health Display and Unit Info: I added in some UI text that tells the player about the unit or structure they selected, including health information that changes color with the unit's health (green, yellow, and red).  I've also begun switching my button system over from being programatically generated to actual button objects in editor. This allows for more control over things like the next feature.
Locked Items: In order to purchase a unit, the player must now first build a barracks structure. 
Destruction and Game Over: This particular feature has been giving me the most grief bug wise. Right now, units and structures can be destroyed by enemies when their health reaches 0. Once all player units and structures are destroyed, the game resets.

As always, most of my time has been going into fixing the bugs that new features are causing... I will most likely need to trim back some on what I want to add in, at least for now :) Individual unit health bars will hopefully make their return soon, but for now I'll be using the UI info for health stats.
Also, as a minor change, I added text mesh pro into my game and my text is looking a million times better already.
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March 12th, 2019
More new and exciting things!
 Because of all of the experimenting I've been doing, I've decided built out a new scene for testing... Here are a few of the new features that I've managed to get into the game!
My new mini map utilizes an orthographic camera along with some textures that can only be picked up by that camera, childed to all units, structures, and items of importance in the game. All this is rendered onto a separate texture in my UI. 
I finally got unit spawning to work properly, and now all units created can be controlled and spawn out of the barracks. The Trails coming out of the units on the left are their attack range. Above them are their health bars. The combat system is still largely in the works, but so far Units can be killed, which is a start. The beginnings of enemy AI, and the financial system for the game are in the works as well.

Unit Health Bars

I created a basic system for spawning AI, and gave them pretty much everything my units have at the moment. Building and unit selection is now working really well too, and I added in a new selection graphic! I also have some new unit barks hooked up to both.

Reporting!

These bad boys can be picked up by my units, and give a small credit payout. Now that there is a way to make money in the system, I was able to flesh out some stuff like unit and structure cost. The player can't buy anything they can't afford now :)
So far, my enemies can't do much, but they can spawn like crazy!
February 19th, 2019
Its been a while, but I've been busy... 
I got a whole number of things into the game, polished others, and tweaked even more. I fixed the strange tiling on my projectors, so they now have a single, beautiful circle when a unit is selected. And that's just the beginning! 
As you can probably tell I changed the terrain quite a bit and added in some new textures.
I also programmed selection of units via: single click, shift click, and mouse drag. Still ironing out some kinks with the shift deselection, and with selecting buildings, but most everything works and works well.  
There is now a new mouse cursor in too, which changes depending on if you are hovering over a unit.
Big leaps were also made with building placement. 
I added in code to prevent the player placing the buildings anywhere: like on top of their units or floating in the mountains for example :)
I was able to add cancellation functionality, so if you decide you don't want to build a building you can press escape or right mouse button while placing to cancel. 
I also added in some new materials and functionality so that a ghost image of the building appears when placing, and changes color based on if your placement is good!
And what is this?!
I added in a button to spawn more units! It's actually giving me a surprising amount of trouble right now, because the units I spawn aren't registering on a UnitsOnScreen array I have set up. That means that drag selection isn't working on them right now.
Lastly, I created the beginnings of my resource system in the form of some glowy crystals, in true RTS fashion.
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February 3rd, 2019
Got my project onto Github so I can share between two different machines. I've never used Github before so this was all pretty new to me. This video from Brackeys really helped a lot!
I've used Unity teams in the past, but there is both a file size and team member limitation on it, so learning to use Github finally was great.​​​​​​​
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February 2nd, 2019
I managed to tilt the camera down while still being able to place buildings 1:1 on your cursor. That provided me with some surprising difficulty at first, but I changed the way I was doing my ray casting and it helped clear up the trouble. 
I also worked on the beginnings of my unit movement system. The cursor returns a vector 3 and animates when you right click in game! I'm currently trying to figure out  a way to manage building selection. I have the beginnings of it in there, but I got stuck on trying to use projectors as a bounding box when they get selected. I can't quite seem to get the shader working right. The projector is also tiling which isn't ideal.

This is a screenshot of the game right now. When you press the icon on the left, a building is instantiated at the cursor.

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February 1st, 2019
 I begin work on a project I have looked forward to doing for a long time... A 3D real time strategy game! I loved games like Command and Conquer, Starcraft 2, Rise of Nations, and many more since I was very young. To finally make one myself is really exciting! 
I was able to build up some terrain for my game using Unity's terrain system and some free textures from textures.com, as well as some free assets on the asset store. Using the terrain system was easier than I thought, and I managed to get something nice in about an hour.

I did a bunch of work coding in a camera with 4 directional movement, zoom, and border limits, only to find a plugin that does it better. That's how it is sometimes. 
I also made a simple 3D model to use as a placeholder while I create my building placement system. Buildings can be placed anywhere on the map right now, except for on top of each other. I whipped up a tiny sound effect for that in Bosca Ceoil really quick too. 

Can't put that there!

Lastly, I created a quick animating menu screen and dopped in some fade transitions through code, just for some early polish. I'ts so easy to want to do everything at once, but the best way to get things done is to just focus in on one problem at a time.
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