Posts tagged ‘Dream Build Play’

Dream Build Play 2017 Dev Log #1

Yes, I’m late in getting started with this, but better late than never I guess. :\

I’m attempting to get a game that I’ve had on the back burner for a couple years completed for Microsoft’s new Dream Build Play competition using Unity and the relatively new Xbox Live Creators Program. Over the past week or so I’ve been looking into the Xbox Live functionality offered when using Unity and the results have been less than great.

It seems the documentation for integrating the functionality into Unity is not complete in the steps required. I posted the problem on the Unity Indie Dev Facebook page and after some back and forth with the awesome Simon Jackson we seem to have come up with a solution, which he recently released a blog post about.

The game I’m working on is one I’ve been kicking around for years, an online and local bot racing/battle game. I’m hoping to include some features that make it attractive – an editor for custom levels that can be shared between all players for infinite replayability, upgrading bots by using earnings from winning games, “awardments” (since XLCP games can’t have Xbox achievements), and leaderboards. If nothing else, I want to at least finally get a game out there. I’ve spent so many years helping others, writing books, and putting out samples that I’ve yet to get a game on a store as an indie game dev. 🙁 While all the things I’ve done have been rewarding it’s a goal I want to cross off my list.

The main work so far besides trying to get the Xbox Live functionality working has been setting up the skeleton of the game – menus & scenes, main game objects, etc. I do this with all my games. I really should make a package out of it to make things easier every time I start a new game, but I never seem to get around to it. It only takes about a half-hour each time, but with all the games I start I’ve wasted at least a dozen hours or two. 🙁 Here’s my typical folder structure:

Since this was a game that I’d started developing in XNA, I already had some existing content. The “Levels” and “Sprites” content were brought in from that game. There will be the standard levels that ship with the game and custom levels that players develop and will hopefully be able to share with other players. Those I’m hoping to store in the cloud using Azure (to score some bonus points in the DBP contest ;)).

Even before creating all this, I set about trying to get the Xbox Live login functionality to work. I’d tried getting it to work in a skeleton project and run into problems so I started a new project with a single scene and tried again. It’s supposedly as easy as dropping a couple of prefabs into a scene and it should just all magically work. That doesn’t seem to be the case however. The prefab tries to automatically sign me in, but fails:

After going through possibilities for a week, I stumbled across a step that I’d missed. This page talks about getting a new title set up in the Xbox Live system. The step where you push your game’s configuration to the test environment I read as something that you did if you’re testing an Xbox version of a game. Since what I’m working on is for the PC, for now, I’d skipped over it. Turns out it needs to be done for any platform using the Xbox Live functionality. :\ I did that and, viola:

So now on to figuring out Leaderboards! 🙂

Game Update and Other Stuff

Well, I didn’t quite get to where I wanted by the end of the month, but at least I made progress. The level editor is mostly done, although not fully tested. The “character” editor is probably 50% done. The plan is to get it completed for the next Dream Build Play, which I think is quite doable.

The squirrel did attack (see my previous post) and I opened up The Agency project when I realized the tileset I was using wasn’t going to work for all situations. I also took another look at Hero Engine to see how easy it was to work with. There’s a cute little bunny farming world that they set up to show how some things are done (quests, menus, area picking, etc.). I would need to read a lot more of the documentation to find out if it’s a truly viable solution for a spy game like I’ve been fooling around with, especially since it would be just me working on it at the moment.

A huge (to me at least) thing that’s happened since my last post is that I’m waiting for a phone interview to be set up with an actual game studio. I keep an eye out every once in a while for positions at various companies just to see how the industry is going and I happened to see positions for which I’m actually qualified! That’s extremely rare since I don’t do C++ anymore. I sent in my resume for a couple of positions and got a reply back from one. I’m hoping to hear back from the other as well but we’ll see. This would be life changing in that I’d have to move, but given my current job instability I’d have to seriously consider uprooting the family if they make me an offer that’s enough to support us, especially since it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. At least I’d have the hope of some potential for growth there. I’m slowly digging myself into a hole at my current job as we’re nowhere near current with technology.

I was excited to see that the local chapter of the IGDA is starting back up with a meeting Thursday. If you’re in the Baltimore area, come out and join in – 7 p.m. at The Green Turtle in Hunt Valley. There’s a ton of talent in the area and past meetings have been pretty awesome so I’m hoping for good stuff this year.

RPG book now on Kindle, slight Dream Build Play update

Looks like this has been available for a while, but in replying to a question on the App Hub forums, I noticed that my XNA RPG book is available on the Kindle. I thought that was pretty cool.

I should probably take the time to update it to XNA GS 4.0. Maybe after the Dream Build Play competition is over. 🙂

The developer level editor for my Dream Build Play entry is almost done. Progress has been slow as Real Life keeps interfering and it seems every time I look at the project I find something else that needs to be implemented. I’ll have Friday night free to myself so I should get a lot of work done. I ran into a problem with rotating sprites that’s rendering the level incorrectly, but that’s a minor issue. I’m anticipating have a test level up and running in the game by the end of the weekend. After that things should go fairly fast.

Still Alive

No, I’m not playing Portal. Despite my (not quite) best efforts I managed to suck at keeping this updated.

Couple of things:

  • Dream Build Play is back. I WILL enter something this year!
  • Jeromy Walsh has an XNA 4.0 Workshop coming up. I’ll be there and it’ll be good!
  • I recently finished some side work that I’m hoping to be able to share soon.
  • There are a couple of XNA 4.0 game programming books on the horizon by friends that I have to pimp:

Professional Windows Phone 7 Game Development

Complete XNA Game Studio 4.0