July Dev Diary: Slow and Steady

Is it that time again? It’s the last day of the month, that means I have been summoned to my little corner of the internet for my (slightly) regular monthly dev log. As always, I’ll discuss what I’ve been up to, what’s new & what’s next. Let’s begin…

Last Month

It’s been a pretty slow month, I seem to be running out of energy. I’ve made little progress on my game and kept fairly quiet on my socials. Honestly, I got lost working on one feature. There’s been some issues, but I’ve learned a few things that will hopefully help me moving forward.

Progress

It’s Alive…

The month started well, I had an idea to add some more character to the blob of jelly we have. That began here:

I spent the first few days of the month adding some wobbly eyes and a hat (that isn’t just stuck the head). I like the added movement, it doubles up as a distraction. I should have stopped there, but where there’s one hat there’s more!

My next brilliant idea was the Jell-o-maker aka character customisation. Before we get into that I had to set up a few things.

Screen Setup

You can’t edit the jelly without a menu and a customisation screen. So I quickly created a template start screen & added some simple buttons for what I need:

Obviously there’s plenty to do yet with the user interface, but it needed to work first. You may also notice there’s 3 sets of arrows, here we can change the hat, eyes and colour of the jelly!

Rainbow Jelly

Surely changing the colour of the jelly is the easiest place to start… Surprisingly, yes. I had a small problem at first due to the sprite being green:

Which meant changing the colour inside Unity looked weird. I had two options, many sprites with different colours. Alternatively, paint it white:

Okay, it looks weird now. But if I set the default colour back to green inside Unity, I can now change the colour with ease. I hand picked a few different colours and made sure we can cycle through:

The cool part is there’s plenty of room for expansion still. Who knows, in future updates I may add a new shape with 10 different colours!

Always watching…

The middle set of arrows allows us to change the eyes. I thought it would be a pretty boring task but 5 sets of eyes later I ended up enjoying it. They began simple at first, too simple. The first set was literally white circles with a black dot:

After that I scrapped them^ and tried again, this time we came up with angry eyes:

That cycle continued for a while… Eventually I ended up with around 20 different eyes, including the simple set I originally scrapped:

I may have got carried away, there’s only around 10 colour selections. Originally my aim was to make around 10 sets of eyes and 10 hats, which would have been good enough for version 1. Looks like there may be more!

If the hat fits…

The final customisation option allows you to change your hat, or choose to not wear a hat at all. This is where I stumbled a tad, I encountered my weakness, 2D art… So far I’ve too many ideas for hats, including:

  • Santa/elves hat
  • Chef hat
  • Services (police, nurse etc.)
  • Wizard & witches hat
  • Pirate hat
  • Beer cap

And many more, there’s plenty of hats to choose from & currently I’ve drawn up 2. So it’s going well! I’m unsure why I’m struggling so much to draw hats, considering I managed to get through the eyes without a problem. I’ve come to the conclusion, I don’t enjoy 2D art. My patience only stretches so far, and it’s fair to say I’m not great at it.

At least I can learn from this, after Jelly Toss there will be no more 2D games. I’ll stick to the low poly 3D graphics, I prefer working with 3D & feel like I can do more with it. I’ll save the 2D drawing for logos, icons & UI. Anyway, let’s get back to talking hats.

I started by cheating a little. I searched the asset store and found a small selection of hats ready to go. It was a free asset and a good starting point. Here’s a look at that if you’re interested:

https://assetstore.unity.com/packages/2d/textures-materials/fabric/hat-pack-by-gamertose-24594

This gave me a few hats to play with from the start, not all of them worked, some had to be altered to fit the style. But I’ve kept several hats and deleted the rest. Here’s me flicking through some of those:

Finally here’s the two hats I’ve created so far, the witches hat:

And the traffic cone:

They aren’t perfect but they will do, now there’s around 10 hats, 11 if you include no hat. It’s good, but because I took a little shortcut at the start, I feel I should create a few more just to balance things out. That’s the first job on my to-do list, after that I can finally start wrapping things up.

Speaking of wrapping up, before I end this post, let me explain my stupid reasoning for not posting on my socials this month. Besides the fact progress slowed down & I wasn’t feeling too good about it. The customisation stuff was fine, and I wanted to show it off. However, the screen itself is… Bad. Every button is a placeholder, the layout isn’t great, it’s just messy.

My plan was to add around 10 of each option, then work on making buttons/rest of the screen look good. Once I had a fancy screen I’d post a GIF. Sadly, I underestimated how much time/energy it takes making this stuff. The end result, silence. It comes with a silver lining, most of the imagery in this post is being shown for the first time! That doesn’t happen often…

Next Month

The goals stay the same, I’ll steal a line from last months dev log:

“JELLY TOSS DAMN IT!”

I got somewhat distracted adding random unplanned features. I do believe I have improved the game drastically, but it’s cost me another month with no release. I need to try stay focused and start tying things up. This month my main goal is to get all the UI finished, it’s been on the list for a while. I also need to start posting more again, I don’t want another quiet month.

Let’s see how it goes.

Until next time…

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