Trent Polack's site for cats, games, game development, and undeniably powerful sociological insight all with a healthy dose of narcissism.
Status Update and I Want Unity So Bad
Published on January 21, 2009 By mittens In Game Developers

It's been a while since I've just written a generic sort of site entry, but this seemed like a fantastic time to do just that. First, I want to thank everyone for all the awesome responses I got on the site, IRC, Twitter, and other mediums to my last entry. That was actually intended to be a useful piece to serve as advice to people looking to get into the game industry but I got carried away with my personal history as I started writing it and just rode that inspiration. I'll write up a proper piece on general advice on how to get into the game industry at some point in the future.

I'm still plugging away on my iPhone project on a daily (or near-daily) basis. I'm having a bit of trouble actually getting to work on the game as a result of deficiencies of the engine I'm using. If the engine I'm using doesn't provide an abundance of tools and scripts for game development then I feel compelled to add in some of the features that I'm certain I will need at some point in my game's development so, at this point, that endeavor is occupying the entirety of my development time. One of the things which interested me the most about the Oolong Engine was how it appeared to offer an abundance of features while still allowing a lot of room for a developer to customize his/her use of the engine. At this point I'm convinced that while the engine does have a solid feature set, there is nothing that really ties one aspect of the engine together with the rest; for instance, being that it's an engine for a touch screen-based platform I would have expected somewhat rigorous support for touch-screen input and picking within a 2D/3D scene. But alas, no such thing seems to exist. It does appear to be under heavy development but given the amount of development I do in a given day at work I like the time I spend with my side-projects to be as focused on core game design and game programming as possible.

That said, I do absolutely love not only my MacBook but also OS X and the development environment that the iPhone SDK and xcode provide. While the IDE is nowhere near the level of polish present in Microsoft Visual Studio, it's still a tremendously useful and functional programming environment. I'm also continually impressed by the capabilities and ease of development for the iPhone/iPod Touch as a platform. It's been a fascinating change from PC development and my XNA projects (which, C# aside, is a very PC-like platform).

I'm so impressed by the iPhone/iPod Touch as a gaming platform that I'm seriously considering putting some (or all, depending on the success or lack thereof) of the money from my first game towards an Unity 3D and iPhone license. Granted, I have absolutely no idea when my first game will hit the App Store (or even what that game will be), but I can dream. Everything I've seen from Unity has me endlessly impressed and I'd absolutely love to get a license for it at some point but it is, right now, a bit out of my price range. Especially given the impulse purchase of the MacBook. If anyone has used Unity for either Mac or the iPhone I'd love to hear some impressions. I also noticed that GarageGames has released a SKU of their Torque Game Engine for the iPhone; the license seems to be more expensive than their past engine releases though, which is kind of confusing. I always thought of GarageGames as offering low-priced alternatives to indies and the price point of iTGE is only $100 less than the indie license of Unity 3D along with its iPhone publishing license. And, from what I've seen, Unity seems to be a far more capable and thorough toolset.

Speaking of such things, is anyone doing the Global Game Jam at the end of the month? I'm still figuring out whether I'm going to head to the Detroit chapter of the thing.

Finally, since I don't believe I've thrown out a plug for these guys yet, Idle Thumbs is the best gaming podcast around. It's surprisingly hard to find gaming podcasts whose speakers have the abilities to move beyond the kind of tired, trite rhetoric you'd get from a typical IGN or Gamespot article without coming off as pretentious or, quite simply, boring. Idle Thumbs manages to do that in a way that I've only seen the Games for Windows podcast successfully do back before it ended months ago. Give it a listen.

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