Gaming Your Way

May contain nuts.

I need teh codes lolz

Anyone who hangs around Flash boards for any length of time will see a pattern ( Usually around school holidays ) of script kiddies turning up, asking a million lazy questions, telling you that in spite of a lack of knowledge right now they're going to see their project through 'cause it's the best idea ever ( It's like Mario, but with guns. And tits. And rpg elements. And zombies ), that if you can just help them with the character select screen the rest of the game will be all but done, and how much can you earn via mochi again ?

I just like to push back on my rocking chair, spit out some of ma there chewing tobacky onto ma porch and grin like a hog that found the shit.

Tweening a zelda sprite isn't going to produce the best game ever ( From the best idea ever ).

So look at me now, I'm playing with Unity3D and I don't know what the hell I'm doing. I'm guessing it's not far away from the Unity equivalent of tweening a zelda sprite and yet I'm really confident about turning out a complete game fairly ( Relatively ) soon-ish.
Unity has it's quirks, and the javascript code is no as3 ( All those posts bitching about as3 being a pain in the ass, well it is, until you get a couple of games out of the way, then it becomes as natural as yawning in meetings ) but... already, 6 days into the trial, I have no desire to go back to making games in Flash again.
To me it's like going back to as1 and publishing for F7 only, it's such a step backward that it holds no appeal at all.

Now hopefully I'm not too much of an idiot to release I can just up and leave Flash. Unity may not be the pot at the end of the rainbow, for all the very lovely demos there still aren't a lot of complete games, which does ring some alarm bells, and perhaps it is a world of difference between having a nice mesh with some physics running on it all at 60 fps in your browser and making that full game ( The gulf between tweening zelda and making a game could be huge ) but... fuck me it's so good.

I've never been a Flash evangelist. I think a recent post I made on was the first time I've ever really bitched about what Adobe are doing ( And that was in the light of the windows release of Unity in comparison with the upgrade cost to CS4 ).
Basically I couldn't care less. I do like using Flash, but it's just a means to an end, it's a way for me to make games that can generate an income, a tool to do a job.
I'm not passionate about it.
I am passionate about making cool games though, albeit doing that within business constraints ( It is my job, so I can't just go off and do some GBA homebrew just for the hell of it ), and Unity seems to be far and away the best solution to that.
( I'm so glad I've not spent money upgrading to cs4, which is quite an indictment really seeing how I'm professional Flash game developer )

As a quick update to X++, nGFX was sick last week ( Well he was in bed with his nan, and that's pretty fucking sick ! Thank you ) so he's behind on things which means we're a little bit behind on where we want to be, although it'll be in selling limbo for a while even when it's done so I think the next update may just be a "Look it's live, tell us how much you love it" post.


Comments (16) -

  • valyard

    3/25/2009 9:26:23 AM |

    I'm looking at Unity now as a platform for iPhone development and for my Best MMO Ever game development. heh. So, how do you think, is it worth?

  • Squize

    3/25/2009 9:40:46 AM |

    I think it's worth getting the demo version and knocking the hell out of that for 30 days to see what you think

    Chris over at kill5 is working on an iphone game using Unity,
    He's managed to turn that around a lot quicker than if he was coding in Objective-C, so in terms of hours saved it looks like it can pay for itself.

    Hopefully I'll be able to persuade him to post here so you can hear it more first hand.

  • oos

    3/25/2009 10:44:23 AM |

    About cs4.. damn it´s bad. I´m using it at work and it crashes 20+ times a day, honestly. I´m so aggrevated by that, but I don´t know what to do... Gotta compile those flas.

    Looking forward to seeing some unity-stuff!!

  • John Cotterell

    3/25/2009 11:42:12 AM |

    I'm curious to know if you're going to play with C# at all. I'd be very tempted, though I remember someone saying that javascript runs super-fast in unity so there's not much difference between the two.

    If I ever develop for the I-phone, this is how I would do it. I'm really hoping there's a way I can develop a project on the PC version, and publish on a borrowed mac.

    You still coming out to play on friday?


  • ickydime

    3/25/2009 2:48:20 PM |

    My only complaint about Unity3D right now is penetration.  It hard to jump ships to something that doesn't reach out to the entire web community... or even a fraction for that matter.

    Altho companies such as Three Melons seam to be doing alright (using both Flash and Unity3D):

  • Jeff Fulton

    3/25/2009 4:38:12 PM |


    If someone (maybe one of us) makes a killer app, then they will come. The limitation of the SWF platform when it comes to anything other that 2.5D is going to be a very important factor moving forward. I think if Macromedia had not been absorbed into Adobe, we would have seen a full 3D engine in the SWF platform by now.

    Unity Looks sweet, and having been one of those who bought a few Objective C books and was startled by the complexity, I think it can make a splash as a cross platform game development tool.

  • Squize

    3/25/2009 10:07:15 PM |

    Even just the word Unity is catnip to us Flash kids :)

    oos ( Hi mate ) I've heard there's nothing but problems with it like you've said. I code actionscript in Flex 'cause the Flash IDE just sucks big time for coding, and just use Flash for laying out assets / tweens etc.
    There's no way I'm going to spend that much money on a buggy piece of software that offers so little in return.
    Hopefully I'll have some Unity goodness to show soon. The things you take for granted in Flash are a silly amount of work in Unity, so I've spent ages just fading our logo in and out in the preloader.

    Hey John ( Yeah still up for this Friday, Chris and Elliot are going to have it too ). I've got a meeting lunch time and then I aim to be straight down the pub after that, so hopefully a 2 o'clock kick off if you're up for it.
    As to the scripting stuff, apparently it doesn't matter what you use, it all compiles down the same ( That's why there Javascript is the fastest version available ), so javascript is no worse in terms of performance than C# or Boo, and they actually seem to favour it ( So it's not like Director, where you look for js examples and everything useful is in Lingo still ).

    Icky, Jeff has taken the answer out of my head and typed it up. The windows port of Unity was actually a bigger deal for them than us, with the head guy saying he expected the user base to go up by a third on the first day of release.
    With all this new blood the killer games will start coming through. I know it may sound silly but it may also be because it's a victim of it's own success.
    If you go to the forums the world and his dog all seem to be developing for the iPhone ( In UnityLand the iPhone is the same as RPGs for Flash, it seems like a lot of people who don't have a clue what they're doing are trying to jump on that bandwagon ), so a load of energy is being directed there and less for web based titles.
    Without the iPhone muddying the waters on Windows and the huge core base of web savy devs, I don't think it'll be long before those sexy games start coming through, and you only need a couple on somewhere like miniclip and you've got 10 million people installing the player.

  • Richard Davey

    3/25/2009 11:29:01 PM |

    I love the look of Unity, I really do - the editor approach, the physics, the integration. It just ticks all the boxes in my little geek head. But I know for a fact I won't be developing games in it for quite some time to come. I spent years working with 3D game development packages, and the sheer amount of work required to create a decent 3D game is insane. Even if you can model well (you lucky sod), can you animate well? Can you texture well? Are your shader skills up to scratch? How's your 3D coding skills?

    While I'm sure Unity does its best to take away a lot of the painful work of creating 3D games from you, I doubt for a second it can remove it all.

    I know you can use it to create 2D games too, but then it begs the question - why bother? Unless you need the extreme speed or some of the visual sex that it packs as standard, I don't personally see the benefit of doing it in Unity (disclaimer: I'm talking about building specifically web games here, if you were making a PC/Mac download title then sure, the AIR vs. Unity route suddenly becomes much muddier).

    So I'm left thinking that it looks great, and I'd love to have time to just sit and play with it - but commercially it's not viable enough yet (not long though I admit), and asset-wise it's a whole other league of art skills required to produce anything not looking shit. These things worry a little indie like me :)

  • 8bitjeff

    3/26/2009 2:31:45 AM |

    Squize, by the way, this post on the script kiddies is remarkable close to the Skript Kitty video Steve is about to post on our site featuring our take on the little bastards (and part of my first ever punk rock song written about kitties - the feline kind - and Flash.  (See, great minds do think a like)  It also features the 4K Contest in an interesting way...

  • tonypa

    3/26/2009 2:01:25 PM |

    If you ignore iPhone madness for now (my personal experience is that its not worth the trouble and most people banging the iPhone as goldmine have no idea what they are talking about), how are you going to earn any money with Unity3D? By making standalone games and trying to sell those somehow yourself? I dont see how Unity3D web games would get you the cash atm, unless you do pure contract work. We may not like the way Flash games market works but there surely are several ways to make a living with those.

  • chrisError

    3/26/2009 2:12:05 PM |

    thanks for the link, wish I had waited and put up a more impressive demo now :)

    For the record, today I did something VERY exciting. First of all I have had to demo a car racing engine for a client on the iphone. I achieved this, with a lovely high poly model of a real world car and some nice physics in a few hours. However the bit that really excited me is that in order to show a colleague who was out of office the progress made, I took my iphone Unity project took it into 'normal' Unity, swapped the Input checks to look for keyboard presses and not accelerometer, and then deployed to a Unity Web Player version. And it just worked. Same code, deployed to multiple platforms. Lush.

    "I dont see how Unity3D web games would get you the cash atm, unless you do pure contract work. "

    yup. that's basically it. I have never earned a penny from advertising in Flash games, so as long as I can show the advantage of Unity to my clients, then there's no change to the business model. Also as I run my own, admitedly small, portal there is nothing stopping my creating Unity Web Player games and selling advertising campaigns around them.


  • Squize

    3/26/2009 3:09:08 PM |

    Rich I had the same reservations as you mate, in that if people expect Halo in their browser then you need to supply Halo, and that's going to cost.

    But after saying that, it all depends on what you do. Yeah the next Gears is going to cost a silly amount of money, but Blurst are turning out really nice games without breaking the bank and / or going mental with the assets.
    You can buy a lot of 3d models online for the same price as a couple of hours of a good artists time.
    A good quality medium to large as3 game takes a ton of time and money too, even a personal project.

    Jeff, I'm sure I caught a glimpse of script kitty in your last vidcast :)

    Tony I'm in a lucky position right now, in that I have no work on ( Aside from finishing X, but there's nothing for me to do with it right now ) plus after killing myself for the first 3 months this year I've actually got some cash [ Owed to me, it never seems to be actually in my account ], so I can take a couple of weeks to play with Unity and see how viable it is.
    My current thoughts are that in the slightly longer term doing what Chris has planned, and offering it as a client solution. I think that's going to be quite hard work, I remember clients resistance to making a F8 game over an F7 one back in the day.
    The one main plus is that clients are very visual. I think if I had 3/4 Unity games as a showcase then winning them over would be a lot easier ( Plus being able to throw in the iphone port ).

    In the shorter term I'm thinking of just trying to make a simple little community around the first game and see how that goes. Like I said, I'm lucky in that Unity game #1 doesn't have to make money ( Although I wouldn't turn it down ) so I can get a lot of the mistakes and kinks in the pipeline out of the way before trying to sell this as an actual service.

    It may even be the case that what I'm playing with is actually quite shit, and I'm just blinded by the fact that I've got 3D objects moving around with 60+ fps, and it isn't anything more than a tweened zelda sprite :)

  • jason

    3/26/2009 4:09:46 PM |

    @tonypa: You can make money with Unity as easily as anything else with some creative business models. Think of all the Facebook games that earn crazy money without Mochi or sponsorships. Think of games on lone sites that make crazy money (Travian comes to mind) without Facebook or Flash.

    I think eventually we'll see embedded ads and even sponsorships for Unity games when it reaches the necessary critical mass. Sites like Miniclip and Kongregate are rumored to be adding Unity games to the mix in the future, so it's on the way.

    But, until then, money can definitely be made. Where there's a will, there's a way, right? :)

  • tonypa

    3/26/2009 9:10:20 PM |

    jason, which are those Facebook games that earn crazy money and perhaps you have some information about how much they earn and how. See if I google for "Facebook games", all I see are same Flash games I see on every other portal.

  • jason

    3/27/2009 3:01:50 PM |

    tonypa, check out Battle Stations (at last report, was earning $40k per month), Pet Society (haven't seen earnings but it's got 5.8 million daily active users, 2nd most popular app on Facebook), and Mob Wars. That last one isn't a Flash game, but it still rakes in the cash; it was rumored at one point to be earning $1 million per month.

    I think they all use microtransactions along with some ads and maybe APC models. There's no reason we can't do the same, even off of Facebook. :)

  • jason

    3/27/2009 3:05:03 PM |

    Sorry, APC. Pfft!

    I meant PPA, "pay per action" which is essentially being paid to get your users to fill out surveys, etc.

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