Monday, September 30, 2013

Lucidity Log 2: God Save the Queen

Save functionality was another feature that I was excited to work on, though I became way less enthusiastic as time went on. I already knew about player prefs in unity but I wanted to experiment with different methods of saving data. One of the first methods I tried was an XML Serializer script which I found on the unity wiki. It worked but took a while to figure out. Eventually it proved too unreliabe and my tech lead Justin recommended a unity plugin. I took a look at it but it didn't allow for specific data saving. It only allowed for saving a whole state of the game. Eventually I decided to stop making things hard for myself and just use player prefs, a decision that I am very glad that I made.

Picture of player placeholder and a red placeholder save point.

Lucidity Log 1: Getting Things to Move

My first Task for Lucidity was to make the player controller script. I was glad and also slightly surprised that I received such an important task. I started off by giving the capsule that was my place holder for the player model a character controller component. This was important because the player needed to be able to move smoothly on a surface but also need gravity so I didn't use a collider or rigidbody. At the time we were using Trello to handle tasks. Functionality that had to be included with this script was:
  • Forward and Backward Movement.
  • Strafing.
  • Rotating.
  • Jumping. 
I only had a few problems with rotation but otherwise all the other features came pretty easily. The problems with rotation came from a miscommunication about how the player was going to be controlled.I thought the player rotation was to be controlled with keys when it was supposed to be controlled with the mouse. Thankfully that eventually got worked out.

Picture of the player place holder in the basement level.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What is an RPG anyways?

When I was young I had never played a western role playing game. I had never played an Elder Scrolls game or Fable or Fallout. The RPGs that I grew up with were Pokemon and Mario RPGs. At the time I didn't know them as RPGs I just knew that I liked them. I first became aware of the term RPG after playing Fallout 3. It was a game the likes I had never played before. Fallout 3 had an open world that allowed your character to do whatever you wanted them to. You could do quests, you could explore, customize your character or murder everyone on sight. The Fallout 3 world was your oyster. I bring all of this up because I think the term RPG describes something that the majority of  video game "RPG"s don't actually have, and that is Role Playing. The game that was inspiration for all modern RPGs is a Pen and Paper RPG called Dungeons and Dragons. Dungeons and Dragons was the very first RPG and the reason that we call RPGs, "RPG"s today. In Dungeons and Dragons you play a custom made character. The player defines their story, stats, race and abilities and then during the game the player plays the Role of that character acting and speaking as if they were that character. That is the reason that D&D was called a Role Playing game. Not because of the mechanics of the game but because players would act out their own characters. I doesn't make sense to me why we would call Pokemon an RPG when the player doesn't act out or give their character their own story. I think that what happened in the gaming industry is that when developers were making their games based off pen and paper games they categorized their games under the RPG genre even though the only thing they had in common were the mechanics and not actually the reason for which RPGs were named. Games that can actually be called true RPGs are games like Fallout or Skyrim where you can give your character back story and choose their race and class. I propose that we need to rename the RPG genre. The term RPG is misleading and Inaccurate.