My First (Terrible) Unity 2D Side Scroller Game

Christmas of 2017? my husband gifted me this *cough* terrible book on learning how to C# with Unity game development at the same time. It sat on my shelf for a long time. I was just too busy with classes and real-life things. My husband kept poking me about creating cool games in Unity. Some background: he is really into old school homebrew Atari games and enjoys playing and making games (batari Basic) and has published a few popular titles in the homebrew collection. I’m not really into playing video games right now. If I do play video games, they are the non-violent, puzzle, or social variety games. So if I do continue my video game development with unity, it would probably fit into that genre and be something women would enjoy (without the blood/guts and man violence).

Let me discuss what I did with this book. Basically half of the book was attempting to teach C# to beginners so they could do cool stuff in Unity. Being an advanced C# programmer, I breezed through this book in a few hours and I did not do most of the practice experiences unless it involved playing around in Unity. The interesting part came towards the end of the book where I was actually importing packages (sprites and object art) into the Unity game. I have no idea how you make cool art for Unity 2D games. I’m a programmer. I can do cool stuff with the art once it is in the game. Basically most of the exercises were importing the custom art into the game and creating scripts to make interactive game play.

What I Learned

The Unity IDE (integrated development environment) UX is s*** and needs improvement. I guess I was so spoiled and accustomed to using Visual Studio that I expected a better user experience with the Unity IDE. Instead of using the default mono editor, I did my coding in Visual Studio. In the Unity product it was very difficult to be productive on a one screen 17-inch laptop monitor and be toggling between the workspace and scene/game views. The IDE also looked very boring and unappealing.

Art is King. Good games/projects rely on quality assets including art, music, and sound effects. Fortunately, there are many free and low-cost resources available to choose from, some with commerical licenses. I’m not an artist, so going forward in the future, this might be a struggle for me continuing my Unity projects. Challenge is good.

Local/Game Object scope variables = wizardry in programming. I thought it was rather bizarre that I had to manually attach my C# scripts to game objects and have to attach my public variables by dragging and dropping other game objects (etc..) in the boxes. I’d feel more comfortable doing that in code, but I guess “manual drag and drop assignment” is a way of life in Unity IDE.

The book cover art was in no way shape or form what the end game result of completing the said game/book exercises. I was deceived in buying the book based on the cover art. In reality, the book’s assets only came with bare bones flooring and sprite character. Very boring. All my character did was walk, jump, and fall through holes in the ground.

Demo

Ok, you can laugh at this. Here is a recording of my game after completing the entire book.

Code

I decided not to share my code project on GitHub in fear that I might be in violation of copyright of the Author’s original artwork assets, etc. for the book. So I decided to record my work and demo on the youtube video above. If you would like to download and see the book code and assets, you will need to follow the link at the top of the page to the publishing site, fill out a form, and you will be e-mailed a zip file or download location.

Kathleen has 15 yrs. experience analyzing business IT needs and engineering solutions in electric utilities, pharmaceutical, and internet industries with a variety of technologies. Kathleen's project experience has been diverse ranging from executing the business analysis “design phase” to hands-on implementation and testing of the IT solutions. She has also delivered technical training, user documentation, and developed new business processes for the solutions. Kathleen also has strengths in software development, programming, testing vendor applications, databases, creating business efficiency tools, and IT solutions with proficiency in technologies such as C# .NET applications, Visual Basic (VB.NET), SQL, Visual Studio, Oracle, XML, Microsoft applications, and more.