Indie Study: Week 1 – My PC Has Lupus

My first blog entry for my Independent Study for Fall 2013! With Travis Faas as my mentor, my plan with this course is to expand my knowledge with Unity3D, better familiarize myself with the software, and get practice/experience with setting up gameplay mechanics. My objective I set for myself is to make 4 games within this 16 week semester, so one game a month. The focus on each game is to make them run without bugs and to make them fun. I’m not an artist so I’m not going to focus on making the games look good unless I find myself far ahead of schedule, the goal is to make them play well.

This first month, my game is a side-scrolling shoot em up. Similar to games like Gradius, R-Type, and Vanguard. Yes, Vanguard for the Atari 2600, I’m old school! I found a good tutorial at the Infinite Ammo website on making a shoot em up in Unity. I’ve been going over it this week and feel like I’m ready to build my own version of the game this weekend. I wont be using a lot of my own code though since I’m not a programmer. Though, I will be altering and adding my own things to the game to not only make it my own game, but to show that I have an understanding of how to build the game. For example, this tutorial doesn’t have a title screen, score tracker, lives, and levels. Title screen shouldn’t be difficult to add, so I’ll go ahead and put that into my build first, and then continue with score and lives next week.

Off to a side tangent, I was side tracked for a whole day this week because a friend of mine and I were trying to figure out what’s wrong with my graphics card. A quick history recap, I have sent my video card in for an RMA twice so far. Once in January and another time in June. It has had issues with games like polygons exploding into different directions, destroying models and making terrain disappear. When I got it back the 2nd time, that issue was resolved but I noticed a new issue now.

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In some games, and in some programs like UDK and Photoshop, I will see these random blocks and scratches. It’s very annoying. These blocks and scratches will show up in almost a checkered pattern. We tried all sorts of things, and we have no clue what’s wrong. My friend who think’s he’s the PC equivalent to Dr. House has diagnosed my PC to having lupus. I hope I can get this issue resolved with Gigabyte tech support without sending the card back for another RMA because I’m tired of sending it back to them. Fortunately, this issue doesn’t seem to be affecting Unity3D. Though I am taking Mat Powers’s Advanced Game Course, so I’ll need to use UDK for that. Worst case scenario is I purchase a whole new GPU, one that’s NOT Gigabyte because I’m really getting tired of them.

Next week’s blog entry will be posted up no later than Wednesday since I’m leaving Thursday morning to go to Seattle for PAX Prime. After that, expect all Indie Study blog entries to be posted every Friday.