I’m someone who’s always fetishised about making a game. I think that’s a common dream among gamers. Making that game that you’ve always wanted to play, but when probed about it the dream is usually a vague idea along the lines of “an MMO version of whatever game I’m into at the time.”
Well I always wanted to make a platformer, and after playing WormHunter and a few other of the Ludum Dare games I noticed the Unity logo popping up an awful lot. So I figured I’d look into it.

I eagerly opened up the Unity site and read all about how they’re doing all this 2D stuff now. Sweet! Sounds like exactly what I want. I read that it only takes a “small amount of coding knowledge” Hmmm. I only have a small amount, are they underestimating how little I know? They use Javascript and C#, neither of which I knew. This put me off for about a week.
Then I decided to throw caution to the wind and dive in. Unity is only about a gig anyway. One of my friends tried convincing me to get UE4. But I was turned off by the subscription fee, the lack of things it easily exports to, and the fact that I don’t particularly need the 3D rendering prowess of Unreal Engine. It’s squandered on me. I just want to drift pixels around the screen.

First up I did Brackeys pong tutorial. Im not going to lie. When i first heard his voice I thought it was a piss take video and he was about to smear spaghetti on the screen. But it turns out he’s pretty cool! I followed along, although only barely comprehending the coding wizardry. I was instantly impressed with how simple it was to get a paddle on the screen moving. Adding gravity was also a sinch. Last time I encountered gravity was when my friend Matt was wrestling with Actionscript, building gravity from scratch and smashing his head against a wall because slopes are so much harder than they sound. In unity I got slopes going within seconds by just tilting the boxes or drawing my own hit lines.

I was surprised to find that C# looks exactly like the actionscript I was used to when I was a kid. Something familiar! Yay! Still 80% of what was said went over my head, and I wrestled with bad capitalization a lot, instantly breaking the script.

After I endured making pong I stepped into the real meat and potatoes of what I wanted to do. I was blown away by how crazy fast it was to create levels and have the character running around, literally done in minutes. Within another half hour I had Parallax scrolling going as well. This is seriously awesome. As a relative noob I managed to trail along and get things working.

If you’re a noob, I recommend you check out Unity. It’s not gonna scan your brain and instantly shit out the game you want, but it’s definitely fun to give a good crack. Also if you’re already a pro it can cut corners for you so instead of trying to figure out character controls you can get straight into developing new concepts.

As someone whose seen the sweat and tears that goes into building something from scratch I can appreciate the amount of work that’s gone into the free assets. At the same time, all these premade crutches doesn’t limit you to one prefab game. I’m pretty amped to finish up these tutorials and see what I can cook up.

Now I’m off to do some character concepts.