The Road From GameDev.tv Student to Kickstarter and Launching a Full Studio

The Road From GameDev.tv Student to Kickstarter and Launching a Full Studio

Hi folks, I’m Jordan Heaton, the founder of Skjöld Game Studio (currently working on Battle Siege Royale) and I wanted to share my journey from a first-time programmer just learning on GameDev.tv to launching a full-blown Kickstarter campaign (GOING ON NOW)! The journey has been incredible, and I’ve made a lot of friends and colleagues along the way. So many people have been instrumental in getting me to where I’m at and I want to offer what I have learned about venturing into the indie game industry with the intentions of making games for a living. I still have so much to learn but being a business owner already helped me apply a lot of what I know to build a budding and eventually blossoming studio. One piece of advice that has stuck with me is “If you do the hard things first the rest will be easy.” It’s something Ben says a lot in the course, and I find it to be true in nearly every facet of life. I have a background in level design and 3D modelling, but rather than start with a bunch of beautiful visuals and build the programming around that, I decided to take […]

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Introducing Character Creation!: Part 2

Introducing Character Creation!: Part 2

Welcome back to character creation! This is part 2 of my blog series, which I call, “Introducing Character Creation!”. In the previous blog, we left off at step 3, and now we’ll start this blog at step 4! Step 4: Draw Sample Character Designs This is where we draw various designs of our character, review them, and decide which one we like best. Usually, we draw a few character designs, but sometimes, we can end up drawing many more. Be patient, and have fun! You can draw the designs in a sketchbook and scan them into your computer, or you can use an electronic pen tablet and design software. Personally, I like to use my sketchbook. I draw a very rough sketch, scan it into my computer, and then, I edit and finish my designs with my pen tablet. My favorite digital drawing software programs, which I use for this process, are Krita and Adobe Photoshop. Step 5: Draw Character Turn-Around Sheets A turn-around sheet shows the character from the front, back, right-side, and left-side. If you have details from other angles, you can draw the character partially turned so those details are visible. Traditionally, characters are drawn in a […]

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Introducing Character Creation!: Part 1

Introducing Character Creation!: Part 1

Some of the big animation and video game companies have employees that focus just on character creation! It’s a very important, irreplaceable facet of video game and animation production! Character creation has different phases and I’m going to introduce you to some of them. In this blog series, “Introducing Character Creation!”, I cover some of the basic character creation techniques used in the video game and animation industries. There is more to character creation than I can cover, so what I’m presenting here is just an overview of the character creation process. You may also do these steps in a different order and that’s OK. Do them in the order that suits you best. Step 1: Find Inspiration First of all, let’s find our inspiration! Some of us don’t know where to start, so we need a little inspiration. Go out somewhere and look for inspiration! We can find inspiration all around us! Some of us get inspired by a walk through the woods (Disclaimer: Watch out for bears and stick to the walk paths). You can find inspiration walking through a mall or during a trip to the game arcade, and sometimes you will find your inspiration in your […]

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Farewell Unity Certification Course!

Farewell Unity Certification Course!

Today we have taken the Unity Certification course out of the marketplace on Udemy. It’s had a long run and been loved by many, so we are sad to see it go. The original Unity Certification Program was released in April 2016. It aimed to prove your Unity proficiency to potential employers. At the time, there was no way to prepare for the exam, but I prepared for it best I could. I ended up being one of the first Certified Developers in Europe (I’ve still got the T-Shirt to prove it). The result was the first course to systematically take you through the syllabus. In 2018, Unity has been expanding and adapting their certification programs to tailor to more specific job roles in the video game industry. However, we cannot continue to create courses for their certifications. Firstly, the number of courses is too much for our small team. Secondly, Unity themselves are creating excellent courseware that didn’t exist before. We now feel that certification candidates have more options available to them. If you are a student on the course already, don’t worry, we will continue to answer Q&A for at least the next 6 months. If you are […]

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Unity Student To Game Developer To Udemy Instructor

Unity Student To Game Developer To Udemy Instructor

One of our favourite parts of the day is hearing from you folks, and there’s a ton of places that can happen – email, Udemy DMs, Facebook, Twitter, the forum, reviews etc. A few weeks back we got the following awesome message of thanks… I just wanted to say thank you for the Unity (and Unreal.. and Blender!) courses you’ve made – since taking your original Unity course, I’ve become a freelance/indie game developer – I’ve released one game and am working on another (unannounced) project for the same company. I’m also about to release my third Udemy course! Your course helped me switch from being a (junior) software developer to working in the games industry with enough knowledge to share with others – so thank you! Jenny Delighted, and intrigued to hear more, we reached out to Jenny. Below she shares her GameDev.tv journey. What’s your background? I used to be a theoretical physicist (in quantum information) and did not particularly enjoy programming! After leaving physics, I decided to look into coding again – its logic appealed to me – and this time found I really liked it. Growing up, I always wanted to be an astronaut or physicist; […]

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The World Needs More Web App Developers

The World Needs More Web App Developers

Despite the huge global reach of the web, web technologies are rarely considered as an alternative to native apps. Traditionally web apps are slow, feel non-native, don’t work offline, and yield poor re-engagement. Developers assume that native apps and games are required to serve mobile users. They create apps that are large to download, when only a fraction of that data is needed to delight the user. So they develop for iOS and Android and the “walled gardens” of the app stores take 30% of their revenue, and slow down the Software Development LifeCycle. 1000s of new apps are released every day, making it hard to stand-out. Additionally users rarely keep new apps so reach is very low. Technology Background Back in 2015, Googler Alex Russell and his partner Frances Berriman coined the term “Progressive Web Apps” or PWAs. Since then Google have been driving the required technologies forward. In March 2018 Apple added “service workers” to Safari on iOS, meaning that all modern mobile devices can benefit from fast and offline-capable web apps. This was a pivotal moment in the future of web apps, what’s more they are coming to desktop in 2018. A PWA is simply a website […]

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this vs gameObject in Unity

A common cause of confusion is the difference between this and gameObject in Unity code. this is the current component, so for example if inside Player.cs then Destroy(this) would destroy the Player component, but not the game object in the scene of hierarchy. gameObject is the current game object. So in the example of a Player game object, with a Player.cs component script added then Destroy(gameObject) would delete the entire game object from the scene and hierarchy, not just the Player component. I hope this helps

Unity Scriptable Objects for shared state

Unity Scriptable Objects for shared state

Unity has a rarely used feature known as Scriptable Objects. These are essentially very light weight components, allowing one to edit them in the editor, set pre-defined states, and place them in components as required. Instead of inheriting from MonoBehavior, inherit from ScriptableObjects. ScriptableObjects do not have all of the same states that Monobehaviors do, they can be validated, but do not have the Update/Start/Etc methods required by MonoBehavior. Materials are actually Scriptable Objects, along with several other components in the Unity Architecture. One of the simplest uses of Scriptable Objects is that of a shared state. Let’s say that you have a score that many different objects need to know in the game. There are basically 3 ways that you can do that: use a static object or Singleton, use a single component that keeps the state, or use scriptable objects. Static Interfaces are not well supported in Unity. If one changes the code, Unity cannot hot swap the state. They can change the entire system, but it can sometimes be unclear what in the system can change things. The also suffer from a difficulty in testing individual components. For instance, what happens if you have a score board, […]

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Creating Unreal Engine UI with UMG and C++

Creating Unreal Engine UI with UMG and C++

In this post I’m going to assume you’re already familiar with the Blueprint tools for UMG (Unreals UI framework). These are definitely the best way to go about designing you interfaces. Who wants to be doing that in C++? But there are good reasons to be using C++ for the logic driving your UI: version-ability, performance or just preference. How can we seamlessly bind our clean, performant C++ to the beautiful UI design created by the editor? This post outlines the tips and tricks I’ve learnt. Basic setup The first thing I suggest you do: make a C++ parent class, it can be empty to begin with but you’ll need to derive from UUserWidget. Then we can go along and re-parent the Blueprint widget to this C++ class. If this seems familiar, good. It’s very common to setup a Blueprint child with a C++ parent. It allows us to put a designer friendly skin on a C++ core. That’s what we’re doing here after all, just as we might with an Actor or Pawn. Creating a Blueprint Widget from C++ You may not want to load you widgets from C++. This is a task commonly accomplished in the Level Blueprint. […]

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Making a Unity Screen Saver

Making a Unity Screen Saver

For the last few months, I have been fascinated with Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster that he launched in to space. I was fascinated so much I even created a website, http://www.whereisroadster.com, which tracks said roadster in it’s travels through space. I watched the video that SpaceX released showing video of the car traveling in Earth orbit for several hours. In that process, I decided that I wanted to make a simulation of what the Roadster would look like, and in the end I decided I wanted to make a screen saver that would show where the Tesla Roadster is in space at any one time, and show it to the user. In the end, I developed a simulation in Unity that looks something like this: This simulation captured my attention, but I wanted to figure out how to make it in to a screen saver. In the end I ended up releasing this to the Unity Asset Store, but I wanted to give you at least the basics of what is required. The first thing is that your application must be able to run completely on it’s own. This means no inputs, setting up the screen resolution, etc. Secondly, add […]

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