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Zombie Bash Progress

A topic by evoelise created Aug 27, 2017 Views: 231 Replies: 6
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So our 2 person team, my son and I started a day later on this and have just finished our second day. 

First day we came up with 3 ideas - which when put to the focus group (mum and siblings) surprisingly all scored near similar scores. We discounted one idea as it would take too much development for the game AI. So it was really a toss up between the other two ideas; we went with "Zombie Bash" and the other game idea "Shatter" is up here on this forum in case anyone is stuck for ideas.

We're both learning Unity and having never used it before it's taking a while to get up to speed for us both. Seems like Unity really wants to work in "its own way" and trying to be more flexible with it isn't easy for beginners, so we've had to rework a lot of early code to be "Unity Friendly"; there's probably ways to get to work the way we wanted but as we're short of time we don't have the luxury to experiment.  All that said we have finally got our zombies moving in the game - cue cries of "It's Alive! It's Alive!".

I have also shelved my idea of writing the main game code in C++ as the interfacing to C# for Unity would just slow us down too much when debugging. So it's now all in C#. I'm happy with that as just learning Unity will be a win for me. 

We have recruited a couple of artists to draw us some backdrops for the game as it'll need many of them, it helps to have younger brothers. They have agreed to be paid in Overwatch Loot boxes :)

Here's the first draft of the backdrops for the first 2 levels:

Tomorrow we're working on player movement and animation and collision detection.

Having fun and learning lots so far...


I am also having fun watching your devlog, best devlog so far =)


Day 3 of the build and we have the player movement completed. The player and the zombies all move around as they should but currently don't interact. We've started coding on that but not completed it.

We decided to code the majority on the game in a library, this just exposes a few objects (Game, Player, Zombies) that we use Unity to visualise. This allows us to set up unit tests on the game library to allow us to test as we go. But Unity is continuing to hobble us; I took a download of a new version of Unity this morning and now I can't load the project so I'm stuck just using Visual Studio & can't run the actual game now at all but I can run unit tests to check things are working. Meanwhile Jack can't get any of the unit tests to run on his Visual Studio, something in Unity seems to be preventing his copy seeing any tests, despite the fact we're using the same VS solution and projects.  

So I'm finding Unity pretty frustrating to use at the moment, I'm unsure if it's just because I'm unfamiliar with it or if it really does "straight-jacket" you and stops you developing code in the way you want to. Normally we could spend some time working out these issues with the development tools - but for the Game Jam we don't have the luxury of time so we have to live with it. Maybe next time we'll use XNA and do everything in Visual Studio?

Anyway, hopefully by early tomorrow we should be killing zombies...


Day 4 of the build and much to our surprise we have a playable game - sort of...

There's only one level at the moment and only one zombie type but we should address that tomorrow and add additional levels and two new monster types.

There's still a lot of finish off but our Kanban board now has most tasks on the right hand side.

It also turns out that Jack is quite good at the game whilst I am rubbish, just Zombie fodder.

Submitted (1 edit)

I've chosen to believe that your game is made of balloons. But seriously, learning a new engine while making a jam game is great. It can be a pain, like you've found out, but you learn so much in such a short time. I'd attribute most of my gamemaker skills to game jam participation lol. It's good you're keeping stuff organized btw. I just write a todo list for my jam games at the end of the day. Although, when you're working in a group, I guess keeping everything extra organized is important.

Anyway, looks like your game is coming along well!


Day 4 of the build and fingers-crossed the main development is now done. We'd planned to complete main development today and just leave the final day for writing levels and tuning them and finessing the game play. We had a bit of a crunch today and broke our rule of only working 9 to 6 and had an extra 2 hours today just to ensure we were good for tomorrow.

It's interesting just how different working on a GameJam is to my day to day development work is. I normally work with "low-level" code & messaging and can spend days or weeks on just one issue. With the GameJam I find we're swapping constantly between lots of issues and there has to be constant communication between the two of us. I can say version control has been invaluable and allowed us to work on the same pieces of code – merge changes when we are both done. Same with JIRA, by being rather anal with this we’ve ensure that neither of us has missed or forgotten anything.

We’ve finally managed to get Unity to “behave” for the both of us; again, maybe because my day to day work is low-level is why I find the “high-level-ness” of Unity to be restrictive. Still we’re getting to learn it now; with what we have learnt I can look at the code and know that if we were to do this again we’d do a lot of it differently.

The art work done by Jack’s younger brothers has been great – MS Paint can be used to make some very cool stuff. Tom in particular has been a star and produced 19 of the backdrops.

So tomorrow we start building the levels and tuning them.

As a teaser this is the background to the final level – I post it here as it’s likely few players will ever be able to get that far into the game.

Submitted (1 edit) (+2)

Day 5 and it's completed and we just hit the button to submit the game.

What a final day - there were a few last minute bugs we had to sort out. But most of today has been level design, play testing and ensuring that the levels are actually playable. 

96 man hours of work, 301 version control commits and 68 Jira issues/tasks and bugs.

I will post more tomorrow about our experiences once my brain has cooled down. But it was fun (I think) :)