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Monday, 31 March 2014

Making Videogames for Toddlers with Unity

Four months ago I started to work in Mofables, an experienced company in making apps for kids. As a developer I have learnt a couple of things that I wish I would have known few months ago. Everything comes down to one sentence:

"An adult testing an app for kids is like an human testing food for dogs"

So there it is the secret. Test your app! Test it as much as you can. Your own kids or relatives are not enough. You need to be able to reach as many kids as possible because you will find out things you would never imagine.

 Testing "Shadows" with kids in the preschool. Proud developer :)

The video above is the final test of the app Shadows. During the first tests we discovered many problems in the app. That is why at the end, kids were playing the game without trouble, and more importantly having fun!. The two more important factors when developing games for kids are: Usability and Entertainment. Here are some examples of important aspects you should keep in mind.   

Friday, 28 March 2014

How to use Lerp in Unity. Like a BOSS.

Hello there!

I heard you want to make videogames. I know you want to make GOOD videogames. Am I right? Then keep reading. =)

Lerp stands for Linear Interpolation. The meaning of it is very simple: you have 2 numbers and you need to find some value in the middle.

This is a LERP example with two points. It is not that bad :)

Let's see how it works. Usually Lerp has 3 parameters. Lets see some example:

// Example values
value1 = 10;
value2 = 20;
result = Mathf.Lerp(value1, value2, 0.5f);
// result == 15

What is so great about Lerp is that it can be used with pretty much anything! Vectors, Rotations (Quaternions), even Colors!

I made an small example where you can see different effects that can be achieved using different kinds of Lerp:

Monday, 24 March 2014

How to Create a Replayable Videogame

There is no secret that the gap between AAA and Indie titles is getting bigger and bigger. The video games with the most incredible budgets achieve greater audio-visual experience, but unfortunately its gameplay and story can run dry after few hours. On the other hand there are plenty of small pieces of art created by small teams that provide hours and hours of entertainment.

How is that possible?

There can be some explanations. Some could say that large video game companies are not really interested in long titles, people will not buy Assassins Creed 3 if they are still playing Assassins Creed 2. Others would say that they simply cannot, their game will not be successful as the mainstream public don't care about this kind of things.

But many people care about replayability, mainly Indie Developers.

Or so it was until now...

Ken Levine, proud creator of the Bioshock saga, gave a very interesting speech in the previous GDC. In his own words, "The problem with narrative is that you sort of have to keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. That gets time consuming. That gets expensive. And you're devoting years and years of your life to this one sort of big moment". He also said that "You ship the game, and it comes out, and people play the game and it's 12 hours long and people have a great experience and you see cosplayers and fans for years like that, but you don't have that constant engagement with the audience."

Ken's games are recognized for its oriniginality. They are also awesome.

The problem he points out is that games have been "moviefied". Games stories are kept secret until the premiere. They need to protect that only and single story because it is the heart and soul of the product. If it gets filtered, you are done. Very often movies that came out of video games have just been big fiascos, it is normal to expect that happens the other way around. 

Video games are not books, video games are much more.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Unity 5 - The Golden Age of Indie Games.

Time has come.

I have been wondering about this for some time. "I need a blog... I NEED a blog...". Truth is that it can be hard to find something worth to write about. Something that will take great importance in your life for a long time...

Unity just made my life easier. With the announce in the GDC of the version number 5 of the engine, Unity Technologies shows the world that it is worth to invest your time and effort in a project with future.

Unity 5 new material shaders. Brought to you by a nun statue.


So... what is new in this version? As you probably know already, the new version of unity will more powerful and faster, both inside the games and the editor. On the top of that there is a huge list of improvements that you can see in the video:

  Unity 5 promotional video. Some hot shit.

Now I would like to focus on the two items I consider the most important of the list. It is just a dream come true to see the two biggest limitations of the engine disappear in the near future.