Dev Log: New Space Wars Game, Trying Photon Networking

With the month of May behind me, I am fully immersed in Unity Networking. The month taught me that multiplayer game making is possible, but incredibly slow and frustrating. Many hours of potential coding were spent staring at the screen, reading the same tutorials and still not getting this old dog brain to learn new trick. In the end a game was made. Not perfect, not polished, but it worked! We played it in my school game club after school program and the kids loved it. Maybe it was because they didn’t have to do their homework and I don’t let them play Minecraft, but they seemed to enjoy blowing each others spaceships up and crashing into planets. The whole experience made me think that having some form of networking is needed in most future games, so the month of June will be partly devoted to that. But I’m also working on something else…

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My goal this month is getting a SpaceWars 2 remake up and running in Unity. (Above is a clip from the Unity version). Its been a crazy journey to get here, but the ridiculous thing is that I began learning Unity so that I could make this game better. I wrote the original SpaceWars 2 remake in Javascript using ThreeJs but quickly found that the whole thing wouldn’t come close to a compiled game in terms of frame rate when supporting the massive battles I had planned.

The game supported a pretty good amount of ships at a time and it includes turrets, capital ships, bases, as well as systems damage where if you take hits you potentially lose engine power, shooting ability, shields etc. A lot of complicated javascript! The ai wasn’t horrible either. But I am sure I’ve learned something in the last year in terms of game design.

Additionally, I want the big space battles to be able to include friends. Have buddies join the fight with you as a squadron in a giant battle. I think the idea could be lots of fun. Sort of Gratuitous Space Battles where you are one of the little fighters getting destroyed…

As for the networking component, I think I am going to try something new and move from the Unity native networking to the Photon network. The free version allows for 20 players and it handles a lot of the server hosting so we won’t run into the troubles of hosting servers on player computers.