Just completed the Unity 2D course

I recently finished the Unity2D course… what a journey it’s been!

I bought the course on Udemy in late 2018 believe it or not! I told myself I was going to finish off a web development course first before starting this, but with work and family taking up all my time, it was actually a 6 months later when I started it.

I instantly found I enjoyed this a lot more than the web development course. I was not a coder and don’t have a computer science degree or anything, but I did find that the groundwork in learning javascript in the web development course helped me with picking up the coding side.

I enjoyed the laid back teaching style of the Unity course and endeavoured to actually do the challenges set by Rick, rather than wait for the solution - there were perhaps a couple of times when I was really tired, where I went straight to the solution, but mostly I invested the time in actually doing the challenges.

I think the pacing of the course was realy good too - Number Wizard was probably my least favourite, but I appreciated what it was doing, in terms of getting the grounding in C# and Unity. I enjoyed the design and story writing elements of Text 101, and was excited about building a bonafide game in block breaker.

This was where I got a bit lost. I felt I was only just keeping up with the C# and Unity concepts, and wasn’t really understanding everything that we were doing. Work and family life caught up with me again, and it didn’t help that I only managed to get time to do a new lecture about once a week - I’d find I needed double the amount of time, as I’d have to rewatch the previous video too. I eventually stopped working on the course.

I don’t know how I got back into it, but I decided to pick it up again in May this year. I saw the Block Breaker module as one I just needed to get through and complete. Picking up a half-completed project after a year feels like a mega task, but once I got back into it, stuff came back.

I finished Block Breaker and moved onto Laser Defender, and this is where I really fell in love with game development. First, it was exactly the sort of game I wanted to create, and the feeling that I could actually build it was incredibly empowering. I soaked up the content, and all the spare time I got was spent on the course. As I went through the lecutres, I started deconstructing other 2D space shooters in my mind, I was fast developing an instinct for how the functions in other games worked, and knew now I had the knoweldge to design and code those features into the game. By the time I’d finished the module, I already had a feature backlog of over 30 items that I wanted to add.

Instead of moving on to the next module, I took some time out from the course to start implementing some of the features. Anything I didn’t know how to do, I looked up online and adapted to the game. I not only added stuff, I started altering and refactoring the original code, breaking out stuff into new methods, new classes, etc. I also added a story, background, a player shop, and started to learn about game art, building a few new graphics.

I spent a month in total, with about 10-15 hours per week. I got to the point where my code was starting to look like spaghetti, and I knew there had to be better ways of implementing the more advanced features. I realised I needed to increase my knowledge. I parked my Laser Defender project and picked up the course again.

The next module, Glitch Garden, was a bit of a comedown after Laser Defender. For me, this was more to do with the style of game rather than the module itself. I didn’t connect with in quite the same way. But the content was extremely useful, particualrly in teaching me about animations, cameras, UI elements and a much improved way of implementing a resource/purchase system than my hacky attempt in Laser Defender.

I also noticed that my Unity and coding knowledge had improved dramatically. Each challenge that was set, I knew almost instantly what to do. I also now got WHY the code was working. And, although I wasn’t inspired to personalise this game with different art and a different theme, I genuinely enjoyed designing and building the levels at the end, and tuning them to be just the right level of difficulty.

My 5-year old also took an interest in what I was doing at this point. At the end of Glitch Garden, he asked if I could build him a game, bascially a platformer, so I encouraged him to draw a screen from his game. He wanted a character who could run, jump, roll and kick enemies. Knowing what was coming, I gave a wry smile ‘Of course I can build you that!’

Tilevania is quite interesting as its architecture is a bit different to the other games on the course - the code didn’t seem quite as tight, though I wasn’t sure if this was down to the type of game, or the fact it hadn’t been recently ‘remastered’ like the other modules. Still, it was interesting to see different ways of doing things, and this module was the point where I had the confidence to start choosing different ways of doing things, and able to justify why. I found the tilemap and scrolling camera info to be really useful, and tilemap in particular I’ll be looking to bring into my Laser Defender project.

The boy has been keeping up with my progress on Tilevania, and is really excited that I’m building ‘his’ game. I presented the first four levels to him, and he spent an hour playing it in the IDE before the laptop battery ran out.

I’m really excited about improving on this too. Some new features, and some new art to really personalise it. All helped with the creative mind of a 5-year old, and a perfect test subject.

Looking back on the course now, here’s some tips and feedback on what I’ve seen:

  • Rick’s style and attitude is great. Take what he says about just trying stuff, making mistakes, and doing the challenges at face value - I can’t see how you can get the full value of this course if you don’t have the courage/will to stop the video and do it yourself
  • The same goes for taking your game forward yourself at the end of each module - doing this massively helped to increase and cement my knowledge.
  • If you’re getting bogged down in a particular part of the course, just get your head down, get through it, and see if the next module ignites your passion

As I came to the last few lectures of the coruse, I was really excited to finish and move on to the next part of my journey, but also felt genuinely sad that the course was nearly at an end.

So, what’s next on the learning journey? At this point it’s easy to go back and learn more about Unity and C#, and choose another course with more advanced projects. But now I really want to focus on creating some original game art assets, so I’m embarking on a course for that. I’m also now focussing on how to actually get games out there, adapting my existing skills in testing, publishing, monetising, supporting, marketing.

I’m also keen to delve into Unity’s own tutorials for bitesize learning.

But it’s bye for now for Rick, Ben and the Gamedev.tv team. I loved this course, and hope I’ll be back for others in the future. But right now, it’s time to spread my wings and get some other perspectives.

Thanks for helping me find my passion. Excellente!

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This was a very nice reading!

I suggest you look at how to write clean code, this is quite important if you are going to create your own projects, since you’ve been following someone else’s structure it truly didn’t matter, but now, starting from scratch, it’s an entirely different thing: organization is one of those things that deter a lot of people from developing their own games and something the 3D and 2D courses don’t cover (Sam does talks about this in the RPG course).

Here’s something I wrote on that, I heavily modified one of the games of the 3D course and ended up having a lot of issues due to poor organization, you can play the game, it’s pretty simple, but it’s a mess code wise.

Finally I highly suggest you keep visiting the forums and the discord community, you can meet a lot of great and people and helping others is a great way to enhance your knowledge. Hope to see you around!

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