Hello. My name is Valentin, I am 14 years old and I am a game developer. As part of this article, I would like to talk about how a young person can start, continue and achieve some results in developing games using the engine Unity…
Since I have only my own experience, I will tell you about it. I live in a small town near Moscow and study in an ordinary high school. Well, in the middle, the proximity to Moscow washes away all the golden sand of the teaching staff, leaving us only light fractions of the muddy stream of Russian pedagogy. So, I study at a lower secondary school. So much so that a physical education teacher teaches us biology and chemistry (although it is clear that he prepares and is quite good), and in six months of study we passed only the first 4 paragraphs of physics, but I got distracted.
For the first time, I plunged into the wonderful world of programming in 10 years. I started with Scratch, and at first everything was fine – I made mini-games, I even created a full-fledged drawing. But then, because of the long “sitting” on Scratch, I was afraid to switch to “normal” programming languages - I did not understand how I could learn all those lines of code that people wrote on Youtube, and I just forgot about it, looking away colorful and so easy to understand Scratch. It’s one thing to cling colorful blocks to each other, and quite another to write white letters in a dark gray window. It lasted for over a year, until on New Year’s Eve my parents gave me the book “Programming in Python”, an illustrated guide for children. Then I gathered all my will into a fist and decided to take the next step in knowing the vast world of Gamdev. Note that I was already 12 years old then, and as for me, 12 years is the ideal age to start learning programming, because a child by this age already has the most basic knowledge to start. In the meantime, I was learning Python, I watched YouTube videos that talked about Unity, and how easy it is to make games with this engine. Who wouldn’t want to make their own game in 5 minutes from a YouTube video?
And then everything started spinning. Briefly about hardware and software. At the very beginning of my fast-paced career as a game developer, I used a Chinese Windows tablet bought at a nearby home appliance store – two cores, two gig of ram, 32 gig of flash. It was enough for two years, with the next update, Windows began to take up all available space and the system stopped loading. Then my father, from unknown bins, took out a Lenovo workstation – Core i5, 8 GB of RAM. But, in order to educate the spirit of the samurai, the Ubuntu distribution kit was installed as an operating system. In the future, this led to both the need to solve specific problems, and the opportunity to casually throw in the social circle: “Linux is not at all difficult …”. Of course it is difficult! When one and a half diggers are busy developing in Unity from Linux, and no one can help you figure out why a project with an ad unit from Google is not compiling!
Of course, I also wanted to play. Thank you very much Steam for giving this opportunity. On the existing Nvidia Quadro fx580 video card, Worlds of Warships ran at 17 fps in windowed mode, so over time, purely for development purposes, an NVidia GTX 1050Ti video card was purchased and fps rose to a comfortable 60. But then the already barely noticed linux audience this game was completely ignored, it worked only under proton 3 (this is an emulator from Steam), which was somewhat annoying. But I’m not an avid gamer, unlike many of my peers, and my level on Steam is zero. For me, playing a game is just a search for inspiration, a search for new ideas.
And so it so happened that when I finished off the book on Python, a new mathematician came to our school. He was not a simple mathematician, he was also a programmer, and was going to start a game development club at school. Upon learning of this, I immediately notified him of my small successes and achievements in programming, after which he willingly enrolled me in the circle. In the first lesson there were 20 people, and there he told us what we were going to study. The teacher was going to teach us the C ++ programming language first, and then C # – because the languages are similar, and, as expected, it would be easy to switch from one language to another. My father and I were a little embarrassed by the choice of such training tactics, but we resigned ourselves to it. Only two people came to the second lesson – me and another boy, with whom I, of course, became friends. We learned C ++ in stepik.org at the rate from the Yandex Academy (by the way, it is free, you can go through it yourself if you want). I remember how my friend and I arranged cubes and cylinders in Unity, and then flew around this “world”. After a couple of months of teaching, the teacher left our school, which, of course, I was not at all happy about, but I remain extremely grateful to him for the final impetus to a real acquaintance with Unity…
I didn’t start learning C # alone. On Instagram, I met a kid my age, and we decided to study together, watching a course on Youtube – “C # for the little and dumb”. It seemed to me then very funny jokes about thongs, but, seriously, the course is very easy to understand, so my compliments to the authors of this course. In the future, I met some more people, and we formed a group of like-minded people, but everyone had their own business and we parted.
Happy piggy bank
This project was done just under the impression of watching one video on Youtube, while I copied all the code, not understanding what I was doing. The game remained just a sketch, the only thing I could learn to work with a virtual joystick and understood how animations work in Unity.
By the way, I draw the graphics for all my games myself. Ever since childhood, I loved to draw various images of characters, locations. For this I use the ugee m708 graphic tablet and the wonderful Krita program. Earlier, when I still had a Chinese windows tablet, I drew in SAI with a mouse, and even comics were obtained, but time goes by and interests change. I can also model in 3D, I even modeled my tablet.
Look Out, Monsters!
My first symphony, a project that I have been doing for a little less than six months. This project gave me an understanding of what and how works in Unity, I began to understand the structure of the code, its logic. With it, I went from an empty project to publishing it on the Google Play shelf, and then blocking it for mismatching the rating, but then I was able to unblock it (and got the experience of communicating with Goggle technical support).
The essence of the game is to run around the map and, killing monsters, get coins, spending them on pumping weapons. The game is super difficult, I didn’t think about the balance then, which is why the players burned pretty well at the back point.
Probably the main problem in the development of this game was an error when compiling the project on Android. Because of this, the release of the game was postponed for a couple of months, and the error was found quite by accident: I was sitting one evening and watching videos on Youtube, and in one of the videos I deleted youtuber before building the game API Vulkan (which is needed to increase fps in 3D games), and I decided to do the same. And, lo and behold! Honestly, for me it still remains a mystery why this happened, because in other 2D projects everything was fine, even with Vulkan, but it worked – and already pleases. Then I was happy with my friend, like in American films, but when submitting documents for the Google Play Console, I grabbed a lock, lost $ 25, and generally lost heart. But then, on the advice of my father, I decided to make a second attempt and Google confirmed the documents after only a couple of days: /
Yes, the true truth is that all people are divided into those who do not make backups and those who already do. Look Out, Monsters had to be redone from scratch due to a couple of wrong moves. But now I have rsync for system copies to the backup HDD and repositories on github.com…
Also at this time on the Internet I became recognizable (conditionally) under the nickname Valter41, but then changed it to ValterGames. I got a logo that has undergone a number of changes:
Arena of the Died is my next project
This project could not reach the end, but I think that it can still be completed. The idea was that there is a field, two players and one goal – to kill the enemy. Difficulties began at the drawing stage – too much had to be drawn, as well as the creation of a character in Unity. Each character had to have different unique skills and abilities, which became an overwhelming task for me.
Protect the princess
Because of this project, I got the idea to write this article. This tower defense game where the main goal is to protect the princess. I have been developing this game for 4 months, but this is taking into account various trips to the camp, then to the grandmothers, then to the dacha. This project initially had similar graphics from Arena of the Died, but then I decided to draw in a vector to reduce the time spent on drawing graphics. There were also some problems with the development of the game: there is advertising in my game, but in order to connect it, I had to suffer so much, figuring out why the project was not compiling. I was able to solve the problem with AdMob by installing other versions of the SDK and JDK, different from those that came with the engine, and fix a couple of lines in the game files. There were also problems with the Google Play Games plugin, but everything worked out with the usual reinstallation of the plugin and now the game is on Google Play and is regularly updated!
This project was created within the framework of one GameJam, the theme of which was “one button”, and as a limit of 2 days to work. The result is a post-apocalyptic world where the player needs to shoot back from all sorts of monsters (yes, I have monsters in almost all games, I don’t know why). I was able to take 1st place and get a small award, which is very nice.
I had other projects that did not receive further development. But I will show you a few developments and sketches:
I will briefly share my plans: make a million dollars, buy a real saber, a red tie, a tailored suit, a bulldog puppy and rule the galaxy with my father. In fact, I still have to finish school, get a higher education and find a job. I would really like it to be in the development of games, since creating new worlds is an opportunity to release your imagination out! See you in new articles!