OK, quick bit of news right now. After a long time thinking about this issue, I've decided to give Unity a try to see if it will handle the kind of things I want to achieve with the game. In order to kickstart that evaluation, I'm going to be participating in this weekends Ludum Dare 48hr game "competition".
I'm interested in Unity because I was becoming aware that time required to finish the game was going to be far longer if I had to handle both AI and graphics programming at the same time. The workload alone on the AI is quite significant (its a complex game with complex characters). So my thinking is that if I use Unity I can actually focus on the AI part of the game and leave the graphics code to someone else.
So what does this mean in practice?
Well, my own codebase is in C++ and Unity uses C#, so there's some code changes to be made, but luckily I used a component-oriented architecture for my engine that is almost identical to the Unity component system, so in essence it should be a relatively straightforward port for a great deal of the functionality.
There are other upsides to using Unity, mainly in terms of asset management and the art pipeline, so theoretically the game should look far nicer and the art should be far easier to produce. But that's something I'll have to evaluate.
So what this might mean after LD is that I'll be spending some time porting functionality (or taking the opportunity to rewrite it using the language flexibility of C#), BUT it does mean that you should be seeing a few more art asset updates coming along to compensate.
What made me finally decide to switch?
I read Mike's blog post here: Toonormal.com
It struck a chord with me, because I'm also a "from scratch" and "C++" guy too. Its just the way we were doing things when we were younger I guess. But the reality is that I was always using C++ because I wanted to keep one eye on doing things relevant to "the games industry". So I could maybe release code I wrote for others to use etc. Honestly though, that notion is actually changing, in that more and more I see people asking for "Unity programmers" and that makes me think that perhaps if I'm thinking of releasing code to help other developers, maybe MORE people could use it if it were written for Unity.
Once I realized that actually using Unity was likely to put me in line with a community of developers who would be able to utilize the work I was doing it sealed the deal. That and the fact that right now there's a really strong community built up around working with Unity and I know a lot of people using it for their own games.
One last thing. If you're interested. I'm going to be livestreaming the development this weekend.
Anyway, I'll post the LD game I make at the end of the competition in the next news post. I've actually got a lot to post about regarding recent AI work, but it can sit in the queue for now :)
Till next time.