Week 7 – TETRATON, Unity and GameMaker

Last week was week 7 and it went pretty bad! Also, this post will be quite short.

Week 7 was about TETRATON and making TETRATON’s mobile variant. Of course there was some cellular automata too but not as much as in previous weeks. Here is one though!

It’s lonely.

So the week began with development on TETRATON, the very first Pico-8 game I made, back in November 2015! The code was terrible and my memory of it was rather lacking but I got around it and started making some simple optimizations I learned since I made this game. I also improved the graphics, I made the explosions a lot better, I added smoke and I implemented one of the suggestions from the Lexaloffle forums which was to have indicators for enemies that were out-of-screen. All that went really well and was very much less bothersome than I thought it would be!

It’s even prettier than the previous version!

The reason I haven’t uploaded the update yet is that I feel like the gameplay is too sketchy. In fact it’s way worse than I remembered before taking it up again. The enemy indicator made it better but the game is still too far from living up to its potential. The main thing I want to do is rebalance the weapons. Some weapons just mean death simply because they don’t shoot often enough and you just can’t move properly with them. Because of that, the game won’t be updated until I get to make some more changes!

A good exemple of a bad death!

Now the reason I haven’t made these changes yet is that I was trying to work on the mobile varient of the game, as I said I would do in last week’s post. So I did start to work on it. In Unity. That first meant getting back to Unity, an engine I learned to use in school, an engine I don’t really like for a whole bunch of reasons (mostly the forced OOP and the heaviness of having so many tools) and an engine I hadn’t touched for a few months. And I hated it. I was VERY reticent to work on the game and naturally went to play other games instead (which I very seldom did these last weeks). And so I lost a lot of time doing that plus fighting myself over it.

But finally I thought “Ok, Unity is just not working out, let’s try out GameMaker” and that was the right thing to do. The reason I went for Unity was that I knew how to use that engine. But I was already very interested in GameMaker, firstly because a lot of my favorite games are made in GameMaker (Vlambeer, Denaton, Moppin games). So I did want to try GameMaker out but I also knew it meant learning how that engine worked.

Let me tell you how it works: well.

Super early gameplay for mobile TETRATON

GameMaker is simply fun to work with to me! I’m obviously not being paid for saying that, that’s just how I feel. The interface is VERY simple, which I value a lot. There is a whole event and instruction graphical system but almost everything you can do with it, you can also do with scripting in more complex ways if you want to! Also, the scripting is being made in super simple text-editing windows you can resize and move around, which is absolutely GREAT! Please forgive my excitement but I am really happy I went for this engine because it really speaks to me!


But I did lose about half of the week trying to start making the game in Unity and then two more days learning how to make stuff in GameMaker. My only consolation is that I didn’t keep on trying to work with Unity.

Little disclaimer: I do not wish to say that Unity is trash, obviously it’s not. Although, I will say that at the moment, it doesn’t seem great at all for making small 2D games. But I have close friends who do like Unity and if you go on Twitter you’ll see amazing things made with Unity. So Unity is good for a lot of other people. Just not me. Pico-8 is good for me. And GameMaker now.

And that pretty much wraps up this week. The development of mobile TETRATON has begun as you can see in the GIFs but it’s really not gone far enough for me to talk about it and it being interested. I am currently working on the graphical style of the game. I’ll talk more about that next week.

This week wasn’t good at all but it happened, it was not all bad and now I move on.

Mobile TETRATON should stay in development for two-and-a-half/three more weeks, the last week being mostly for testing. This coming week, I want to build the core of the game, so the controls, enemies, pickups, generation, a few different weapons and if I have time for it, background generation, parallax, more weapons, etc…

Have a good week.

And please share a thought to the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando that happened yesterday as well as to their families and their friends. This kind of violence saddens me to no end and know that I will always be working for a brighter world. So please, do keep smiling and do stay cheerful.

Take care of yourself.


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