Talk at Tech Meets Entertainment

Still pretty busy with my book; it’s been coming along nicely, and I’m on the home stretch now! Meanwhile, I’m lined up to give a talk in a month at a Meetup group called Tech Meets Entertainment. This group is actually located in San Francisco, but the meetings are all virtual right now. I love speaking to groups like this, and it totally didn’t occur to me that I don’t need to limit these geographically while things are virtual.

Joseph Hocking – Expert Unity Developer & Author of “Unity in Action”

Saturday, May 29, 2021, 11:00 AM

Online event

3 Techies Attending

Hello fellow techies! This week our guest will be Joseph Hocking, senior developer at Chicago based Augmented Reality firm BUNDLAR. His expertise at programming C# in Unity comes from a lengthy career developing both games and XR (VR/AR) applications, and he also works with JavaScript/WebGL for these projects. Joseph is also an author, and is curre…

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I have a Twitch channel

Not a lot to talk about this month, since I’ve been pretty swamped between work and my book. One interesting new thing is I setup a Twitch channel. Manning (my publisher) asked me to stream some live coding on their channel one afternoon this summer, and so I had to setup a Twitch channel for them to invite. I may use that to stream some game dev on my own, not sure, we’ll see!

Transparency with Depth Sorting

A classic rendering problem in realtime 3D graphics is overlapping transparent surfaces. Well, I recently wrote a shader for Unity that renders alpha transparency with correct depth sorting. My solution isn’t unique, but I don’t see a lot of people talking about it, so hopefully this will help people out.

The depth sorting in this shader still only works well for hard-edged cutouts, but you can mix cutouts with smooth semi-transparency in the alpha channel, and any rendering glitches will be restricted to only the semi-transparent parts. This is a huge improvement over having those rendering glitches apply to the entire model, and hopefully my explanations give you a full appreciation for the tradeoffs being made.

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Discovering Sprytile

I finally started on the 3rd edition of Unity in Action at the end of last year, so between that and work I don’t really have much bandwidth lately for any other projects. I haven’t abandoned Eschatown, but I’m probably not going to do any work on that game until spring. At that point I’m planning to quickly wrap up the art (especially character sprites done with Character Creator 2D), and then release it.

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Eschatown’s Prototype

We’ve just uploaded a prototype for you to download and try. Just in time for Thanksgiving!

Just go to the game’s page for both Windows and Mac builds of Eschatown:

This version is still very early and rough, and very few sprites are in the game so far. However the writing and systems are pretty far along, so we are testing balance with this prototype. Let me know what you find!

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Developing the Interface

I’m starting to flesh out the graphical interface for my as-yet unnamed RPG. At this point I’ve implemented pretty much all the systems for the game, so tying everything together with a cohesive and attractive interface is my next main challenge.

For example, this animation shows off equipping weapons. First I go into combat before equipping any weapons, and you can see both my Attack stat and that there’s only one action option at the bottom. Then I equip an assault rifle, and you can see I now have a Shoot option in combat.

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Working on an RPG: Generating the Map

I’m now over a month into the basic RPG I mentioned in the last post, so a bunch of systems are in place. In my last post I talked a lot about the narrative system Ink, but this time I want to get back to what is a frequent topic on my devlog: procedural generation of maps. Here is what I came up with for the map of city regions:


(The weird batches of horizontal lines are actually lines of text. That’s just to test applying textures to quads strewn about the map, and will eventually be replaced with images of buildings and trees.)

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