Recently I’ve been exploring Android app development, and looking at Android Studio to leverage my knowledge of programming in Java. However there’s another side to mobile apps, and that is games. Games can be built in Android Studio, but truth is it’s much more efficient to create a game in a game engine and export to the Android platform.
Some years ago I spent a lot of time learning to use Unity, and programming in C# (a language very similar to Java). I’ve had an interest in 3D content creation for over ten years, starting with modelling in Blender, and later creating environments in Eon Vue. Some of my work can be found at https://christina-norwood-portfolio.com/ I used to post work to the Eon contributor site until it shut down last year due to having been hacked, and unfortunately it hasn’t reopened again.
I was recently watching a documentary on the Argentinian musician Gustavo Santaolalla, who created the music for the video game The Last of Us. He’s a brilliant musician and I’m not, but I can play a few things and realized that I can make games including the graphics, the music and the scripting because I have some skills in all these areas, although I’m far from expert in any of them.
So I went looking for a game engine. I’m not sure what Unity’s current licensing arrangement is, but I believe it’s free as long as you don’t make any money from your games, and if you do you have to pay a percentage to Unity. This might not be the current situation, but I was looking for an alternative. I found Godot, which is open source with a licence that allows you to do just about anything with it. The name comes from Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot because the developers see it as a project that is never completed. The preferred scripting language is GDScript, similar to Python which is not a language I like much (getting the indents right always seemed such a pain), but I gave it a go anyway.
I’m pretty impressed. As I’m mostly interested in 2D games I don’t have to worry about textures and shaders and lighting as much as I would in a 3D context, and working with sprites instead of rigged 3D models is a breeze. I even managed to get a very simple game to work on my Galaxy with touch screen controls, using artwork and sound of my own creation.
The big problem is documentation. The official documentation is very detailed of course, a complete reference, but this is not good learning material. Most tutorials (say on YouTube) are a little outdated and the way things are done now is different, so it’s hard getting the tutorial games to work properly. Examples provided on the Godot site, even fairly simple ones, are still too complex for a complete beginner. It’s probably fine for someone coming from another engine, or someone who already has experience making games, but my experience with Unity was quite a while ago. Brings to mind an old saying “You can’t get there from here”.
Anyway, I intend to explore further. Being able to bring my skills together under one roof, so to speak, interests me greatly, and will be a real challenge to improve my art, my music, and my programming. I’m even going to check out a couple of Udemy courses. For anyone interested in Godot it can be found at https://godotengine.org/