Devblog #4: Highlights for March and April 2020

It's been well over a couple of months since the last one of these, so here's a quick overview of the highlights

Over the last two months I've made minimal progress on the infinite racer game, experimented with higher detail 3D modeling and HDRP, began transitioning to Unity packages and updated a couple of my Node.js libraries.

Infinite Racer

  • The infinite racer project is in deep mid-development hell. Still progressing, just very slowly.
  • I'm calling it "infinite racer" (note lowercase) here but that's not the final name. I did decide on the name but I'm not ready to publish that yet, even here in a blog that nobody reads.
  • Added rigidbodies to vehicles so that collisions look more natural.
  • Got the progress bar working for now, even though I still don't understand how RectTransform sizing really works.

General Game Development

  • I've been experimenting with HDRP and high detail 3D modeling. I'm hoping to become better at creating realistic visuals.
  • Beginning to transition from Git submodules to Unity packages for reusable code.
  • Created a public repo called unity-funcs which contains some of my small Unity utility functions I've collected over the years. A kind of sister repo to my Node.js package with a similar name.
  • Spent way too much money in the Asset Store Spring Sale.
  • VSCode integration package beyond version 1.1.3 continues to be broken, causing VSCode/OmniSharp to randomly lose references to assemblies. (Edit: Added link to Unity issue.)

Web Development

  • Experimenting with ActivityPub (a standard for federated social networking), mostly as means of channeling my ongoing frustration over being banned from Twitter without explanation last year.
  • Wrote a blog post about deploying this blog with GitHub Actions. Since then I've also moved my public Node.js libraries to GitHub Actions from Travis.
  • Released versions 0.4.0 and 0.5.0 of @mtti/mhp with fixes to time zone handling and breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs were the bane of my existence when doing CMS consulting and they continue to haunt me now.
  • Release version 2.1.0 of @mtti/funcs with a couple of new utility functions.

3D Modeling Practice

My biggest 3D modeling project as of late has been this attempt at a 1980's SUV, similar to (but for legal reasons distinct from) a 1980 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ60:

Blender 2.8's real time rendered viewport is great especially for modeling cars since it makes shiny metal look shiny and chrome look chromey.

While I hate to complain about a piece of software that costs nothing while maintaining a feature set on par with some very expensive 3D modeling software, I do wish they made up their mind with the UI. They refreshed it years ago and now again with 2.8 and to an occasional user it feels like whenever I finally manage to commit some of it to muscle memory, they change the shortcuts so I have to learn them all over again.

HDRP Experiment

For a while now I've wanted to do a "control room simulator" game which would feature an intricately modeled control room of some sort, which you would use to control some complex facility or vehicle by means of flicking switches, pushing buttons and turning dials.

At one point I considered a nuclear missile silo, as seen in the opening scene of Wargames (1983) (featuring a young Michael Madsen). The problem from a game design point of view is that once you've launched the missiles, there's not really anything left to do.

Sticking with the nuclear theme, however, I mocked up the basic layout of the unit 4 control room of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. The logical conclusion of this idea would be to model the room as accurately as possible based on photographs available on the Internet, trying guess what all of it does precisely and hooking it up to a toy simulation of the power plant.

Orange placeholder humanoid mesh for scale. Compare with this photograph of unknown origin, supposedly of a pre-disaster reactor 4 control room:

Hello. I'm Matti Hiltunen, a Finnish software developer and wannabe game designer. This is my blog about software development, gaming and technology.