In this series I detail the creation of a digital product built specifically for the Unity Asset Store. I am writing this in hopes of providing a resource to those who may be exploring the idea of or are already working on building game development tools. Check back here periodically for updates and don't forget to sign up to receive e-mail notifications of new posts. I will be providing overviews of the process as it happens.
Part 2: What the Hell Does it Do?
You know what they say, even the best laid plans go awry, isn't that the truth. That doesn't mean we shouldn't have one though. As alluded to in part one my goal is to combine Nixie tube form factor with the functionality of Revolver, as demoed below. You can also check it out on the asset store here.
Basically what Revolver does is take text input and animate it into a codex inspired 3D object. It can accept text input either from an integrated input field allowing it to act as a real time text input field complete with cursor type functionality or directly via a method which accepts a string and speed parameter to animate in all the text at one time.
It is packaged as a Prefab within Unity so that it may be integrated almost anywhere. I.e. as a way to animate your game title or studio name, as a unique input field within a menu system, or even as a component within a larger GameObject (like a steampunk computer or something).
Nixie will function and be packaged similarly. My first step in defining the product to put together a list of functional requirements (i.e. a list of things we expect the tool to do). This list WILL change but it will provide us something to begin working from. For Nixie, I have come up with the below:
Ability for several Nixie tubes to work together to form a text string (Nixie tube Array)
Ability for Nixie tube array to work as a text input field with cursor functionality
Ability for end user to send text strings to the Nixie tube array
Ability for text strings to animate in various ways (i.e. ticker, fade, etc.)
Ability to control camera in various methods (i.e. follow along with each character, center on array, etc.)
Ability for end user to customize various elements of the Nixie tube array (see below)
As I mentioned in Part 1, I have been getting pretty familiar with Editor Scripting (the ability to extend the Unity editor) so I am going to write a custom inspector for this one to go along with this tool that will allow users to customize the the object. So far I have laid out the following parameters that I would like to have the ability to be customized by the end user:
Number of characters (Nixie Tubes)
Color of light the Nixie Tubes emit
It's important to know that throughout the process we will come up with new ideas and thoughts will change. It's always good to start with a framework but understand that it is OK for things to shift, and they will. Good creative is iterative, it is through these changes that our product will continue to develop and hopefully become something truly unique that we can put out into the world.
Stay tuned for more and in the meantime feel free to leave comments / questions below, always love to hear feedback.