brettchalupa-deactivated2012071 asked: For Alone in Dream, have you been using monodevelop within Unity or an external editor? If an external editor, what one? If monodevelop, how do you like it?

MonoDevelop is the main choice. It comes with Unity, but it’s not part of the same application. The latest version of MonoDevelop that comes with Unity is pretty great. :) It has full syntax highlighting, auto-complete, etc. 

Fan Art

Sometimes the best fan art comes from fellow indie developers. Here’s some from Sara Gross, the artist behind “Hollow’s Deep.” :)

Grab a full size version here.

Follow Sara on Twitter.

Revolutions

I have no idea what this is about, but I’m excited to find out. :O

Boat Test Land

Welcome to Boat Test Land, otherwise known as the “TestBoat” scene. :)

It’s sometimes useful to build a specific test scene, rather than testing inside an actual level. Why is this? Final levels tend to get really busy, full of different objects that are interacting in different ways. We have set up debug keys, so that it is possible to run through levels very quickly. But even with the debug keys, it still feels frustrating to have to run through sections of the level before you can get to the part you want to test.

Hence the “TestBoat” scene (and other scenes of its ilk) was born. See the tall cubes off on the horizon? In this case, we’re focusing on tuning the handling of the boat by building an obstacle course for it. We’re also using this area to test out a new gameplay idea that may become a recurring element in the final game.

Game Event Tracking

One of the features coming up in a distant future version of Unity is a way to log game events to a server which can then be viewed as a data overlay on top of your level. Being able to view details of a tester’s experience is invaluable when polishing your game, and the faster you can assess detailed information, the more accurately you can make important design decisions.

Since 3.5 isn’t here yet, we’ve rolled our own solution for “Alone in Dreams.” This method employs a relatively simple C sharp script to upload text data to a server as the game is being played.

All that’s required is to call the GameEventTracker.Log() function whenever something interesting happens. The result is a text file that lets us see what happened on a particular play through. Just looking at the text file is usually enough to see if a player has gotten stuck somewhere. We can then start to create theories as to why they’re getting stuck - maybe they missed an important clue? We can go through the log and try to figure out what they’ve noticed and what they’ve missed.

This is actually a really enjoyable process, and it makes you feel a bit like a detective. The log gives us a fair amount of information, but it doesn’t tell us everything.

We can also layer the log information over the level. So far this doesn’t seem to be as useful as simply reading the text file, but it probably depends on the type of game you’re making.

I may end up doing a tutorial video about this script in the future. Let me know if it’s something you’d be interested in. :)

"Spin Madly On" theme by Margarette Bacani. Powered by Tumblr.