GGJ2014: Unnatural Disaster

Global Game Jam 2014. It’s late Saturday night, on the eve of our home stretch. My team was well ahead of schedule. We’d gone with an unusual project, a card game, so we’d been playtesting in no time, working well together all weekend and making great progress. Many hands make light work, and with ten people on our team, work was plenty light.

But with everything going so smoothly, it was almost as if I was missing out on the real jam experience. Looking around at the other teams struggling to finish, I almost felt… guilty. So, I decided to up the challenge for myself a bit. As the clock rolled over midnight – less than a day to go – I popped open Unity and started working on a second game, this time on my own.

I called the project Unnatural Disaster.

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Event Aggregator

The next step up from simple events is the complete decoupling of the event publisher and event receiver through an event aggregator. Consider the case of a game over message. The game is decided to end by a rule manager class. Lots of things want to subscribe to this event: the game over UI, the input manager, any systems that spawn players or items or track score. But aside from the game over state, none of those systems have any reason to take a dependency on the rule manager. Instead, we’d like to abstract the publishing of events and receiving of them through an intermediary: the event aggregator.

I’ve seen several event dispatching solutions for sale on the Asset Store, but I decided to roll my own. I based my approach on the EventAggregator from Microsoft’s wonderful Prism library.

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A while back I had an idea for a game about launching rockets. Way out of my comfort zone, right? Basically it would be a blend of the engineering and rocket building of Kerbal Space Program, but with a greater emphasis on moment-to-moment skill instead of meticulous planning. I took about a day to prototype the idea, and while I’m not sure if I’m going to do something with it in the future, I did find myself spending a lot more time playing with it than I did building it!

[unfortunately, the Unity Webplayer has been sunsetted, so this demo is no longer available]

Directions: Hold mouse button down to thrust, release to separate stage. Hold down A or D to steer left or right. Reset with Esc.

While the implementation was extremely basic, it was effective at proving the idea and teaching me some interesting things that might be useful later.

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