Jamie Cropley

Instead of going to the extreme of creating my own game engine, I mentioned in my last post. I have now decided to stick at getting to grips with the Unity camera dynamics. However one of the main issues I was having in my project, is I simply had my code in the wrong function so it was not updating every frame. I am close to creating a first person controller in Unity now which is great in this respect, I don't need to go to the extreme of creating an entirely new game engine.

I have had to sort out quite a few things non computer related recently so have been quite busy. I mentioned briefly in my last log the trouble I was having with Unity camera for a specific project, however this seems to be a consistent thing for me across various projects I attempt, or perhaps I am a perfectionist? I seem to have taken it to the next extreme so I can get solid control of the physics and maths utilised to create good ingame effects and camera control etc... utilsing however there is a lot to research just to learn this, and its not a game engine within itself, which is actually a good thing as it means I can build things like physics from the ground up or use a more open source physics engine to get that perfect style of control I seek of my game projects.

After finishing undergraduate university studies I have tried to summarise here a few things that I learned may be useful respective of self discipline, organisation and effeciency.

Note taking:

This has always been something I have struggled with, whatever system I try I struggle to retain or organise the information when I read it back, I came quite close using LaTeX and an overly complex contents systems with sections and such however I still spent a long time reading through a massive document towards the end or during a module.

One method I have come across is known as Zettelkasten, according to wikipedia it means: “The zettelkasten (German: “slip box”) is a knowledge management and note-taking method used in research and study.”

You can view more information on tools and software here, I believe you can even do it in paper form

the eventual idea, I believe with programming and such always comes problem solving, so having a decent way to link and cross reference information together on a massive scale is what I am usually always aiming for however it is not an easy thing to achieve, it can often end up becoming time consuming.

Understanding and becoming unstuck

Generally I try and never give up and something even if I get stuck I try and find out how to become unstuck, the best most effective method I have found for this is not being afraid to ask for help. Secondly I have come across two articles and one method as below which prove useful for such situations in terms of understanding and problem solving:

Procrastination and achieving an ideal state for effective self-discipline

Procrastination is always a tough one. I find many different people have many different ways of stopping themselves falling into this trap, so to speak.

Three methods I have found to be pretty solid are; first, martial arts, although I don't actively practise any martial art at present, I have done so in the past when very young, a lot of the ideas and such these martial arts are usually based around usually inhibit strongly around self-discipline principles. I sometimes like to read books on martial arts, philosophy ones and practical ones even though I don't plan to do it, they often contain a good perspective on challenging yourself and how to overcome difficulties and such.

Secondly blocking distractions, I don't find myself getting easily distracted a lot of the time but I have found the most effective software that actually works is at:

Thirdly, I listen to this podcast from time to time, not only does it have some interesting stories on it, but some of them can inspire you to take action on things, usually he puts something difficult across like a scenario and explains how he dealt with the situation and such.

Writing a camera can be difficult in Unity Game Engine. This is what I have been doing the past week, is literally fine tuning and coding a camera, I think it is my need for perfection and ultra smoothness in how the camera moves is what takes me so long to finish this part of my game. As to which my game is a 4x / strategy / simulation type of game. I will post more screenshots and videos etc... of it when I have made significant progress on this game. This game will be similar to Stellaris in terms of play style but designed and plays completely differently. Additionally the week before the one just gone I was working on my 3D modelling skills which are slowly becoming better. I hope with time I get faster and faster at this because it used to take me days just to do basic objects, but now I am creating fully fledged spaceships with internals, still takes me a while though, but as I learn the software I become faster and faster at it.

The only written tutorials I can find for Unity game engine are the following two sites:

As for books, a great free PDF beginner book I found is at:

As for other books, I found the best publisher that seems to keep up with the new Unity versions is I also chose this publisher as it also sells quality videos or you can buy a subscription, the books and videos cover useful areas like optimisation and Artificial Intelligence, something I find often lacking on sites like YouTube as most the tutorials are often basic here. Additionally have some good written books on the Unity Game Engine as well as O' Reilly Publishing.

I have been mainly working on a Stellaris like clone in Unity, I have as of yet done any in depth tutorials or research on the dynamics of user interfaces in Unity, thus I was having issues with resizing a panel (basically a box shape) behind some text. This will be something I will have to look into at a later point, as at the moment I am mainly focused on the coding aspects of this game. I finally found a completely free font that is clear and easy to read: this will be the main font I will use throughout this game.

I additionally have set up a First Person Controller in C Sharp:

I had an idea, to duplicate the design aspects that the Apple Computing products usually utilise, this is always aesthetically pleasing so I thought I would do a mockup

I utilised colour scheme information from mainly

I decided to revive an old project that I was working on, whenever I seem to try and code a First Person Controller I somehow seem to not get it working correctly, in terms of the physics, taking a visual approach for this makes things much easier and allows me to add levels of complexity. I made this project open source and I will continue to add more and more features as time goes on. Please note the way I have set it up allows for easy prototyping as well in the example level or even to change it into a game of your choosing. The project can be viewed at:

Currently, I continue to work on my game titled 'Craft' as per my Itch page. Additionally I am currently working on a 4x / RTS type of game set in Space. I chose this type of game, and to set it into space due to the complexity of the programming in it, such as the calendar system through to physics in Space. Overall making for an interesting and challenging programming experience.

As I come to the end of my undergraduate studies, one of the things I initially used to struggle with at the beginning of it was writing a literature review. I developed an outline for writing a literature review which hopefully can be possibly useful to others. Depending on the context of your literature review, not all aspects listed below need to be utilised in this respect.

The outline:

  • Hypothesis?
  • Explains why topic is important
  • Studies are listed in alphabetical order.
    • Gives reader an idea of what the paper will cover.
  • Focuses only on reviewing literature that support hypothesis. (Also if it disagrees with it?)
  • Descriptions of the prior studies should always be in the past tense because the study has already occurred.
  • Notice that not a lot of detail is given about how the study was conducted. Instead, the description focuses on the rationale behind the study. (Recognise the theory behind what I am writing)
  • Notice that the author focuses on the main findings that related to the hypothesis stated earlier.
  • Author points out relevant methodological issues that may have affected findings.
    • Decided methodology, needs to stay as that, on topic. Needs to sequential.
  • Find connections between papers and describe them appropriately.
  • Discuss findings and how they relate to hypothesis.
  • Point out limitations that affect the study's validity. Don't go out my way to explain why it won't work unless its relevant.
  • Do findings contradict hypothesis.
  • Conclusion sums up the main findings on the literature review and gives suggestions as to what future research should focus on.

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