Sic Infra — A Project Summary Blog

Grey Vaal under attack


At first we didn’t have a clear idea of what we would be making, much less who would assume what role. This process occurred much more organically (and slowly). We knew we wanted to make a video game, but we weren’t sure what kind. We floated the idea of making a side-scroller, or perhaps an isometric. Eventually we landed on a top-down 2D dungeon crawler. But even then, we still had no idea what to make and how. No, to start out we didn’t have any roles or responsibilities set out; we simply had an idea, almost a challenge: what can we build in 3 weeks that will be fun to make and fun to play.

As we fleshed out the idea of this dungeon crawler we got to thinking: what is it about those early 90s games that we loved so much? The aesthetic was a big part for sure, so we knew we had to have that. But they also had a certain charm to them. Top down games felt like you were exploring a massive world. It felt like you were truly in charge of your avatar and you could go anywhere and do anything. We immediately knew that this was the feel we would want to aspire for. As for game play, the games that inspired us from the 90s were captivating and enthralling as children but we knew we had to bring the challenge to the modern standard. We knew we had to bring up the difficulty.

We decided to use Unity even though it was a platform none of us had ever worked with previously. We also decided to go with another first for all three of us, writing exclusively in C#. The language would allow us the flexibility of C with the added convenience of objects, and the Unity platform would allow us to easily import assets.

And so we had the framework to build a game. We had the genre, we had the inspiration, we had the tools. We quickly set out to find tutorials, assets and anything we could find to start figuring out how exactly one goes about creating a game from scratch. In these early days our roles were still not set in stone but we each started venturing out in fields we felt comfortable in. Soriano began experimenting with physics, 3D objects and win conditions. I started to look at assets and texture packs, focusing on what our game should look and feel like. Rolando started to hack away at his keyboard, figuring out how to make the newfound .png files move and do things. We were on our way.

Back story

I knew immediately when the idea was pitched to make a video game that I wanted in.


I must’ve scrapped and started from scratch 4 or 5 times before I started to design the first part of the layer. We had decided we didn’t want to pay for nice assets from the Unity store, so we forced ourselves to use whatever free resources we could find. This posed a minor inconvenience. I had found 2 texture packs that seemed promising: a forest pack and a cave pack. However, their styles were very different. I had to figure out how to combine elements from both texture packs in order to diversify the look and feel of the world without the styles clashing too much.

This also worked to my favor in the end because it allowed me to create the perception of depth in the player progression through the map. The first area I used mainly the forest assets, and found a way to make a threshold to a second area where I started to rely heavily on the assets from the cave texture pack. In this way I was able to create the ambiance of exploring deeper into the world, both literally and figuratively, as your character seemed to be plunging into the depths of a dark and intricate cave system.

After a few days we had what felt like a balanced map, complete with complicated puzzle aspects, hazardous areas with environmental damage, and a non-linear A-to-B progression with a win condition. We had, for all intents and purposes, an entire infrastructure of a video game.

Technical Challenges

Unity, despite also being incredibly handy and easy to use for some aspects, was also one of the biggest challenges we faced. What should have been simple tasks like simply importing texture packs to a tile palette took us hours to figure out. We were, as I mentioned, using a newer beta version, for which the UI and the menus had been slightly moved around and updated. Pretty much every online tutorial or YouTube video we watched would reach a pitfall at some point where they would lead you to where the simple fix we needed was located, only to realize that button or option we needed was no longer in that menu.

What we learned

We learned how to delegate tasks and to stay in our lane. Whenever we tried to simultaneously work on one issue we found that we would butt heads. However when we each focused on what came naturally, what we felt we were good at or at very least doing good at, everything flowed better. We started meeting our own deadlines for parts of production. We had the game pretty much working not long after the first week. With the comfort and reassurance this provided we were free to focus on tweaking things, making the game better, funner, more enjoyable. Slowly but surely we would find bugs and correct them. Shortly we were confident enough to show our friends. They would inevitably help us find bugs too. We would fix those as well.

By the end of the three weeks we not only had a working game, but we had a game we could feel proud of. The nervousness to present it in front of everyone disappeared as we were sure that we had exceeded even our own expectations. To this day I think I’m still proudest of the fact that no one has beat the game with 0 deaths, and I challenge anyone reading this to go and try for themselves.




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