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Learning To Code: ‘Zombie Roller’ by Devslopes

A few weeks ago I began my journey into coding. I signed up to Udemy, bought a few courses (at a discount) and made a start. First up: Zombie Roller by Devslopes.

What is NOT to like? The first game you ever get to make and it’s 3D animated zombies rolling down a plank of wood towards targets that upon impact generate points for the player and the numbers come up on a little scoreboard in the top corner and all that!? Brilliant! I’ll be a programming genius in no time! This is too easy.

‘Dear Bethesda….’

…I’m getting ahead of myself.

What is great about the Devslopes tutorial series is the assets you get to work with. In playing with pro assets you do get a good sense of how more complicated models behave in Unity. Getting your project started and file organisation is of great benefit and it provides an solid overview of how MonoDevelop and Unity work together.
Where it starts getting a bit tricker is obviously when it comes to the coding bit. While it’s really well explained why that bit of code is positioned where it is in the script, it doesn’t really explain what the code really is. As a result I felt I was simply copying what was in front of me as opposed to understanding a certain coding principle.

Things like Variables such as integers, floats and double’s (things in the code that deal with different types of numbers) are certainly typed out, but they’re not really explained in any great detail. Having taken a look at the course structure, Variables are discussed in much greater detail in the next tutorial. Thing is, I barely scraped through secondary school maths with a C and had the firm intention never to look at a number again.

As the tutorial went on the fog did lift a little as to how I was affecting Unity from within MonoDevelop. I began to notice panels appear in Unity that had only been code seconds before. I began to see how these panels were affected when I changed the code. I made my own adjustable dials on these panels so I wouldn’t have to go back to the code itself to adjust things like velocity of gravity. I discovered gravity. Basic physics. Why that physics is there.

In the rare moments I grasped what was going on there were instances of genuine excitement, albeit a torturous and repetitive sort of excitement.

The best part was actually playing the game you make. Even if it was essentially a paint by numbers, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and was excited to learn what the hell I’d even made.

So while it wasn’t really the starting foundation I was hoping for, I’m still kind of none the wiser on some front, this was a solid first step that resulted in a playable game.

In case anyone is on a Mac, I have uploaded the finished game file for you to play. Hit up the comments underneath if you have done the same tutorial or learning avenues you think are worth exploring.

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