learning

Learning Reaper + Blender + Unity and Upcoming Project

I haven’t been able to update my blog for the past 2 months.

During this time I play 3 PS3 games. Uncharted 3, Tomb Raider (2013) and The Last Of Us day in and out. I finished 5 manga that is on my to-read list for 10 years. I’ve been working out tirelessly to get fit for my pre-wedding photoshoot in less than a month.

None of the above is true btw, excpet the part I’m having my pre wedding photoshoot in 3 weeks and I’m still way off from my target weight.

For real, during this period, I’ve picked up some knowledge and skill so I can work completely independent in building a mobile game.

Some of you may know that I am a programmer and I love to draw stuff and design just about anything. I learn Photoshop, Illustrator all by myself during my free time to design my app a few years back.

When I begin to build game a while back, I knew something was missing in me to complete the game. A game that has beautiful art (2D and 3D) and astonishing audio. I have absolutely no idea how to create a 3d model for a 3d game, nor how to create sound effect and soundtrack.

I understand these 2 topics are different species all together and one should probably taking the degree to learn and master it, but I believe I can work something out by putting effort on it.

On top of that, I know I can get away with the use of game engine if my game is very very simple (Fatty Bird anyone?), but if the game is getting complicated, I need a good and easy to learn game engine to support me.

After few days of research on the various tools in terms of price, learning curve, community support and future road map of the tools, I decided on these 3 tools for each task:

  • REAPER for producing sound effect and sound track
  • Blender for 3d modeling, texturing
  • Unity for game engine

Each tools took me about 2 weeks to learn the basic and create some stuff out of it by following tutorial online. I’ll share my thought on why I choose the tools and some tutorials that I follow to learn as a total beginner.

By the way, I’m not telling you that after watching few tutorials and get a hands on the tool you can immediately master it and produce a stunning game. Like everything else in life, everything has learning curve. Some are steep some are not. If you’re not confident to work on 3 new tools at the same project, you can take it one by one and slowly incorporate your new skill into different project.

REAPER

REAPER is a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) created by Cockos. This program can do anything you can think of to the sound.

They are many good DAW on the market, like Pro Tools, Logic Pro, GarageBandFL Studio etc. The reason I choose REAPER over the others:

  • Light footprint and hardly crash
  • Easy to use and simple UI
  • Very cheap ($60 for personal use). You can use the program in evaluation version without any limitation on program total functionality
  • Support VST (Virtual Studio Technology). You can use virtual music instrument like drum, keyboard, or even organ pipe to compose your music
  • Support both Windows and Mac

Here are some tutorials I’ve been follow to help me learn from basic.

Viking Guitar has a series (9 lesson) of Home Recording lessons that teach you basic REAPER usage. This guy is funny and I’m having fun following it.

Blender

Blender is a relatively unknown 3d model program in the market compare to the like of 3ds Max and Maya. The first version published around 1995, and the project became open source on 2002. I believe during that time Blender started to take off.

The reason I choose Blender over the others:

  • It’s Open Source and Free. Other good 3d modeling program easily cost you few hundreds dollar, and Maya typically cost you about 3k++
  • Light footprint and can run on any machine. However, you need a good graphic card to do a faster rendering
  • Easy to Learn, at least for me.
  • Natively support in Unity

Some tutorials that I followed.

This is a first part of the series (7 videos) of the basic usage of Blender.

Some tutorial of modelling car and mech robot.

Unity

Unity is a cross-platform game engine with a built-in IDE developed by Unity Technologies. It’s a very well known game engine with the like of Unreal Development Kit (UDK).

Reason I choose Unity:

  • Free to build and publish for iOS and android for the free license. Check the blog about the new licensing.
  • Easy to learn
  • Huge community with lot’s of tutorial and question/answer to your everyday problem

Unity has some amazing tutorial to get you jump start. Check it out here.

My Upcoming Project

I’ve some idea of a game that I want to build a while back, which eventually motivate me to pick up the skills I’m lacking to complete it. The development is still in early stage and will not be ready in the coming months.

Here are some early preview of the idea in Blender.

Until next time, I’ll focus entirely onto this project until it get published. I will write some tutorial on how to build a complete game using the above tools once I’m finished.

Subscribe to my newsletter to get update when my game is ready.

Updated on 5 Sept 2014: The game is in store now! Check out the details here.

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