2012, December 29th

Screenshot from "Temperature"

In December of 2012, I decided to participate in the Experimental Gameplay Project. It's a game development jam where, given a theme, it's our objective to create a game around that theme in less than a week. You must work alone, and you can't spend more than 1 week on the project. The November/December theme was temperature. I decided to try to make a 2D side-scrolling puzzle-platformer based around changing water particles into steam, ice, and back into water again. It was written entirely in Unity 3D with Javascript.

I learned a ton while doing this, notably what it feels to actually get near to completing a game. I learned about basic platforming physics (how to tell if a character is on an uneven but jumpable surface, removing wall friction, player-adjustable jump height), but I also learned a lot about some advanced physical modeling concepts; notably Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics and Metaballs. Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics is a non-mapped modeling and simulation based entirely on individual particle calculation, and is aimed at producing very fast framerates. This presentation, by the developers of PixelJunk Shooter, was extremely helpful in understanding the calculations at work. Metaballs, on the other hand, are aimed specifically at rendering large quantities of particles without having it look like a dust cloud. By converting the particle locations into a texture and applying a gaussian shading to each particle, you can take the threshold and come out with some very "blobby" looking particles. This article was very helpful in helping me understand what was going on. While I was unable to implement metaballs in time for the week deadline, it's definitely something I want to continue to work with.

Play it here.