So, after a pause due to health reasons, I've decided to start adding updates again for the New Year. I've mostly been working on Chant Savant. I took the previous prototype, and moved it to the new Unity Beta. Their UI was just too beautiful to resist; I couldn't bear looking at my XNA code base's terrible widgets any more, and I couldn't bear spending any more time re-inventing UI wheels in XNA. Overall I've been very happy with the move. The newest versions of Unity and Visual Studio actually give you decent debugging facilities, so you're not just putting in printf statements like a goddamn neandrathal. Unity does still crash occasionally when you attach the debugger (i.e. not just your program, their actual editor crashes and destroys any unsaved work), but once you get use to saving frequently it is is usable for debugging. I've also adjusted to Unity's code/project organization style, which in practice works much better than what I was doing before. In XNA I was sticking with MVC, and separating the model from its display and so on, which is great and all, but requires a lot of extra code and thought. Now I'm doing things the Unity way, which is just to attach random bits of code everywhere. :) More seriously, it's nice since rather than having the modeled object and its associated display and their communication, you only have the one object. It works pretty well. Unity has also been nice about adding networking, since Photon seems like a good pre-built solution to that. I have to give up the fine-grain control of the perfectly synchronized clock work mechanism I had going in my last code base, but hopefully the out-of-synch issues that arise from that can be papered over relatively quickly.
Anyway! For Chant Savant, I've also changed the game so that it is real time rather than turn based, and rather than being HearthStone-ish it is somewhat closer to a tower-defense game where you are summoning the creatures to battle against your opponent's stream of creatures. There's probably a term for this stream-vs-stream, since I've seen it in some simple web games. However I don't know the term yet. So far things seem ok? I think the real-time works better (is more immediate and spectacly, at least relative to my other projects). Real time also lays the ground for other games later, where you could have additional forms of input battling against the voice-control creatures of Chant Savant. For instance, Kinect or other weird inputs could be pitted against voice chat. Today I've been adding different lanes for creatures to stream down; over the next few days I'm adding more Runes, and hopefully some starting scenarios to introduce people to the game. Teaching will need to be a big part of the game, since it really does require a lot of learning from the player relative to most tower-defense type games. E.g. it looks like a tower defense game, but in many ways is a language learning game.