All Good Things… | The Brick Dead Project

Thank you for clicking on into the thirteenth and final installment of this latest in a long line of projects here on Growing Up Otaku. To view the full series of articles in The Brick Dead Project, click here.

Anti-Disclaimer (Is that a claimer?) – I AM the guy to learn this stuff from. I know my classes from my functions. I know where and how to leverage the mysterious powers of the Quaternion. I have learned that Confucianism has nothing to do with vector mathematics. I am become Game Dev, wearer of fedoras.

BOYD-unitymenuI downloaded the free version of the Unity game development kit out of curiosity on January 28th, 2014. Two weeks later, I dove head first into the world of game creation. One month after the install date, I had created a basic, if rather pretty, scrap of a game. I began writing a series of articles under “The Dead Brick Project” moniker so I could invite you to come along with me on my journey of discovery “not just inside the sausage factory” but “to make our own sausage from scratch.” Moreover, the plan was to do it utilizing completely free software.

In all honesty, I figured the path through this project would be fraught with compromise, heartache, and paywalls as features and visions were slashed wildly in the face of reality. At the end I expected to present my sloppy, laggy knock-off of pong and proclaim “See, THIS is how hard it is to make video games! Remember that the next time you feel like posting on a Steam forum!” What I found instead was a world where our mother’s advice of “You can do anything you set your mind to,” actually applied (Maybe for the first time).


That’s not to say the road was easy. You’ll know that to be true if you have been adventuring through this new world with me. The Valley of the Ragdolls was darn near a party wipe for The Project Winking smile It cannot be understated the amount of learning and research it took to overcome such hurdles, especially for someone unprepared and uninformed. Still, after all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, I went from being perplexed for an hour as to why “and” and “or” didn’t work in an “if” statement (Seems they’ve been replaced by “&” and “|” since my high school Pascal class) to crafting amazing effects like Slow Time in a weekend. In fact, after a mere two months following that first click of Unity’s install button, I was creating exciting features faster than I had a chance to blog about them. It seems insane that we never had a chance to delve into things like the creation of the main menu (Easter Egg: You can shoot those skeletons!) or how Zombies clambered up from their graves.

On April 28th, 2014 (Yeah, I missed my deadline by one day Smile with tongue out), Brick Dead Prototype 2 was no more. In its stead stood Break Out Your Dead Prologue. Featuring twice as many spells and five times as many levels as the planned prototype, BOYD was a piece of software that could actually pass as a real game.

Even knowing that out of the (optimistically) dozen or so people who pick up BOYD for five minutes, most will think it amateurish crap, I am exceedingly proud of what I’ve accomplished.

We must say that there are as many squares as there are numbers – Galileo Galilei, Two New Sciences

Yes, I quoted Galileo out of context to make a joke. Comedy knows no reverence!

While not an indicator of quality, stats are fun. So, BDProto1 weighs in at 3551 files for a total of 1.01GB. BOYD is made from 6547 files totaling 2.07GB. You can probably cut these totals in half as it includes compiled versions of the raw data files.

75 scripts were written for this project with the largest being PlayerScript at 687 lines long. PlayerScript handles spell casting (Those charging triggers were a b*tch to keep straight!) as well as Health & Mana pools.

There are 42 (!) particle effects in the game. Ten of these are associated with Zombies. Eight effects involve fire while four are for smoke. There are three types of fog, one of which is the original ground fog from BDProto1 that is not used in BOYD.

Three failed Ragdoll Skelys still inhabit BOYD’s bowels.

The Zombie skin texture was re-done four times. And probably needs another go.

The Movement Controller was rewritten seven times.

Zero actual fireflies were harmed in the making of Break Out Your Dead.

The final budget? Well, provided my time is worthless (Sad smile), $11.80. That investment covered the wizard. He was on sale. Everything else was either a free resource or, more often, created using free software. Er, well, I’m not sure how to classify that 30-day free trial of Crazy Bump, so we’ll just let that slide, shall we? Even so, it’s not like there aren’t tutorials on how to use GIMP to create normal maps.


I guess we should answer the Million Dollar question: Is making video games fun?

Short answer: No.

Well, not in the traditional sense. Much like painting or writing or video production, making a game is hard, often tedious work. If you are unfortunate enough to be in a social situation similar to mine (That is, lacking any real manner of social situation at all), then the work is easily three times as hard due to the number of other artistic disciplines involved and the lack of warm bodies to mooch talent off of.

And yet, just like any other artistic endeavor, there is the satisfaction of creation. There are as many secret smiles and momentous revelations and occasions of chest-thumping triumph as there are frustrating roadblocks and tedious errands. Yet those golden nuggets of delight mean much, much more, even to a pessimist such as myself.

There may not be fun in making video games, but there IS joy in it.

Thanks for taking this trip with me. I hope you had fun with both the written and playable parts of The Brick Dead Project. If you feel inspired, check out our feature on Free Resources for Making Games. As we’ve said (and demonstrated!) a dozen times before, why waste time on consuming media when you could be creating it.

We love you! Thanks for reading.

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