Resources

Happy Friday!

As promised earlier this week and to those I spoke with at the City of Tacoma Kaleidoscope Kickoff Party, here are some resources that I have found useful while working on my as yet untitled dino game.

Screencapture of how a scene is assembled in Unity. Artwork by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

GAME ENGINE

I am building my game in Unity, which is free for individuals who make under a certain amount of income from games per year. I am brand new, and I have definitely not come close to that threshhold yet. Another engine that other artists like using is Unreal. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m thinking about testing it when I start on my next project. A great benefit of Unreal is that they do offer funds for some projects. Here’s the link for more info.

2022 8 1 Progress. In game capture. As yet untitled dino game by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

GRAPHICS

(NOTE: This is not a paid promotion by Adobe. If they would like to change that, my bank account is all ears.)

I create the initial designs of characters, objects, and background art in Adobe Photoshop. I held on for as long as I could to my 2009 MacBook and hard copy of Photoshop CS 6, but at this point, I am now locked into the full Creative Cloud. It’s expensive, so if others would like to suggest free/ cheap alternatives that work well with Unity, please comment below. The import process between Photoshop and Unity is fairly simple. I can share a sample video of the process if others are interested, but there are also many tutorials on YouTube.

AUDIO

When getting the sound ready for the game, I have used a combination of Audacity (audio editing software), BeepBox (online tool for making and sharing melodies), and more recently, Adobe Audition. The first two are free whereas Audition comes with Creative Cloud subscriptions. I have used Audition more for marketing than content creation so far.

Video capture of in game play. Graphics and sound by Suzanne Skaar, 2020-2022. All rights reserved.

VIDEO

For video, I have been relying on Open Broadcast Studio (OBS) for screencaptures and Adobe Premiere Pro for compiling videos. OBS is free, and I am still figuring it out. For Creative Cloud subscribers, Audition is linked to Premiere, so changing audio levels or doing simple effects like fade in/ fade out is relatively fast.

TUTORIALS

I started researching how to turn my concept into a game using Unity in March 2020. Since then, I have watched a lot of videos which break down the process of animating sprites, importing audio, and more. Due to updates from game engine platforms, some of these tutorials may become outdated fairly quickly, but I really like the teaching styles of Brackeys and BurgZerg Arcade. While Brackeys is no longer posting new videos, they have a plethora of great ones still up on YouTube. GDC posts a lot of great talks about game design from all angles. From the business side, I recently discovered the Future of Play channel on YouTube. The Publish Me Punish Me series is entertaining and informative.

If you think this kind of post is helpful, please like and share with friends. You can also support No, Mine! Studios on the following social media platforms:

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If you’re local to Tacoma, I would love to see you at Grit City Comic Show on October 22, 2022! In addition to having the game progress available for playing, I’ll have a limited supply of merchandise for sale.

If you’re not able to attend but want to help support No, Mine! Studios financially, you can buy a dino a coffee here and buy art online here.

For media, retail, and event inquiries, please email me at nominestudios@gmail.com.

Thank you for your support!

Suzanne

Staying on Track

Keeping a 4th grade creative genius on task in remote school while also working on my own projects has been challenging at times. I am not always aware that she has an assignment due until she loudly announces, “Oh no! I was supposed to do this by [time in the past/ two minutes from the current time]!!!” Many times while I am trying to concentrate, The Child will barge in to ask questions which could have been written down and/ or Googled for later when she had time. I don’t want to ignore her, but kids at this age need to learn how to prioritize tasks on their own, and sometimes Mom just needs to finish a thought.

So we went old school. While she was sleeping last Sunday night, my co-parent installed a new 2’x3′ corkboard on the wall above her workspace. I taped cool LED lights around the edge of the board and cleaned her desk to give her a fresh start. In the morning, I gave her a stack of Post-It notes and pins. As I handed her the Post-Its, I stated they would only be used for writing down tasks, due dates, and questions related to school.

A blood oath was sworn. I retreated to work in peace, patting myself on the back for my parenting skills.

Chaos ensued. In a matter of hours, the board and her freshly organized workspace had transformed into Post-It Alley. She had perfected Origami frogs, developed an amazing new line of cartoon characters, and somehow missed even more deadlines because she was spending too much time “organizing.” To top it off, it wasn’t long before she burst into my workspace to ask this absolutely life or death question: “Mom, can I have more push-pins?”

Suffice it to say, the few remaining Post-Its were confiscated. I re-approached the drawing board, and designed a series of organizational headers and task cards for her use instead. I intentionally left a couple of blank cards in the design so she can cut out the squares and improvise as needed — ideas of projects to work on independently, plans for world domination, etc. The board looks a lot more organized, and she still has space to color and customize cards that get placed on the board.

Category headings by Suzanne Skaar, 2021. All rights reserved.
PDF available for personal and educational use at no cost.
Task card samples by Suzanne Skaar, 2021. All rights reserved.
PDF available for personal and educational use at no cost.

I am sharing the file for those who’d like to print it out here. It’s free for personal and educational use. If you find this kind of resource useful, you can contribute to studio expenses/ buy me a coffee here. You can also comment below with suggestions for additional cards/ themes. I’d be happy to post additional versions in the future. Please share this blog post with friends who might need it. And if you haven’t yet, please like and follow No, Mine! Studios on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok.

Cheers!

Suzanne