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The History

The first incarnation of Tanks Online was what I will call a limited success.  It was the first game that caused a payout from Apple into my company’s bank account.  It also gathered a small following in it’s very short lifetime.   More than 2 thousand people played the game.

However, it suffered from horrendous networking lag and bugs.  The bug that finally made me bring down the servers permanently was never solved.  One of the smartest guys I know and I sat down for 2 days straight vetting every line of code for the problem and we never found it.  The servers would crash because of this bug and at the time I did not have the time or the energy to re-write the game.  There was nothing that could be done other than take down the game from the App Store and shut off the servers.

The Reincarnation

Fast forward two (?) years.  I am learning Unity 3D and trying to make a game or two out of it.  After fooling around with some ideas I had for a new game, I thought it might be best to take a game full-cycle before starting on such an ambitious project.  Because I already have all the assets for Tanks Online and Unity offers a fairly simple Networking infrastructure, I thought I would take the smaller plunge and re-write Tanks Online using Unity.

I put a lot of research into what it would take (although, I am finding it was not enough research) and started writing the game about 2 weeks ago.  The very first problem I ran into is that Unity does not have a natural way to handle 2D games.  It’s a 3D game engine and they all but ignore the needs of 2D games.  How was I goign to render the 2D sprites with no “sprite” mechanism available?  I had 2 choices at this point.

  1. I could hand roll my own sprite mechanism inside Unity using meshes.  This would probably take about 2 weeks.
  2. I could admit that I am not here to make frameworks any longer (as discussed earlier) and buy a 2D sprite framework from the Unity Asset Store.

I chose option 2.  There are a few different 2D sprite frameworks on the Unity Asset Store, and I chose the most popular one: 2D Toolkit.  The guy who made this must be making bank and I got to hand it to him – its a very nice plugin to Unity.  It does nearly everything I need it to, and what it does not do I can easily extend it in my custom code areas.  Also, he is very responsive with any support requests.

So now I am about 2 weeks into the real development of Tanks Online and this is what I have to show for it:

First screen shot of Tanks Online

First screen shot of Tanks Online


More to come!

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