Why I’m Not Using an Existing Engine

In building my prototypes, I came across Adventure Creator for Unity which bills itself as a “no code required” adventure game engine. It’s $70 and does everything one would want an adventure game engine to do.

If my goal is to get a game out quickly, this would be the best way of doing it. Now that I have some experience with Unity, all I would have to do is create the assets, design some rooms, and be on my way.

So why am I not doing this?

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Traditional 2D Prototype

My second adventure game prototype is a traditional 2D adventure engine designed to explore whether the following are feasible:

  • Developing it as a CocoaPod for reuse over a number of games
  • Using a standard JSON format that would describe room parameters (e.g. walkable areas, object locations, NPC locations, environmental triggers, etc.)
  • Using a separate JSON format to describe dialogue trees, with support for triggers, branching dialogue, and basic conditionals
  • Recreating something like this in C# for use in Unity

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AR Prototype

My first adventure game prototype is an ARKit-based app designed to explore the following:

  • ARKit plane detection and the automatic insertion of models once suitable planes have been detected (as opposed to user-initiated placement)
  • 3D modelling workflows between Blender and Xcode
  • Map searches for generic locations and then, using the results, managing distance, accessibility, storage, and game state
  • Geofencing triggers and how they might progress the game

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Prototype Plans

I am in the process of building two prototypes to explore different ways I could build an adventure game on iOS.

The first is an ARKit app. You interact with characters and then they send you off to real world locations to meet other characters, collect items, and solve puzzles.

The second is a more traditional 2D engine using SpriteKit and is heavily inspired by LucasArts’ legendary SCUMM engine. I want to create something modular that could then be used for many years in dozens of games.

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