Panzers Unleashed! From BTEC Game to Community Project

About six months ago, I started working on a game for my BTEC project. However, things wen’t sour with the school and I no longer am a student there. I had a choice. Go for a super simple clone of something like Flappy Bird, or make a game that’s a bit more like a AAA game. So what did I do? I went for the AAA game.

The AAA game route was somewhat hard. I built it in Unity 3d with Networking (more on this later). The game? A World of Tanks/War Thunder game styled around the hit anime and manga Girls und Panzer. Why? I like the series and had completed it about then. Anyway, it was a semi-bad idea. Finding and then texturing and using tank models that are Creative Commons/free to use is difficult. However, the Unity Asset Store pulled through and found me a Panzer IV that I re-textured to Ooarai’s Anglerfish team skin.

The next hurdle was Networking. This is where things went horridly wrong. The initial version had two cubes that connected together and could interact. Good. And after a few months, we had a working networking thing with fully functional shooting etc. However, I went to create a “release” variant. This is where the curse of UNET strikes. To give some background, this is what Unity publish about UNET:

Unity Personal

For beginners, students and hobbyists who want to explore and get started with Unity.

FREE

No credit card required

Yeah, that’s a lie. It would cost me, on estimate, £150 a month to run this. Not going to happen. So I turned to an old friend, Photon Unity Networking, who offer legitimately free hosted networking for you. Yes you can only have 20 players concurrently, but it works fine. And is more than functional. However, this caused issues. The way that I was managing the original tank driving was poor. The implementation was terrible, and it resulted in the tanks flying rather than driving as they should. Not good enough. Back to square one. And this is where we are at.
For PTU, I picked up a copy of Physics Tank Maker from ChobiGames (it was on sale!). From this, I started building the game as it is.
The current state is to use the Physics Tank Maker to handle all tank physics driving etc. The only thing I really have to do is synchronise all the players together. Not hard right? Think again. The current tests give me anywhere between 3-6 players spawned in a two player game who are unable to interact and who’s movement is not synchronised. Amazing. However, this is vastly better than flying tanks and there is a working tutorial level.

Discord

The GuP Discord has been a massive help, partly by providing me with good textures and artwork, and partly with advice and Alpha testing. They’re really cool (and I now moderate there). Overall, a working game should appear in around 6 months.

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