Jay Gould

The beginning of my journey into Unity and game development

October 04, 2022

Intro to game development

The last few months for me have been a whirlwind. June and July was spent in preparation for a getting married in Greece, August was spent preparing for job interviews, September was spent largely in Thailand for my honeymoon, and October was taken up mostly getting settled in to my new job role. This cumulated in a break from my usual once-a-month blog rambling schedule, and I’ve got to say, I’ve missed it!

Back in the middle of October I decided on a spontaneous purchase of a Meta Quest 2 VR headset. I’m aware of the hate that Facebook is getting for various reasons, including that of the Metaverse, but my purchase of their VR headset was not based on a desire to talk to random people in one of Facebook’s Horizon worlds for hours on end. I wanted it for general, relatively low cost VR usage. This includes gaming, social, and of course, software development.

The only thing I knew about the Meta Quest 2 before my trip to the shop that night is that it could be used to run Facebook’s Metaverse, but also be used as a gaming device if connected to a PC, with the ability to play Steam VR games. I heard about this on a podcast of Hard Fork, which I’d recommend listening to if you’re in to tech, which you probably are, reading this. I started with a few nights on the Metaverse, which honestly could be a separate blog post on it’s own, but that’s for another time. After I realised I didn’t much like the Metaverse, I decided to try out some VR games.

The games I played were Phasmaphobia - an incredibly scary, jump-fest of a horror game, and Boneworks - a Portal-esque adventure/shooter game. Boneworks was absolutely brilliant and after getting over the initial sickness and finding my “VR legs”, I spent hours running around an immersive world, shooting robots, struggling to reload guns in an exciting, real-feeling way, and probably having one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had in a long time.

I stumbled on a Reddit post explaining that Boneworks was a good game for modding, and that there was a Metal Gear Solid VR mod out there somewhere. With MGS being my absolute favourite game ever, I pursued that but unfortunately couldn’t get it to work. Finally, I found myself looking through discussions on modding in Unity game development engine, which I was finding really exciting. This was the starting point to what turned out to be 2 weeks of 3 hour after work nights making sense of Unity, C#, and game development, which had a LOT of pain points being a total beginner. I decided to document where I started and what I’d learned so I could share it here for anyone coming from software development who wants to dabble in Unity!

I decided to work towards a specific goal in my learning of a really basic game - a MGS VR program, which comes in 2 parts. Firstly, I wanted to re-make the MGS VR game from the original PS1 game:

Intro to game development

This is a very simple mini game within the main Metal Gear Solid game, where you play a character who has to go from point A to point B on a kind of obstacle course. It’s fun enough to make me want to do it, but easy enough where it might just be possible.

The second goal was to take what I’d done above, and try and turn that into an actual VR game that I could play with my Meta Quest 2 headset.

This whole process came with various challenges, which I’ll be documenting over the next few blog posts to give an idea of what was involved. It’s really basic stuff for someone who know game development, but for me it was (and is) a whole new challenging world of unknowns.

Senior Engineer at Haven

© Jay Gould 2023, Built with love and tequila.