A big challenge I’ve faced recently has to do with data.
Getting data from non-technical people.
James created this fancy spreadsheet for Barbara to fill out for the divination part of fortunes and only have to deal with one card at a time. After handing me this huge spreadsheet I had to figure out how to get the game to use this data.
Proprietary data formats and multiple build targets
After a little bit of google research I got Unity3d and excel to play nicely and had a pseudo-database set up running pulling in data from multiple sheets in the excel file for various parts of the game. Now if any of the card values needed to change, not just the divinations but card names we could modify the spreadsheet and not worry about changing any of the code. Sounded brilliant but it only worked on a standalone windows player. A web player or android build got stuck repeatedly trying to pull in the data from a class it couldn’t properly access.
You must take your eyes away from the tree before you can see the forest
I spent awhile butting my head over many days trying to get this excel file reading to work on various formats. I was almost ready to set up a PHP script on our site for the web player, but didn’t like having a separate solution for that and for android. Eventually looking at workflowy I realized i was trying to solve the wrong problem. I shouldn’t be trying to read the excel file on these separate platforms. I just need the relevant data from the excel file. Some poking from that angle revealed the Resources class in unity3d. Between a little bit of work condensing the data I need into one sheet, saving that off to a tab delimited text file, and writing some code to parse that file I’ve got the current version of fortunes working with the data on android, windows, and the web player. I don’t have a mac to test that but I’ll probably get my fiancée to test that sometime soon.