Last weekend I exhibited Axis Descending at GDEX, the Midwest's largest game developer expo, and provided both a workshop for Dev Day and a talk throughout the expo. Having exhibited a year prior, it was refreshing to see the event grow and transition into the Columbus Convention Center space. Many of the exhibitors and guests returned as well, so I was welcomed with familiar faces and reconnected with a few folks I hadn't seen since.
I ran into a bit of a roadblock, though. During the first day of the expo I realized my game wasn't performing well. The frame rate was suffering drastic and never-before-seen drops. After opening up the project files and taking a crack at fixing the issue quickly I discovered there was something else going entirely that I couldn't pinpoint so easily. Over the course of the afternoon and evening I did resolve a number of issues resulting in the drops in frame rate, enough to show it off throughout Sunday, but it still lead me down this spiral of frustration and concern. I have been pushing against oddities like these for so long with the project. They all seem to involve the engine itself rather than my own knowledge or ability.
Axis is something I have been working on for quite some time. After deliberating with my wife and closest colleagues I decided to switch from Flash to Unity. Or try, at least. This is huge. The need is there. Unity will provide an escape from all of these issues of scale, output and accessibility with the files necessary to play the game. Documentation and debugging assistance will be plentiful. Learning more of the engine and its capabilities will improve my own teaching abilities for some project-oriented courses. The list goes on.
The players at the expo were all engaged with the game. After refining the initial experience so much I believe I had narrowed down a great focus and have been able to pull players in. All of the notes taken over the weekend only involved a few general bug fixes or oversights. Yet, now I'm looking at having to rebuild all of that. Reconstructing it all. Assembling it as-is, with a few alterations I'm sure, to keep all of that effort and time and growth intact.
I am afraid. Years have been spent on this. Should I have done this sooner?