Starting Forest Stories

I’ve started working on a game in Unity. I want to learn more about Unity, and I don’t want to commit to a full game idea because it’ll inevitably get complicated while I’m still just learning how to do basic things. Like my last project, I want a simple idea that I can work on and not feel like a failure if I don’t complete it.

What I’m Making

I started off with two ideas:

  1. I wanted to make something where you have NPCs moving around and performing tasks
  2. I got all of Kenney’s asset packs for free and would use the assets to come up with a game idea rather than coming up with an idea and struggling to find assets for it

So after some thinking and looking at the assets in the Kenney packs I’ve decided that I want to make something a bit like A Dark Room but with visuals. I like that the game starts with you assigning your people to simple tasks and that mechanics are added over time and I want to make something like that.

So, the game: you run a small farm by a forest and people come and work for you for a variety of reasons. The game will start in mid-winter and someone will come seeking food and shelter. You take them in and they decide to stay and work for you, and thus you gain your first worker.

The work they do will just be harvesting a resource from a location. Most likely food from a field, but I’d like the game to have seasons, and if I do that then I could make the farming aspect slightly more realistic. Rather than continuously harvesting food somehow, they work the fields over the year and your food stockpile is replenished come harvest.

I also need to resist having grand ideas.

I’m calling it Forest Stories because I’m imagining more people joining and leaving the farm for a variety of reasons and you get to learn their stories.

Current Tasks

  • A house and a resource point that your workers move between
  • Numbers change as your workers perform their tasks
  • Something that indicates the passage of time, even if it’s just changing some text at the top of the screen

Things I’ve Learned About Unity So Far


I could see shadows in the editor view but not the game view. After a lot of googling it turned out to be because I’d set the camera too far away so it wasn’t rendering the shadows.

I then ran the game on my phone and once again couldn’t see any shadows. This turned out to be because the default graphics settings for mobile disable realtime shadows. I enabled them, but it’s an indicator thatI need to learn about baking shadows in as this game doesn’t really need dynamic lighting. It does look awesome though.


None of the Unity videos I’d watched so far had mentioned the Terrain object. I’d been using gameobjects as my floor which was fine as I hadn’t needed anything fancy like a non-flat surface, or textures.

Something I’d found annoying about Unity but understood why it worked the way it did was that when you drag an asset into the scene it’s just right in the middle of the camera rather than near your other assets. Annoying, but it can’t know where you’re working so I assumed it was just a fact of life.

But then I learned about the terrain object! I learned to texture one, and then imagine my amazement when I dragged an asset in to my scene and it snapped to the terrain! Of course Unity would be able to line things up when you use an object that it recognises as “the floor”.

Assets are weird

The assets from the packs I got are all sorts of sizes. Trees are smaller than tents, mountains are tiny and fireplaces are enormous. They’re low-poly so it doesn’t matter, but I’d assumed someone making an asset pack would be building their assets to the same scale. Maybe they did and there was some kind of issue with the export and import processes. Who knows! I ended up putting a two meter tall (well, two units, but let’s call a unit a meter for simplicity) object in my scene to use as a reference.