Archive for the ‘mono’ Category

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

AngryAnt brings us a nice library for pathing and behavior trees in Unity3D with excellent editor integration. Path library I reviewed and is an extremely deep and complete library with autocomplete node collections from colliders, ability to connect different networks and detection from mesh as well as GUI tools using Unity3D editor scripts. The release is solid with documentation, video samples and is very easy to integrate. If you have a need for AI, bots, scripted animations or other madness in your game be sure to check out the pathing library and or the behave library from AngryAnt to implement or research.

Path Features

Specs:

  • Available for unity indie as well as pro licensees
  • Can run in webplayers as well as stand-alone
  • Requires no additional installations

Features:

  • Easy to use editor interface
  • Navmeshes
  • Waypoint networks
  • Cached pathes
  • Distributed processing using coroutines
  • Tag-filtered pathfinding
  • Hierarchal “grid network” pathfinding
  • Auto-recalculate on runtime network changes

Tutorials

I recommend you study the “Editor demo” unity project available on the Path download page. This project will be used in the tutorials below and contains an example Path setup.

Tutorial 1 – The basics

Runtime reference

The Path project comes with a small, but effective runtime API. The following links list the classes herein and their methods / properties.

Path unity package

Path package
The Path package contains all you need to start using the Path editor and run-time components in your project.

Demo unity project

Demo project
The Demo project is a complete unity 2.5 project with Path already added, a sample Path collection set up and example scripts requesting path calculations and following them.

Behave Features

Specs:

  • Available for unity indie as well as pro licensees
  • Can run in webplayers as well as stand-alone
  • Requires no additional installations at runtime

Features:

  • Implements behaviour trees
  • Re-use common behaviour by reference
  • Drag and drop editor interface inside the unity editor
  • Simple connection to character actions via C# interface
  • Designed trees are built to .net assembly code for maximum performance
  • Runtime debugging features
  • Powerful stand-alone editor – including web version

Behave unity package

Behave package
The Behave package contains all you need to start using the Behave editor, compiler and run-time in your project.

Behave 0.3b hotfix

Behave 0.3b hotfix
This hotfix solves a few critical issues with Behave 0.3b and unity 2.5. It’s still quite buggy and I’m working on a more extensive rewrite. Stay tuned.

Demo unity project

Demo project
The Demo project is a complete unity 2.1 project with Behave already added, a sample behaviour tree designed and compiled plus an example script showing how compiled behaviour trees are integrated with unity MonoBehaviour scripts.

Behave builder application

Behave builder
Behave builder is a stand-alone application offering the behaviour tree editors (excluding the compiler) outside the unity editor. It is currently OS X only. This application is also available in an online version – check it out in the “Preview” section of this page.

Example library

CitySimulation.behave
CitySimulation.behave is the library used in the demo project – saved as a Behave builder file. You can use this file directly in the online and offline version of Behave builder or import it to a unity project via the Behave “Assets” menu.
Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

The interactive space is blowing up with releases of really good iterations of software.

Just this week the iPhone 3.0 SDK was announced and available for download for developers, Unity3D 2.5 was released with a windows development capability (was previously mac only) and now Silverlight 3 is making some waves as it was released at #MIX09 (with the Moonlight open source mono version hopefully not too far behind…).

There are a few things that piqued my interest in Silverlight 3 beta notes and that is hardware acceleration on video, 3d canvas and pixel effects (unclear if these are hardware accelerated like shaders or pixel bender) similar to filters and with the possibility to write effects similar to shaders or Adobe’s Pixel Bender pbx shaders.

  • Support for Higher Quality Video & Audio. With support for native H.264/Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) Audio, live and on-demand IIS7 Smooth Streaming, full HD (720p+) playback, and an extensible decoder pipeline, Silverlight 3 brings rich, full-screen, stutter-free media experiences to the desktop. New and enhanced media features in Silverlight 3 include:
    • Live and on-demand true HD (720p+) Smooth Streaming. IIS Media Services (formerly IIS Media Pack), an integrated HTTP media delivery platform, features Smooth Streaming which dynamically detects and seamlessly switches, in real time, the video quality of a media file delivered to Silverlight based on local bandwidth and CPU conditions.
    • More format choice. In addition to native support for VC-1/WMA, Silverlight 3 now offers users native support for MPEG-4-based H.264/AAC Audio, enabling content distributors to deliver high-quality content to a wide variety of computers and devices.
    • True HD playback in full-screen. Leveraging graphics processor unit (GPU) hardware acceleration, Silverlight experiences can now be delivered in true full-screen HD (720p+).
    • Extensible media format support. With the new Raw AV pipeline, Silverlight can easily support a wide variety of third-party codecs. Audio and video can be decoded outside the runtime and rendered in Silverlight, extending format support beyond the native codecs.
    • Industry leading content protection. Silverlight DRM, Powered by PlayReady Content Protection enables protected in-browser experiences using AES encryption or Windows Media DRM.
  • Empowering Richer Experiences. Silverlight 3 contains new 3D graphics, animation features, hardware accelerated effects and text improvements that enable designers and developers to create next generation Web visuals. Additional features include:
    • Perspective 3D Graphics. Silverlight 3 allows developers and designers to apply content to a 3D plane. Users can rotate or scale live content in space without writing any additional code. Other effects include creating a queue in 3D and transitions.
    • Pixel Shader effects. These software based effects include blur and drop shadow. In addition, you can also write your own effect. Effects can be applied to any graphical content. An example would be to make a button appear depressed on rollover you could use a drop shadow effect on the pressed visual state.
    • Bitmap Caching. Silverlight 3 dramatically improves the rendering performance of applications by allowing users to cache vector content, text and controls into bitmaps. This feature is useful for background content and for content which needs to scale without making changes to its internal appearance.
    • New Bitmap API. With Silverlight 3, developers can now write pixels to a bitmap. Thus, they can build a photo editor to do red eye correction, perform edits on scanned documents or create specials effects for cached bitmaps from elements on the screen.
    • Themed application support. Developers can now theme applications by applying styles to their Silverlight 3 applications and changing them at runtime. Additionally, developers can cascade styles by basing them on each other.
    • Animation Effects. Silverlight 3 provides new effects such as spring and bounce. These make animation more natural. Developers can also now develop their own mathematical functions to describe an animation.
    • Enhanced control skinning. Silverlight 3 provides easier skinning capabilities by keeping a common set of controls external from an application. This allows the sharing of styles and control skins between different applications.
    • Improved text rendering & font support. Silverlight 3 allows far more efficient rendering and rapid animation of text. Applications also load faster by enabling the use of local fonts.
  • Improving Rich Internet Application Productivity. New features include:
    • 60+ controls with source code : Silverlight 3 is packed with over 60 high-quality, fully skinnable and customizable out-of-the-box controls such as charting and media, new layout containers such as dock and viewbox, and controls such as autocomplete, treeview and datagrid. The controls come with nine professional designed themes and the source code can be modified/recompiled or utilized as-is. Other additions include multiple selection in listbox controls, file save dialog making it easier to write files, and support for multiple page applications with navigation.
    • Deep Linking. Silverlight 3 includes support for deep linking, which enables bookmarking a page within a RIA.
    • Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Silverlight 3 enables users to solve the SEO-related challenges posed by RIAs. By utilizing business objects on the server, together with ASP.NET controls and site maps, users can automatically mirror database-driven RIA content into HTML that is easily indexed by the leading search engines.
    • Enhanced Data Support Silverlight 3 delivers:
      • Element to Element binding : UI designers use binding between two UI properties to create compelling UI experiences. Silverlight now enables property binding to CLR objects and other UI components via XAML, for instance binding a slider value to the volume control of a media player.
      • Data Forms. The Data Form control provides support for layout of fields, validation, updating and paging through data.
      • New features for data validation which automatically catch incorrect input and warn the user with built-in validation controls.
      • Support for business objects on both client and server with n-Tier data support. Easily load, sort, filter and page data with added support for working with data. Includes a new built-in CollectionView to perform a set of complex operations against server side data. A new set of .NET RIA services supports these features on the server.
    • Improved performance, through:
      • Application library caching, which reduces the size of applications by caching framework on the client in order to improve rendering performance.
      • Enhanced Deep Zoom, allows users to fluidly navigate through larger image collections by zooming.
      • Binary XML allows communication with the server to be compressed, greatly increasing the speed at which data can be exchanged.
      • Local Connection This feature allows communication between two Silverlight applications on the client-side without incurring a server roundtrip: for instance a chart in one control can communicate with a datagrid in another.
  • Advanced Accessibility Features. Silverlight 3 is the first browser plug-in to provide access to all system colors, allowing partially-sighted people to make changes such as high contrast color schemes for ease of readability by using familiar operating system controls.
  • Out of Browser Capabilities. The new out of browser experience in Silverlight 3 enables users to place their favorite Silverlight applications directly onto their PC and Mac, with links on the desktop and start menu—all without the need to download an additional runtime or browser plug-in. Further, the new experience enables Silverlight applications to work whether the computer is connected to the Internet or not—a radical improvement to the traditional Web experience. Features include:
    • Life outside the browser. Silverlight applications can now be installed to and run from the desktop as lightweight web companions. Thus, users can take their favorite Web applications with them, regardless of whether they are connected to the Internet or not.
    • Desktop shortcuts and start menu support. Silverlight applications can be stored on any PC or Mac computer’s desktop with links in the start menu and applications folder, and so are available with one-click access.
    • Safe and secure. Leveraging the security features of the .NET Framework, Silverlight applications run inside a secure sandbox with persistent isolated storage. These applications have most of the same security restrictions as traditional web apps and so can be trusted without security warnings or prompts, minimizing user interruptions.
    • Smooth installation. Because Silverlight applications are stored in a local cache and do not require extra privileges to run, the installation process is quick and efficient.
    • Auto-update. Upon launch, Silverlight applications can check for new versions on the server, and automatically update if one is found.
    • Internet connectivity detection. Silverlight applications can now detect whether they have Internet connectivity and can react intelligently including caching a users’ data until their connection is restored.

The great news is we have all major companies about software, mobile and the web are focused on interactive development. If you are an interactive developer with programming skills and design skills, this is the time.  Adobe, Microsoft, Apple, even Google with Chrome (javascript engine ineteractive focused), and others are all on development that suits needs and requires skills of people that know the interactive and web platforms and are able to develop the best solution with the best technology for that solution. The programming depth is getting deeper (Adobe’s Alchemy, Silverlight/Moonlight/Mono/C#/Unity3D) but the capabilities are growing exponentially with what you can do with these new markets.

There are so many new, emerging and re-newed market forces in interactive development that things are going to shake up a bit and there is plenty of opportunity no matter what platform you might be locked into.  However I recommend not locking yourself into one platform and exploring, but specializing in what you do best. There has never been a better time for developers looking to take the web to the next level with cooler game development visuals, more immersive virtual spaces and applications that have usabililty and design in new ways and mimic the great usable design of the iphone; for developers going mobile or specializing in web game development this is a good time to be in the game.

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

The unity3d platform is about to realize about 900% or 9x more possible market for selling their wares and I believe will blow up with unity 2.5.  Unity3d 2.5 will bring a windows IDE and development environment to unity3d developers. Many game companies are heavily invested in Windows and having this option is breaking down a huge wall to get this development platform and engine into many new hands and companies.

The best part about unity 3d development is the hardware acceleration, the fantastic pipeline, the ability to publish desktop, web, mobile (iphone) and console (wii) is pretty amazing.  All using the powerful mono open source .net framework as a base.

Full update list:

Windows Editor Support

Unity 2.5 adds full support for Windows Vista and XP, with 100% feature parity and interoperability with Mac OS X. The Unity Editor has been rebuilt to look, feel, and function identically on both operating systems, each running the same underlying engine. The best part? Unity on either platform can build games for either platform — cross-platform in the truest sense.

A Whole New Look

Find the tools you need quickly and easily. The Play buttons are front and center, clearly visible and inviting you to play, test, and improve your work. And when you do, they light up, dimming the rest of the application, drawing your attention to the most important things in the play experience you’re creating.
Precise Navigation and Placement Tools

Improved Usability

Snap any object to customizable increments of position, scale, and rotation values. Drag objects around, clamped to any surface collision. Manipulate objects in local or world space. Use the new flythrough controls to get around easily. And did we mention the completely redesigned rotation tool?

3ds Max Importing

Drag and drop your .max files right into the Editor, including support for all skeletal based animation, multiple UVs, and vertex colors. Autodesk 3ds Max now joins the existing support for Maya, Blender, and all other 3D applications that integrate with the latest FBX plugin on the Windows platform.

Completely Customizable Editor

UnityGUI, Unity’s own GUI creation system, now powers the entire Editor and allows you to integrate your own unique level design tools, AI control tools, debugging tools, difficulty tuning tools, or anything else you need. Over 130 new API entry points enable you to create specialized, customized editor tools and build them into the existing Editor interface.

Tabbed Interface

We took cues from the best designed applications, and the rewritten editor has received dozens of improvements. The most visible change is the tabbed interface, where every part of the interface can be moved, undocked to a secondary monitor, and even stacked to achieve logical grouping.

Information at Your Fingertips

We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure that you always have the info you need, when you need it. Model files have previews right inside the inspector. Audio Clips show their waveform with click-to-play behaviour. Meshes show the detailed rendering stats – and that’s just scratching the surface.

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

This is pretty impressive.  This is Moonlight for mono (a silverlight clone in mono.net for multiplatform) running inside of Ogre3D (a 3d renderer) as a material.

Argiris Kirtzidi (one of the developers behind Managed OGRE) modified Moonlight to run inside the Ogre3D engine. You can render Moonlight applications or XAML files inside Ogre3D.

Some details in no particular order:

-Moonlight uses cairo for the graphics. I developed a new backend for cairo that fully utilizes the GPU (through Ogre’s RenderSystem) for rendering. This is completely independent from Moonbeam and can be used standalone.

-Moonlight’s core is a native C++ engine and is not dependent in Mono. It is flexible enough to be scripted by anything, javascript, managed code, native code, etc. I’ve got it working on both Mono and the .NET framework and I plan on embedding and trying out Lua for more lightweight stuff.

-If you opt for using managed code, it should be possible, in theory, to utilize the silverlight controls, develop a silverlight widget using visual studio and have it run through moonbeam with full debugging support.

-Getting it to work on Windows was no small task as the moonlight team is completely focused on linux, and there doesn’t seem to be much consideration about cross-platform-ness. I think this is reasonable, though, since moonlight is a young project and their specific goal is to implement silverlight for *nix systems. The downside is that it reduces its flexibility, e.g. in order to inject keyboard/mouse events I will have to create and pass to it GDK events or make heavy patches to it.
Hopefully, there will be more push in the future to get the *nix dependencies abstracted away from the core moonlight engine.