Posts Tagged ‘unity3d’

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Well it has happened, Unity announced WebGL exporting.  This was a much needed announcement and our flash man on the inside, UnitZeroOne / Ralph Hauwert of good ol’ Papervision days, helped make it so. Thanks Ralph and Unity team!

This feature is in Unity 5 as a preview just announced but with the impending plugin-pocapyse I am sure it is a major focus at Unity to get to production stage.

The plugin-pocalypse is happening. Both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are taking issue and removing plugin support.  Recently I was a bit worried about web exporting and the player/plugin support as NPAPI is being deprecated in favor of PPAPI in Chrome, so Unity, Silverlight and other NPAPI built plugins would have to be rebuilt in PPAPI (unlikely as Unity already maintains NaCL) or another path. Chrome will not allow NPAPI plugins to run at the end of 2014 and already warn each time you use them. Side note: Flash plugin has been updated to PPAPI and will not go away at the end of the year, Unity player won’t either but it may not work in Chrome without explicitly allowing it or at all, still to be seen however they said they will stop supporting NPAPI December 2014 and all NPAPI plugins will no longer work. Mozilla also is fighting against plugins in favor of standards like WebGL so this entirely solves it for Firefox, for Chrome it will still run but slightly slower so there is a transition period.

Mobile really killed the plugin but it opened up standards that allow WebGL to take over. I am happy to see Unity jump on this and bring a better web export that is in line with the best out there currently with asm.js/WebGL and the performance it can bring.

Unity really does add a tons of value if everything just works in WebGL exporting as 2d in WebGL is very mature with lots of supporting platforms, but 3D and stable engines are still lacking.  (Until of course Three.js rules the world and may when it is easier to use WebGL in native apps for store like this). Let’s hope browser support for asm.js and Firefox native speeds grows, but most Unity games will run without needing it (2d games, simple games that already run well in WebGL performance ranges).  So you can easily see the Unity Player, NaCL exports going away over the next few cycles when WebGL exporting is solid possibly if it isn’t already. Another option is a grace period where Chrome exports need to be NaCL for a while if the WebGL support isn’t ready for primetime by then but from what it looks it may be there (although full support can take some time). The plugin-pocalypse is here but there is a path forward, granted game portals and other sites that host current Unity player content may have alot of work to do this year.

This change couldn’t come soon enough as we had to start thinking about other options for web content, Unity successfully hurdled this one.

There are tons of other great things in Unity 5 (currently up for pre-order) and will be out later this year, but WebGL and “plugin-less” exporting is the driver on this version and we are bought in for the next round.

Unity 5.0 Announced Features

  • The aforementioned “Early Access” to WebGL support meaning no plugins required in compatible browsers
  • 64-bit CPU support
  • Real-Time Global Illumination — the over-simplified version: the lighting system used by games like Battlefield 4 and Eve Online (a system called “Enlighten) for their more advanced lighting tricks is now built into Unity.
  • Light baking previews — Light mapping can take a while because every little tweak required a complete rebake. Light maps can now be previewed in real-time.
  • Unity Cloud — Remember the built-in ad solution that Unity announced around the middle of last year? That’ll launch with Unity 5.
  • New audio system Both more efficient and more powerful. Unity 5.0 has a proper audio mixing board to help developers tweak the way things sound in different in-game environments.
  • Nvidia PhysX 3.3 While Unity has used Nvidia’s physics engine for years, the version built into Unity 4.0 has been outdated for a while now. 5.0 taps PhysX 3.3, which is up to 2x as fast.

Unity 5 will probably be available later in the year and may launch around Q3/Q4, can’t wait to play with the WebGL exporter. Here’s hoping it is solid by the end of the year.

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Unity 4.1 is out.  Although this blog appears to have become a release watch for Unity, it is because Unity has been nailing it.

Apple TV AirPlay 

This 4.1 update that brings AirPlay to Unity games is a big leap in the new consoles allowing many more games to easily stream to the big screen.

AirPlay support

Unity 4.1 brings you full multi-screen AirPlay support. iOS device users running version 4.3 or later can use AirPlay to stream content direct to their HDTV.

What’s more, with AirPlay, they can use their iPad or iPhone as a game controller – running and controlling the game from their iOS handheld device whilst watching the action unfold on the big screen.

Read more about Unity for iOS here.

Apple TV and AirPlay streaming, Ouya, Steambox buzz and probably a Play! device soon (chromebox or buy up Oyua), and more are bringing a big change to the openness of console/tv game development. Everywhere games you take with you and new consoles really.  This is a huge change in that sea. Native apps on the devices will also improve this new perception, as soon as Apple TV SDK is updated for apps (the other important part of this system) it will be a game changer for tv apps/games.

Apple is allegedly planning a special event for March that could introduce a software development kit (SDK) for the Apple TV, according to a research note to investors from Jefferies analyst Peter Misek. Basically, an SDK would allow developers to start submitting applications that would be optimized for your television screen and available for purchase via Apple TV. It could be the start of a whole new era of TV — and even gaming — by some predictions.

Just like chronically incorrect Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Misek is under the assumption that Apple will eventually release a television set, which is what the SDK would pave the way for. He also expects the fabled Apple television set will have a screen size in the range of 42-inches to 55-inches that costs about $1,500.

And while Misek doesn’t expect Apple to mention the TV set at the rumored March event, he does anticipate that the Apple TV SDK will be available in September or October of this year.
Read more at http://venturebeat.com/2013/02/13/apple-tv-sdk-launch-date/#lXSIOTAYkr3qb6G8.99

AirPlay has always been possible and TV Out on Apple devices since they added it but Airplay for apps and games is a big change for consoles. Having that easily accessible for many game developers. Regarding apps on the actual Apple TV device, hopefully Apple does launch the SDK this year and it isn’t false hope like before but when Unity3D adds support for AirPlay it gets interesting. Lots of other games have this but it will be more common. Gaming in your living room with tablets (essentially the WiiU) is becoming more a reality.  Lots of fun ideas for multiplayer, switching airplay streams for spectating and more. Yes tablets and pads might be more expensive,  but the game markets are entirely different and tablets, phones, pods etc are all challenging both traditional console markets and traditional handheld markets and their pricing.

Get started in Unity 4.1 with some help from AngryAnt. AngryAnt’s DeviceDisplay sample on porting screen out to AirPlay in unity gist.

Unity also updated the Memory Profiler which is excellent, the profiling tools are getting better and in combination with XCode Profiling embedded is getting easier to iterate on.

Developers more than ever need to make multiplatform games and support iOS, Android, possibly Windows Phone +  new console markets and the web (html5/webgl/unity/flash) and desktop (Win/Mac) that exist and are still quite large.  Lots of opportunity ahead in disruption, Unity is in the apex.

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Unity 3 has been released.  It was released to the world late yesterday.  I have been using it for a few beta releases and it is very nice and many great improvements.  One awesome improvement is the occlusion culling was ported from iPhone to all Unity builds. Other notable features are a unified editor for all platforms, deferrered rendering and more.

Grab Unity 3 and take a spin.

Occlusion Culling Demo

Unity 3 Feature – Occlusion Culling with Umbra from Unity3D on Vimeo.

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Unity is a great and agile company that responded to the iOS4 changes with something very nice, a C++ option to develop with the Unity engine on the iOS. They will implement this if using Mono is barred which so far hasn’t happened.  I have to say I wish this was an option for the Unity Engine all the time and hope they implement it anyways. For now Joachim Ante on the the Unity blog says this:

We continue to be excited about the iPhone, iPod touch and iPod as platform targets for Unity developers. While we don’t think C++ is the best language to write game code , using C++ as a scripting language has memory and performance advantages on low-end devices. This is a great feature to have for developers who want to squeeze the last ounce of memory & performance out of their games.

We still can’t believe Apple will force developers into choosing a specific language for development. And as mentioned, Apple is still approving every Unity-based game we know of. In case the situation changes, rest assured that we are working this Plan B.

We’ll be ready to talk more about this as well as share some time-line information with you soon, while of course waiting to find out if any of this will actually be necessary.

The Unity Plan B is that the C++ engine code that mimics as closely as it can to the Mono .net C# or Javascript code. From the samples on the blog the C++ and Mono (javascript in this case) samples are really similar.

Many current engines are legacy or have lots of bloat, unless you write your own, or maybe even still then. Though this is looking really clean for C++ game engine code, at least in comparison to current industry leaders for indie engines.

It would be a beautiful C++ library to use even if Apple doesn’t require it. Compared to the other indie game engines out this would be a sweet C++ engine for indies and hope they do this no matter. C++ can be written cleanly and with influence from a simplified C#/Javascript engine and clean API it makes for a killer C++ engine that makes sense. Right now native is really attrctive on embedded for some years to come.

A very basic comparison from their blog:

Javascript Sample

function Update(){
    //Spin the object around the world origin
    transform.RotateAround(Vector3.zero, Vector3.up, 20 * Time.deltaTime);
}

C# Sample

using System.Collections;
using UnityEngine;
public class Example  : MonoBehaviour {
    void Update(){
        //Spin the object around the world origin
        transform.RotateAround(Vector3.zero, Vector3.up, 20 * Time.deltaTime);
    }
}

C++ Sample

#include "UnityEngine.h"
class Example : public MonoBehaviour {
public:
    void Update() {
        transform.RotateAround(Vector::zero, Vector3::up, 20 * Time::GetDeltaTime());
    }
};

Things I am wondering…

  • Will this help porting to Android versions if they use the NDK?
  • How much smaller will my app be if I use the C++ version (attractive feature since the mono dlls are pretty big – even though I really dig mono)?
  • Wouldn’t a C++ version be a better base with pluggable scripting in C# if you want? Maybe an option for Lua with a similar API signature for all? Ok maybe over-engineering there…
Sunday, April 11th, 2010

iTween is a tweening kit for Unity that is in the same style as TweenLite, Tweener and others in the tween format that is common for flash tween libraries in Actionscript 3. This library is available in javascript and C# for Unity 3d Projects and is quite fast and solid.

iTween is a simple one file drop in for some great scripted animation and easing that is very reminiscent of Flash using Penner equations and common libraries so it is easy to get started. It works for web player, desktop and iPhone Unity (however long that lasts).

Some sample code looks like this:

private GameObject go;
private GameObject cam;

void Awake()
{
    go = gameObject;
    cam = Camera.main.gameObject;
}

private void Start()
{
    iTween.rotateFrom(go, 1.5f, 0, null, 90, null, iTween.EasingType.easeInExpo);
    iTween.moveFrom(go, 1.5f, 0, null, 3.5f, null, iTween.EasingType.easeInExpo);
    iTween.colorTo(go, .3f, 1.5f, 3, .5f, 1.2f);
    iTween.shake(cam, .8f, 1.5f, null, .3f, null);
    iTween.scaleTo(go, 2, 2.3f, null, 2, null);
    iTween.rotateBy(go, null, 4.3f, .5f, null, null);
    iTween.moveTo(go, null, 4.6f, null, 1.2f, null);
    iTween.moveTo(go, null, 5.8f, null, 0, null, iTween.EasingType.easeInExpo);
    iTween.shake(cam, .8f, 6.8f, null, .3f, null);
    iTween.colorTo(go, .5f, 7.6f, .165f, .498f, .729f);
    iTween.scaleTo(go, null, 7.6f, null, 1, null);
}
Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Unity is showing no signs of slowing down in making a consolidated, easy pipeline for game developers and creators to bring their wares to the masses on the top platforms. Already Unity 3D is the best 3d web browser plugin at the current time with export paths to web, desktop (mac and PC), iPhone/touch and Wii. But now we will see support for PS3, iPad (obvious as it is a iPhone/touch) and Android (most likely with the help of the C++ NDK rather than the Java SDK).  XBOX 360 support was announced last year.

This is pretty huge even for such a small and innovative company. I guess it means it will be time to buy an upgrade soon. Unity so far has been giving feature after feature for free for current license holders, this one seems big enough to justify a major version increase.

Gamasutra comments on other great features:

This third iteration will also incorporate Umbra Software’s occlusion culling product, which is designed help performance for games with large, open scenes and complex geometry. The platform’s top-end version, Unity Pro, will include both Umbra and Beast at no additional cost.

Unity Technologies updated its Unity iPhone for version 3.0 to include streaming audio support for smaller build size, Bluetooth multiplayer support, faster in-game GUIs”, and a 2D sprite engine. Furthermore, the company’s iPhone product will offer performance improvements that promise to provide faster frame rates.

The company says that with its new platform support for PlayStation 3, iPad, and Android, it offers developers an opportunity to target a larger install base than any other game engine. Unity’s game engine currently can produce games for Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Wii, with support for Xbox 360 announced last October.

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

If the question is if Unity can do interactives as smooth and stylish as Flash I think you may soon find out.  Carlos Ulloa of Papervision 3D fame has kicked it up a notch in Unity 3D with this interactive very reminiscent of the Ford Focus demo that helped bring in Papervision 3D for flash in style. Gotta say though a mini is much better than a Ford Focus.

Flash is still the leader in web interactives and even marketing interactive 3d, Unity largely replaced Director and tools like it and high-end hardware rendered required interactives and games. This interactive by HelloEnjoy has loads of polygons, unity physics system, lighting, environment mapping, showroom cameras, reflection, skid decals, highly detailed mesh and more.  Just take a peek inside the vehicle and at the rims for the detail that is impossible with the 2000 poly limit of Flash 3D software rendered engines.

Web interactives this heavy aren’t doable in a non hardware rendered player like Flash.  Unity is looking to pretty much own this level of quality in a browser.  I don’t think I have seen another interactive looking this good with Unity 3D.

Unity still is lacking many features that Flash has in support of making interactives for the web such as webcam support, mic support, better video support, better gui system, html support (although flash barely) and a larger install base but Unity could easily take the high-end advertising market in addition to owning highly immersive games that need hardware rendering which it is already doing for web gaming.  It is 2010 soon, most computers have a decent video card.  Put them to use!

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

If you are looking to get into Unity 3d coding/creating a book is a good place to start to get the full overview. Recently, the first Unity book has been released by Will Goldstone via Packt Publishing.

The book is written in a simple yet rapid pace but starts out from beginner level 3d introductions and really explores all areas needed to give someone the handrails to start tinkering on their own in the dark of their labs with Unity. The book explores an introduction to 3d (the biggest hurdle for most in moving to unity although it also does 2d), terrrains (terrains aren’t supported in iphone yet keep this in mind if those are your aims), moving players and cameras, collision detection with colliders and rays, working with prefabs, creating HUDs, creating menu screens and working with the the GUI system in Unity (which can be strange for people coming from flash with event based user interfaces), loading/instantiating objects in the 3d world, particle systems, physics and lots of examples and minigames showing off these areas.

The book is alot like Unity itself in that it gets up and running quickly, gives the tools to do some damage and then opens the door to developing with Unity. After you develop longer in a platform you learn how to dig deeper into all these areas including scripting to do lots of what the Unity Editor can do for you but there is so much to take in that a good starting point to catch onto is needed.  Unity Game Development Essentials, the first Unity book, fills that role easily.

I have been using Unity as a hobbyist then at work at a game company starting in 2007 since it started to invade and take over from Director in 2007 ish then infiltrating the Papervision 3D and flash 3D developers, even with that experience this book still did a great job of exploring the tools and is approachable for almost anyone with some basic scripting skills and a desire to make some creative stuff.

Even if you have been doing Unity for a while a book is always good to see techniques and support authors and community members that give back to help others learn. Pick it up! (Amazon) (Packt Publishing)

If you aren’t ready to make the leap to Unity just yet there is also a great book from Paul Tondeur called Papervision Essentials for 3D in Flash, he has also done some projects in Unity to Flash communication.

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

Unity 3D Indie is now free for all developers and just called Unity now.  The Unity 3D Pro license is still $1500 and worth every penny.  But this news is great for indies and moreso the pro users that want the Unity Web Player to have more penetration and installs in the market.

Companies like EA, Cartoon Network and Lego are using Unity 3D and just about every game developer I know including myself has been excited about the possibility of an engine that allows creation of hardware rendered web based games and desktop games, which are multi-platform and paths into the mobile market (iPhone/Touch) and console like Wii and XBOX in development (for additional licenses).

When Unity 3D released support for Windows as a development environment in addition to Mac it  literally blew up as predicted this year. Also, Unity 2.6 is out which is big because it finally supports third party source control such as Subversion and Perforce. Many of the barriers that were keeping it from integration into gaming pipelines are gone:  the price, the single platform and the source code integration issues.  Unity 3D has addressed all those issues.

What are you waiting for? Get your Unity3D on!

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Torque 3D is out of beta and officially released to the world.  Torque was one of the first indie affordable game engines and they continue that work at Garage Games with a web enabled Torque 3D output much like the Unity 3D player.

The pipeline is not yet as streamlined as  as Unity 3D as Torque has many legacy formats and components such as DTS models, DIF interiors and DSQ animation files that are specific to the Torque Engine.  But they have added support for COLLADA models and the community is strong for Torque 3D. Also, since Torque 3D is built on an older engine but updated for modern uses, the file formats and loading is streamlined for low poly and web based games that need small asset sizes but still have quality.

Like Unity 3D there are many paths to truly get your game published and available to many platforms from desktop on Windows and Mac to web players in all major browsers (and iPhone, Wii and XBox with more $$$). This is an amazing time in game development.

When I initially got into heavier game development in early 2003 after moving from Half-life to Unreal and then the affordable Torque, there were two major things missing, a web player export and a good editor with intellisense.  Torque 3D provides the web player export and Torsion is a great IDE for TorqueScript beyond using Visual Studio or XCode for C++ source editing.

Some really nice tools include the River Editor and Road and Path editor that complement the great terrain editor and scene and asset editors that make production fairly quick in the Torque tool chain.

Road and Path Editor

Road and Path Editor – Torque 3D from TorquePowered on Vimeo.

River Editor

River Editor – Torque 3D from TorquePowered on Vimeo.

The good news is there is now two quality toolsets in Unity 3D and Torque that for about $1500 you can get a good pipeline and engine that will enable you to create great immersive games for many platforms and the web.  If you got the skills the platforms are there to get your game out to the world whichever platform you choose.  Similarly to the Flash vs Silverlight vs Canvas progress, with competition in this area it will keep both platforms innovating and supporting developers needs first.

For more immersive games that require hardware rendering beyond Flash capabilities Unity 3D and Torque 3D are now here for your creations.