Tag Archive for: Unity3D

RMC Primer: Everything Virtual Reality (VR)

Category: Industry News, RMC News     |     Tags: C#, Games, Mobile, Unity3D

RMC Primer: Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality is here. Since 2016 we can play high quality experiences.

In my previous article Finding Your Next Unity3D Job I overview what companies want in prospective candidates and outline where you can search for available positions. And in Get a Job In Game Development, I discuss the specifics of a programming career in the games industry

The games industry spans myriad platforms. Historically, PC (Commodore, Amiga, Dos, Windows, Mac, Linux) through the 70’s and 80’s led the medium. Consoles (Atari, Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft) and handheld (especially Nintendo) brought the first game-specific hardware to consumers. The 2007 release of the iPhone brought the critical masses to the device that would launch more games per year than any other platform before it. People who ‘never play games’ started to play, and continue to play today. The primary leader of advancement each year has been ‘better graphics’. Visuals are important to the marketing, promotion, and experience of playing video games. While the history of that technology spans decades, the number of other major technology advances is relatively small.

Its a short list. Here are the most significant paradigms in video games:

What is VR?

Virtual reality (VR) is a computer technology that uses software-generated realistic images, sounds and other sensations to replicate an a real environment or an imaginary setting, and simulates a user’s physical presence in this environment to enable the user to interact with this space. The essential hardware is a VR Headset.

Visuals

Visuals are at the essence of VR.

If all humans had just one eye, we would see still see robust visual information. But compare that to 2 eyes. Our 2 eyes look in the same general direction at the same objects. However, the offset position of our eyes (inches apart) and the unique angle (looking in slightly towards the nose) give us much more information than one eye could give. Through stereopsis we sense depth, perspective, and motion at a more profound level.

In traditional software development, visual content is designed for one screen of output (e.g. computer monitor or TV). This is essentially a one-eyed perception of the world within our games. For decades, we have adapted to see those worlds as realistic.

The perceived psychological distance between our ‘self’ and our ‘game’ collapses. The subtleties of where we are sitting, how we are sitting, and the angle of the screen are insignificant. In one-screen gaming, we are not ourselves, we are the screen.

However, the essential difference in VR is the simultaneous output of 2 high-resolution, high frame-rate screens. For the first time in the virtual gaming world we are gaining the same benefits of stereopsis in the physical world.

In VR gaming, we are no longer our game screen, we are ourself.

Input

Traditional gaming input devices include keyboard, mouse, controller (joystick/gamepad), and more recently gesture and voice. VR can and will embrace those devices too.

Primary Inputs

  • Headset – the position, angle, and acceleration of your head are input.
  • Motion Controller – The position, angle, and acceleration of your hand(s) are input.
  • Gamepad – Traditional console game controllers are also popular.
  • Others… (Magic Leap)

VR Challenges / Solutions

VR Platforms

While there have been attempts at VR in the past, 2016 marks the relevancy of VR to the mainstream. The cost, quality, and distribution are finally here. Some are already released and before the end of the year, all the known devices will be released.

Top Platforms

  • Vive – Highest price, best hardware
  • Oculus
  • Playstation VR – Lower price non-mobile with massive distribution potential (with 40 million PS4’s sold as of October, 2016)

Others

VR Software

Forever, we as game players waited for the right hardware. Its here. Now the game development industry is scrambling to provide us content.

Games

Movies

  • The Wild West of VR Narrative ( link )

Experiences

Uses For VR

Entertainment is the primary usage for the VR we see today, but telepresence, healthcare, and education have massive potential too.

Education

  • LifeLique (Life Like) – Interactive 3D models for STEM learning
  • Virtual Reality Meets Education ( link )

Developing VR

Apple has yet (October 2016) to announce specific plans for VR/AR, but the major game development platforms are embracing VR. Some more quickly and completely than others. Here are a few leading options.

 

Resources

  1. Big Storage Is The New Reality In Virtual Reality ( link )
  2. Investing in VR Could Kill VR ( link )

Unity3D Architectures: Entitas

Unity3D Architectures: Entitas

Unity3D is a powerful suite of tools (Project IDE, Code IDE, run-time) for game development. In Unity3D Game Architectures I present six different techniques for setting up your game. Depending on the size and maturity of your team, you are probably using some form the archtectures presented there. I recommend checking that article out first, then read below.

A newer architecture called Entitas  was presented at Unity’s Unite Conferences (2015 and 2016). I saw the most recent presentation and recently made time for a deeper dive to learn the basics.

I created a few projects. The full source is linked at the end of the article

  • Entitas Template – An ideal starting point for your next Entitas project
  • Entitas ‘Pong’ – I started with the template and created a simple, complete game

While making those projects, reading documentation, and dissecting other freely available Entitas projects, I learned a lot.

Entitas for C# / Unity3D

Entitas is a super fast Entity Component System Framework (ECS) with a version created specifically for C# and Unity3D.

As the creators explain — Entitas is open source. Internal caching and blazing fast component access makes it second to none. Several design decisions have been made to work optimal in a garbage collected environment and to go easy on the garbage collector. Entitas comes with an optional code generator which radically reduces the amount of code you have to write and lets you write code that is super fast, safe and screams its intent.

Here is an excerpt from my Entitas Pong game.

//  Create human player
Entity whitePaddleEntity                     = _pool.CreateEntity ();
whitePaddleEntity.AddPaddle            (PaddleComponent.PaddleType.White);
whitePaddleEntity.AddResource        ("Prefabs/PaddleWhite");
whitePaddleEntity.AddVelocity          (Vector3.zero);
whitePaddleEntity.WillAcceptInput   (true);

Entitas Structure

Diagram Fundamentals
  • Entities – Hold Components – E.g. PlayerEntity
  • Groups – Hold groups of Entities (as a query optimization) – E.g. BulletGroup
  • Components – Hold public variables ( Has no methods) – E.g. VelocityComponent
  • Systems – Query entity/components ( Has methods to do logic ). Most of your code is here, typically acting on one or more groups. E.g. VelocitySystem
  • Controllers – Monobehavior that bridge the ‘unity world’ with the ‘ECS world’. E.g. InputController

Example:

The InputController (Monobehavior) listens for Unity.Input on Update. When the phone’s screen is tapped, the InputController creates an InputEntity, each with an InputComponent with data regarding the tap The InputSystem (ISystem) processes once, only when new InputEntities exist, and it updates the PlayerEntity‘s VelocityComponent. The concept of Velocity is processed separately to update the game properly, etc…

Note: Entitas Components are NOT Unity Components (aka Monobehaviors). Think of an Entitas Component as serving ANY (one) of these roles;

  • Simple data storage – e.g. myComponent.score
  • Events – myEntity.WillDestroy(true) which functions something like myEntity.SendEvent (new DestroyMeEvent());
  • Visual things – e.g. myComponent.view.gameObject with some standard Unity renderers attached

Visual Debugging

entitas_systems_v1Systems

entitas_pools_v1Entities

Performance

Based on data provided by the creators we see impressive run-time performance.

Unity vs Entitas. 1000 objects with 2 components;

  • Memory: 9x (2.9 MB vs 0.32 MB)
  • CPU: 17x (105ms vs 6ms)

Entitas is MUCH faster due to its many 0ptimizations: Entitas…

  • Reuses Entities
  • Reuses Components
  • Caches Groups
  • Index Components

Compared to a typical Unity game architecture, ECS processes logic only when processing is necessary. The Entitas system architecture and query system allows me to mix ‘processing’ strategies. For example with 100 characters onscreen I can;

  • Move all characters every monobehavior.Update()
  • Move half one one frame and the rest on another frame
  • Move only those who have a changed position
  • Etc…

Evaluation

Pros

  • FAST performance
  • Data-binding is implicit (OnEnityAdded/Removed/Updated, OnComponentAdded/Removed/Replaced)
  • Querying is fast, efficient, and opens your mind to new ways to think about your game.
  • ECS embraces Single Responsibility Principle (SRP) ( link )
  • Testability*
  • Code sharing (use C# on client AND server)*

* These features are greatly enabled because the UnityEngine.* classes are separated by-design from the bulk of your Entitas game logic. Testing UnityEngine.* has historic challenges. Running UnityEngine.* on server is either undesirable or impossible depending on your technology stack.

Cons

  • Developing with Entitas is easy, but refactoring has challenges (see Growing Pains below)
  • Best to START your project with Entitas
  • Best to FULLY embrace your project with Entitas (Rather than use Entitas partially in your game)
  • Collaboration takes effort between Entitas and existing code (e.g. AssetStore code)

Neutral (Things to get used to)

  • With Entias you may have MANY more class files
  • Entitas uses code generation (its optional, but I always used it).
  • You feel like the bulk of your Entitas code is disconnected from Unity. I consider this a PRO, but it takes some time to get used to. Ex. Its standard practice to NOT store your character’s position on the gameObject.transform.
  • Everything can access everything. There is a more ‘global’ state. Ex. your enemy’s code scope can fully access your hero’s health. The creators see standard OOP-based gaming structure as ‘little boxes’ (encapsulation) that you must break with every major refactor and game feature added, so instead there is much less emphasis on these ‘little boxes’ in the Entitas paradigm.

Growing Pains

Fixing compilation errors

The (optional) Enttias code generator is based on runtime reflection. The project has to compile before you can generate. This is not an issue when you creating new components, however when it comes to changing or deleting components, your code might stop compiling. Here is a list of recipes how you can avoid bigger hassle while changing and deleting components.

Ex. I stored the position of a character as float x, y, z. Then later changed it to a custom Vector3 class implementation. In a project without code generation your IDE’s ‘Rename’ or ‘Find-Replace’ functionality makes this pretty straight-forward. However, not all of the previously generated code will respect your refactor and a bit (30-60 seconds) of manually changes will be needed. Then once the project compiles again (you can use the Entitas code generation menu option to clean up the code again. I don’t have a suggestion on how, but improving this workflow is highly desirable. For now we have some helpful workarounds.

Use this advice to speed the process when doing the following tasks;

  • Renaming component fields
  • Renaming components
  • Adding new fields to a component
  • Removing fields from a component
  • Deleting a component
  • Renaming pool names

Resources

  • Official Entitas Homepage ( link )
  • Official Entitas Examples ( link )
  • My Entitas Template ( link ) – Use this as a starting point for your next project
  • My Entitas ‘Pong’ Game ( link ) – I started with the template and created a simple game

 

RMC Primer: Get A Job In Game Development

Category: Industry News, RMC News     |     Tags: C#, Games, Mobile, Unity3D

RMC Primer: Get A Job In Game Development

A career in video game development is challenging and rewarding. But getting into the industry is not easy.

As reported in the Guardian, the game development industry makes $60bn a year [2014]. It is an industry that’s bigger than Hollywood, that dwarves the music business – and an increasing number of young people want to work in it. Hundreds of universities throughout the world offer degree courses in computer games programming and design.

It is a good time to join. With the arrival of digital distribution, games now have a bigger audience than ever; they are beamed directly to our phones, PC, consoles and tablets.

In my previous article Finding Your Next Unity3D Job I overview what companies want in prospective candidates and outline where you can search for available positions.

As a tangent on the same subject, below is a quick overview of working in the industry with a decided focus on programmer roles, my chosen career.

Game Development Careers

Here are the common roles on a small (5-10 person) game development team.

Roles

  • Producer – Owns the ‘product’. Decides what features to add.
  • Project Manager – Owns the ‘process’ and timeline. Decides if time exists to add the desired features.
  • Artist – Creates concepts, production art, and animation. Decides how the game looks.
  • Tester – Plays the game, reports bugs. Decides what needs improvement.
  • Programming
    • Programmer – Codes the tools for the team and the gameplay for the end-users. Decides how the game works.
    • Lead Programmer – Lead the programming team responsible for creating all the computer code which runs and controls a game. Produce the technical specification of the game and managing the overall code development process

Larger teams may have more specific responsibilities in departments (and roles); Backoffice (Accounting, HR, Marketing), Art (Concept Artist, Animator), Audio (Music Composer, SFX), Programming (Engine programmer, gameplay programmer), Game Designer, Level Designer.

Programming

Let’s compare the skills required for programmer and Lead Programmer. Typically a ‘Lead Programmer’ was first a ‘Programmer’ earlier in his/her career.

I choose to divide the lists into 3 areas; the technical skills (fostered by education), the personality skills (less trainable), and the social skills (how we interact with others).

You can see that as a programmer advances in his career, the lead position requires many social skills to excel.

Required skills (Source: CreativeSkillset.org)

Programmer

  • Tech
    • be able to programme in C++, C and other programming languages
    • have specific platform experience, e.g. Wii, PlayStation, Xbox
    • have a good knowledge of game play
  • Personality
    • be systematic and highly organised
    • be creative and possess problem-solving skills
    • be able to work to deadlines
  • Social
    • have good communication skills
    • be able to work on your own initiative and as part of a team

Lead Programmer

  • Tech
    • have a hands-on knowledge of all programming roles
    • have advanced programming skills
  • Personality
    • be able to resolve conflicts and solve problems
    • be able to multitask
    • be creative and innovative
    • be composed under pressure
  • Social
    • be a team player and a leader
    • be approachable and listen to what people need and want, both from other disciplines and within your own team
    • be able to communicate your ideas and vision to the programming team
    • be able to inspire and motivate the programming team to ensure that everything gets fixed on schedule
    • have excellent people skills with management and communication, including tact and diplomacy

Advice For Career Planning

I choose to divide employee effort/value into 3 areas; the product (what is being created), the process (how it is created), and the people (who is creating it). Here is some advice;

Focus on ‘Soft Skills’ – Programming is important. Its ‘the’ core skill to develop, but once you set that ball in motion, shift your focus to other ‘soft’ skills. Everyone is a great programmer. It doesn’t set you apart as dramatically as other areas of improvement. Many will disagree with my point of view. Many product-centric employees believe that doing more development, in less time, with less lines of code is the only goal. As a people-centric and process-centric philosopher, I recommend instead to focus on the soft skills; EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient), social graces, communication, language, personal habits, interpersonal skills, managing people, leadership, etc. that characterize relationships with other people.

Focus on Learning – Create a virtuous cycle of meeting the requirements of your assigned job description (typically focused on ‘product’) while also raising quality of the process and bolstering your people skills. For more info, see my previous article Ultimate Path Learning. I contribute high quality Free Unity / C# Video Tutorials for new and veteran developers to build community and sharpen my knowledge and communication skills.

Pick Your Moment – Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba advises to pick your moment. Your strategy must change as you age.

  • Age: Childhood – Be a good student.
  • Age: 20’s – Follow a mentor. Go to a small company — you learn the passion, you learn the dreams, and you learn how to do lots of things at any one time. Make mistakes.
  • Age: 30’s – You have to think very clearly if you want to work for yourself. If you really want to be an entrepreneur. This is the ‘mid-game’.
  • Age: 40’s – You have to do all the things that you are already good at.
  • Age 50’s – Work for the young people.
  • Age 60’s – Spend time on yourself. Its too late for you to change.

Focus on Passion – Use your early years to try EVERYTHING professionally, then settle into the things that are a fit for your strengths, your interests, and your passions. For more info about my passions including teaching and charity see my previous article Playing For Good.

Consider Your Mid-Game – Over your career (ex. 40 years of work) you will likely hold many different positions and many different companies. You may start as a Game Tester, then become a Programmer, then Senior Programmer, then a Lead Programmer which is generally  most advanced role in that specific career track. For the excellent and ambitious that might happen in the first 10 or so years. So what then do you do for the next 30 years of your career? There are endless layers on top of the value offered within that track, but other opportunities are calling too. The biggest mid-game (i.e. mid-career) question is do you want to lead people, or do you want to stay solo. Consider your strengths and interests. As your answer becomes more clear you can steer your growth and progression to fit that goal.

Avoid ‘Rockstar’ Programmers – These are programmers that 1. are extremely efficient and deliver results and 2. are isolationist and self-serving. There are countless definitions for this type of worker, but let’s stick to definition for now. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with working that way per-se, but when a company actively hires rockstar programmers (through the language of job descriptions and the practice of the recruiting process) it is a red flag. The company may value end-results more than process and may value product more than people. As a job-seeker, be cautious of joining such a team unless those qualities match your career goals. A Rockstar coworker may indeed raise the quality of the product, which is good for you and your portfolio. But a teaching, sharing, collaborative programmer will help you build your own toolset more dramatically which IMHO is more important to your career. As a job-recruiter, be cautious of hiring such a candidate as he/she categorically will not thrive within a people-centric environment and the rest of your team may be impacted as well.

Short Interview About My Career

I have 16 years of experience in video game development [2015]. My roles include; founding team member of Neopets.com, owner and consultant at Rivello Multimedia Consulting (portfolio), and senior programming positions at leading game studios (LinkedIn).

What education do you have?

I decided between studying computer science and graphic design. I graduated with a B.A. degree in Media Studies (graphic design + multimedia). In the first year of my career I changed from an artist position to programmer. I have been a programmer since.

What was your career path?

Game programmer and founding-team member of a gaming startup which grew from 5 people to 180 in 8 years. Managed a team of 12 game developers. Left that company to start another company as a consultant for 8 years. Now, I’m a full-time employee again, as a Unity game developer.

Did you expect to end up in this field?

Ending high-school in 1995 I dreamed of working in video game development. At that time that meant working for one of the biggest companies. Then the internet bubble came and went, mobile phones came and stayed, and democratization of game development made indies a reality. Its a totally different industry now.

When you are interviewing young candidates, what are you looking for?  What advice can I give students so that they stand out?

When hiring for a small team, end-to-end game development experience and social skills are priorities. I like to see a side-project the candidate completed at home handling the game design, development, (simple art), and really succeeding in the polish of the input as well as the feedback to the user. A candidate really impresses who can speak clearly about his or her goals on that project, who can defend the choices made during design and development, and who can take criticism on the completed project. A student should get experience working with people (customer service, retail at a store, etc…) anything where communication is critical so they can speak their mind, listen actively, and demonstrate putting the needs of others first in conversations and meetings.

Are there any programming packages or languages you like prospective candidates to have experience with?

As a web developer I recommend learning some client platform (e.g. HTML5/JS/CSS) and some server platform (e.g. Ruby). Typically members of a team will focus on one or the other, but knowing some of both will help you collaborate with more compassion. Young game developers are advised to learn engine-level programming (e.g. C++) and gameplay-level programming (e.g. C#) for the same reason. I’m learned to program outside of academia, so my focus is mostly client side (Unity with C# most recently which serves me well).

Many students are interested in studying business.  Do you think programming/technology based skills are becoming essential in this area of study?  If so what types of skills?

For business-people the required technology has changed. It went from nothing required, then in the 90’s Microsoft Office was the core skill, then in the 00’s learning to program webpages was the buzz-topic, now I think commanding social media channels (for marketing purposes) may the the latest tech area that business people are encouraged to learn. I’m not sure of the answer, but I’d say if you don’t ‘do’ tech in your job, but you work with people who do, then you want to gain as much expertise as possible on the tech that your coworkers know. This builds rapport/understanding and improves the efficiency the feedback loop between your requests and the tech teams responses.

One of my students ask me to forward this question J. How important is it to have solid mathematical skills in this field?

You can be an excellent programmer without historical interest or excellence in mathematics. Becoming comfortable with ‘logic’ as a concept has been more relevant to me than specific mathematics. Some exceptions where math directly helps my game development are trigonometry for 2d and 3d tasks (collisions, path finding, camera) and statistics for understanding creating controllably-random level generation and AI routines.

Removing cost and skills constraints, what software packages would you encourage future programmers to learn?

For game development. Learn to model simple 3D in Maya, animate it in Maya, texture it with Photoshop, import into Unity3D (or Unreal), and create a simple, complete game with it. The goal is workflow, not polished final product.

What software packages would you encourage future programs to learn that are accessible?

Unity3D. Its extremely popular and accessible (free and cross platform). Other engines exist and the popularity of tools changes, but competency or expertise in any one package is my recommendation. 

If you were to pick a languages to teach students today.  What language would it be and why?

C++ and Java have VAST resources available online and in academia. They are great for learning the fundamentals. C# is great too. From a learning perspective, you want a language with core features such as class based inheritance and strong typing. You can compile and run small demos for free online via Tutorialspoint.com and others.

Resources

  1. Find your ideal job fit (Sokanu.com)
  2. Is It Worth Getting A Degree In Game Development (IGN.com)
  3. How To Get A Job In Game Development (TheGuardian.com)
  4. Be Organized (GettingThingsDone.com)
  5. Evaluate Your Progress (Forbes.com)
  6. Invest In Your Personal Development (Glen Lopis)
  7. Raise Your Own Standards (Jack Zenger)

Unity UI: Overview – Part 1 of 3

Category: Quick Tips, Standards & Best Practices     |     Tags: API, C#, GUI, Unity3D

I’ve been lucky to focus the past years on Unity and C#. Much of my demos, full-games, and tutorial are here RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com/unity/. If you have any comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you. Twitter.com/srivello.

Traditional Unity GUI Solutions

Unity is an amazing ecosystem for game development. For years, even big fans of the tool have been critical of the 2D/GUI/Text systems offered. Unity and the Unity community have launched various competing GUI systems (both immediate and retained) but the lack of features and lack of consistency leaves much to be desired. Luckily the amazing Asset Store (See my articles one, two, and three) of 3rd party tools and components has dutifully filled the needs of many devs.

Maintaining robust state (e.g. button) and handling adaptive layouts with Unity Legacy GUI was always very challenging. – Me

Older Options

  • Unity GUI (Immediate): This has been renamed to ‘Unity Legacy GUI’ to limit confusion with UI in Unity 4.6.x. The Legacy GUI will continue to be available and will remain as the recommended solution for Tools development (creating new windows and panels within Unity Editor). It requires developers to program the GUI in a loop that runs repeatedly.
  • NGUI (Retained): By FAR the most popular solution in recent years. There are alternatives in the asset store, but this is the most prevalent. Designed by a fantastic developer Michael Lyashenko with extensibility, flexibility, and power in mind — this project excels. It will still be popular for the future too because so many projects and teams are already at home with it. In 2013, Michael was hired by Unity to lead development on Unity UI for 4.6.x. He has since left the project, but his positive impact on the structure of the new solution is obvious.

Unity UI 4.6.x

This is the ‘New GUI’ for Unity. It was released publicly in 2014 after a long private and public beta period. I feel that Unity really wanted to get it right. And I think they have done a lot to guarantee adoption and success. Due to the complicated history of the GUI within Unity, the naming of the new system was/is debated. Perhaps some day in the future we’ll just call it ‘the’ UI of Unity and the other options will fade away. Before we’re sure of that, let’s take a look at the system. It is great.

I am pleased, and frankly shocked that Unity UI is available in the standard (free) version of Unity. – Me

Unity UI Features

  • Fast and flexible workflows: The workflow feels very at-home within Unity. Want to render text with a font? Drag a font from your OS into your project and *boom* its immediately available for run-time usage. No more need to ‘convert’ fonts to bitmap fonts. Its just as easy with images too. You can reskin any of the existing components too using your own graphics.
  • Low memory allocations and high performance: With batching, texture atlasing and the new canvas component, we’ve come up with the optimal solution to allow your UIs to execute quickly on GPUs. Draw calls are kept low and performance remains high across all supported Unity platforms and device resolutions.
  • Easy multiplatform deployment: Intelligence about the sizing (and resizing) of the app as well as layout groups (see below) helps greatly.
  • Unique animation capabilities: Use the existing (awesome) ‘Animation’ panel to animate ANY public property of your UI. Listen for UI events (e.g. button click) and react with transitions to new layouts or new scenes.
  • Intuitive Layout Tools: Laying out and resizing elements is easy with the new Unity UI. Design detailed layouts using the Rect Transform layout tools, and automate grids of UI elements with our built-in components.

Each element that can be laid out (text, image, etc…) is considered a component. The list of current components is finite, but any developer can create their own components from existing components or from scratch. We expect the list of built in components to grow — both from Unity and from the community.


UI_Main

Main UI Components (as of Unity 4.6.1)

  • UI Canvas: This is the required hierarchy root-parent to all UI elements. You can have multiple in the scene. It comes in 3 flavors; Overlay (flat HUD), Camera (tilted HUD), and World Space (speech bubble that follows your character through the scene). ( Docs, Video )
  • UI RectTransform: ( Docs, Video )
  • UI Button: ( Docs, Video )
  • UI Toggle: ( Docs )
  • UI Image: ( Docs, Video )
  • UI Text: ( Docs, Video )
  • UI Input Field: ( Docs)
  • UI Slider: ( Docs, Video )
  • UI Scroll Rect: ( Docs, Video )
  • UI Scrollbar: ( Docs, Video )

Supporting UI Components (as of Unity 4.6.1)

Common ‘How To’ Tasks

  • Designing UI for Multiple Resolutions: ( Docs)
  • Adaptive Layout: ( Docs)
  • Creating UI from C#: ( Docs)
  • More: ( Docs)

ANCHORING

flexible-anchoring

Take advantage of simple visual tools to anchor UI elements. The UI element maintains its anchored position regardless of changes to parent size or screen resolution. Want to anchor different elements relative to different positions on the canvas? No problem.

ADAPTIVE RESIZING

smooth-resizing

You can set UI elements to stretch along with the parent rectangle, or to maintain fixed margins inside it. In addition, each side of a UI element can be anchored individually, allowing you to set up sophisticated layouts without scripting.

ANIMATING UI

get-animated

Animation plays a key part in your new UI workflow for creating dynamic layouts with slick transitions. Animate any part of your UI layouts, from bouncing buttons to animated material properties for detailed motion.

What’s Next?

With each minor and major update of Unity I expect vast bug-fixes and new features with the UI system. It is very stable and ready for use already. So start experimenting! I am already working on a few upcoming posts that will explore the system in more depth. If you want to see me cover something in particular, add a comment beneath this page.

  • New Unity UI (4.6.x): Unity UI Part 2 of 3: Demo – Basic UI (Source code + Video) [Coming Soon!]
  • New Unity UI (4.6.x): Unity UI Part 3 of 3: Demo – Combining UI w/ Frameworks/Architectures for scalability (Source code + Video) [Coming Soon!]

Unity – Tools Of The Trade

Category: Quick Tips, RMC News     |     Tags: AssetStore, C#, Review, Unity3D

As always, RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com/unity/ will be the central location for deep articles and tutorials, Facebook.com/RivelloMultimediaConsulting (like us!) will engage the growing RMC+Unity community, and for the latest opinions and cool links follow me at Twitter.com/srivello.

Unity3D is a powerful suite of tools (Project IDE, Code IDE, run-time) for game development. The Unity IDE is great for integrating your assets and code, setting up your scenes visually, and tweaking parameters through the powerful Inspector window. While Unity ships with a very capable code editor, MonoDevelop, serious developers prefer more powerful tools.

Here is a list of the must-have tools for Unity development.


unity_tools_600_200_banner_visual_studio_v1

Name: Visual Studio – Code Editor (Various Versions, Free to $499)

Competitor: MonoDevelop (Free), Xamarin Studio (300-1000$ / yr)

Details: Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft. It includes a code editor supporting IntelliSense as well as code refactoring. Built-in languages include Unity’s C# as well as C, C++, and more.

Pros:

  • Development Environment – Focus on creating value and accomplishing task quicker with a clean, fast and powerful development environment.
  • Semantic Code Analysis – Semantics (references, declarations, etc…) not just syntax are analyzed as you type. This allows for better refactoring.
  • VisualSVNSubversion integration (GIT too)
  • Great Navigation – New ways to travel around your code, including peek.
  • UML Diagram Built In – Improving architecture through modeling

Showcase Video:


unity_tools_600_200_banner_resharper_v1

Name: ReSharper ($185 for personal, $310 for a whole team)

Details: ReSharper is a renowned productivity tool that makes Microsoft Visual Studio a much better IDE. Thousands of developers worldwide wonder how they’ve ever lived without ReSharper’s code inspections, automated code refactorings, blazing fast navigation, and coding assistance.

The ultimate Agile tool is ReSharper. It is the one thing for C# developers that removes fear of change. Refactoring is just so damn easy that change isn’t scary. – Jaco Pretorius of ThoughtWorks

Pros:

  • Analyze code quality – On-the-fly code quality analysis in C#, VB.NET, XAML, ASP.NET, ASP.NET MVC, JavaScript, CSS, HTML, and XML. ReSharper tells you right away if your code contains errors or can be improved.
  • Instantly traverse your entire solution  – Navigation features to instantly traverse your entire solution. You can jump to any file, type, or type member in no time, or navigate from a specific symbol to its usages, base and derived symbols, or implementations.
  • Eliminate errors and code smells – Instant fixes to eliminate errors and code smells. Not only does ReSharper warn you when there’s a problem in your code but it provides quick-fixes to solve them automatically.
  • Enjoy code editing helpers – Multiple code editing helpers including extended IntelliSense, hundreds of instant code transformations, auto-importing namespaces, rearranging code and displaying documentation.
  • Safely change your code base – Automated solution-wide code refactorings to safely change your code base. Whether you need to revitalize legacy code or put your project structure in order, you can lean on ReSharper.
  • Comply to coding standards – Code formatting and cleanup functionality is at your disposal to get rid of unused code and ensure compliance to coding standards.
  • More features… including generation of common code, extensible templates, internationalization assistance, and unit test runner.

Showcase Video:


unity_tools_600_200_banner_unityvs_v1

Name: UnityVS ($99 for personal, $249 for a whole team)

Details: UnityVS is the missing ‘glue’ between the Unity IDE and the Visual Studio code editor.

Pros:

  • Connect Visual Studio’s debugger to Unity to debug your scripts. Put breakpoints, inspect and modify variables and arguments and evaluate complex expressions to fix bugs promptly. Without UnityVS, Visual Studio is just a powerful yet decoupled code editor.
  • UnityVS is packed with productivity features: code snippets, wizards, tool windows such as the Unity project explorer. UnityVS sends the Unity console directly to Visual Studio.
  • A short list of essential features.

Play Unity and use breakpoints. At the breakpoint you can inspect AND EDIT the live values of any variable. If that doesn’t convince you to purchase UnityVS, you are insane. – Sam Rivello, RMC

Showcase Video:


Unity Asset Store – RMC Packages

Category: Quick Tips     |     Tags: AssetStore, C#, Review, Unity3D

As always, RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com/unity/ will be the central location for deep articles and tutorials, Facebook.com/RivelloMultimediaConsulting (like us!) will engage the growing RMC+Unity community, and for the latest opinions and cool links follow me at Twitter.com/srivello.

Unity Asset Store

Unity3D is a powerful suite of tools (Project IDE, Code IDE, run-time) for game development. A fantastic way to accelerate Unity & C# learning, empower development, and even make some money using the Unity Asset Store.

  • 1. In my previous article “Introduction To the Asset Store” we see a complete Intro to the Unity Asset Store including how you can Fund your Indie Game Development by creating assets. Now let’s hear from some key developers who have published successful content.
  • 2. In my second article Unity Asset Store Case Studies, several veterans discuss their success with the store.
  • 3. Now, below is the list of the Asset Store Packages created by us at RMC. Enjoy!

ASSET STORE PACKAGES

BmAb5uQIgAEuUyM

 

uEP – Unity Expose Properties

Category: Full Tutorials, Quick Tips, RMC News     |     Tags: Unity3D

About RMC & Unity3D Rivello Multimedia Consulting (RMC) provides consulting services for applications and games. RMC specializes in Unity3D development (see our work here). Please contact us today with any questions, comments, and project quotes. As always, RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com/unity/ will be the central location for deep articles and tutorials, Facebook.com/RivelloMultimediaConsulting (like us!) will engage the growing RMC+Unity community, and for the latest opinions and cool links follow me at Twitter.com/srivello.

Why Use The Inspector?

For a complete introduction to Unity see my “Intro To Unity” Article. For a quick review: games in Unity are made up of multiple GameObjects that contain meshes, scripts, sounds, or other graphical elements like Lights. The Inspector displays detailed information about your currently selected GameObject, including all attached Components and their properties. Here, you modify the functionality of GameObjects in your scene. Any public field (publicly accessible variable) that is displayed in the Inspector can be directly modified while in edit mode and also while in play mode (the game is playing live). That is great.

The Inspector is a vital part of the Unity toolset with many powerful features. However, here I’ll focus on the specific programming-centric benefits of using the inspector.

Reasons

  • Gives us an (editable) view to all public fields on a game object.
  • Very powerful for experimentation, prototyping, and debugging.
  • Improves our interface to the code. E.g. instead of setting a color in code as #ff0000, you can have a GUI color picker in the inspector.

Example

public float myNumberField_float = 10f;

NOTE: Only public fields are shown in the inspector.

NOTE: Adding the attribute [HideInInspector] before a public field name will allow it to be public (for coding) but not be shown in the inspector. This is outside the scope of this article, but it is quite useful sometimes.

Why Use Properties?

As we learn in C# In Depth, for every type you write, you should consider its interface to the rest of the world (including classes within the same assembly). This is its description of what it makes available, its outward persona. Implementation shouldn’t be part of that description, any more than it absolutely has to be. (That’s why I prefer composition to inheritance, where the choice makes sense – inheritance generally exposes or limits possible implementations.)

A property communicates the idea of “I will make a value available to you, or accept a value from you.” It’s not an implementation concept, it’s an interface concept. A field, on the other hand, communicates the implementation – it says “this type represents a value in this very specific way”. There’s no encapsulation, it’s the bare storage format. This is part of the reason fields aren’t part of interfaces – they don’t belong there, as they talk about how something is achieved rather than what is achieved.

I quite agree that a lot of the time, fields could actually be used with no issues in the lifetime of the application. It’s just not clear beforehand which those times are, and it still violates the design principle of not exposing implementation.

Reasons

  • Through encapsulation you now have a publicly accessible ‘thing’ just like a field, but here you can more completely control it. For example, within the set {}  you could check the incoming ‘value’ and ensure it is between 1 and 10 before accepting the change.
  • Want to break into the debugger whenever the value changes? Just add a breakpoint in the setter.
  • Want to log all access? Just add logging to the getter.
  • Properties can be used for more advanced language features (like binding) too

Example

private float myNumberProperty_float = 10f;
public float myNumberProperty
{
	set {
		myNumberProperty_float = value;
	}
	get {
		return myNumberProperty_float;
	}	
}

Using Properties Via Inspector

By default, while Unity allows the inspector to shows with fields (variables), it does not render properties (getter/setters).

However, now you can do it all. I created the uExposeProperties (uEP) project. It is an asset store project for free. I’m hoping the community finds great uses for it. With uEP you get the best of both worlds; benefits of the inspector as well as properties.

Reasons

  • You get the benefits of the inspector
  • You get the benefits of properties
  • Your code stays very clean (only one simple attribute is added per property)

Example

NOTE: You must download the uEP package to use this functionality. It is not included in Unity.

private float myNumberProperty_float = 10f;
[ExposeProperty]
public float myNumberProperty
{
	set {
		myNumberProperty_float = value;
	}
	get {
		return myNumberProperty_float;
	}
	
}

Drawbacks

  • There is one major drawback: theoretical performance. The current implementation depends on the OnInspectorGUI() event which is far more expensive than not using it.
  • Any ideas on how to improve that?

Next Steps

  • Download the source-code (See ‘Member Resources’). Available Now.
  • Get uEP on the asset-store (Coming Soon!)

Member Resources

[private_Free member]Enjoy this members-only content!

[/private_Free member]

Unity3D Reactive Extensions 2: Syntax & Marble Diagrams

Category: Full Tutorials, Quick Tips, RMC News     |     Tags: ReactiveExtensions, Unity3D

About RMC & Unity3D Rivello Multimedia Consulting (RMC) provides consulting services for applications and games. RMC specializes in Unity3D development (see our work here). Please contact us today with any questions, comments, and project quotes. As always, RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com/unity/ will be the central location for deep articles and tutorials, Facebook.com/RivelloMultimediaConsulting (like us!) will engage the growing RMC+Unity community, and for the latest opinions and cool links follow me at Twitter.com/srivello.

Why RX?

You can read more in my first article “Unity3D Reactive Extensions 1: An Introduction“. That is recommended reading before continuing with the article below.

How to do RX?

Here is a recap. In article 1 we used an RX approach for the following (academic) exercise;

Exercise: Dispatch a double click event based on custom timing parameters.

Reactive Extensions (RX) Solution

You can see the code is easy to read and powerful. While this algorithm requires state management, we don’t have to handle it directly. The internals of RX do it for us. You can imagine with a more complex feature, the code would be dramatically more than the RX solution. Below we break-down the code and explain each step.

NOTE: The TLP Library used in this article is a work in progress. It features only limited functionality and does not conform to common RX standards in the naming, signature, and structure of major elements. These differences are why the syntax and marble diagram names below are not 100% coincidental, but the concepts are similar. The TLP team invites other developers to fork the library and contribute to it. Still it is a fantastic learning tool and quite useful as-is.

Complete Code For RX Solution

//--------------------------------------
//  Methods
//--------------------------------------
///<summary>
///	Use this for initialization
///</summary>
void Start ()
{
	// VARIABLES
	float maxTimeAllowedBetweenSingleCLicks_float = 1;
	float delayBetweenAllowingADoubleClick_float = 5;	
	int clicksRequiredForADoubleClick_int = 2;
	
	// CREATE OBSERVABLE 
	//(ORDER IS NOT IMPORTANT, BUT SUBSCRIBE MUST BE LAST)
	var mouseDoubleClickObservable = Observable

		//RUN IT EVERY FRAME (INTERNALLY THAT MEANS Update()
		.everyFrame

		//FILTER RESULTS OF THE FRAME
		//WE CARE ONLY 'DID USER CLICK MOUSE BUTTON?'
		.filter	(
			_ => 
			Input.GetMouseButtonDown (0)
		)

		//DID WE FIND X RESULTS WITHIN Y SECONDS?
		.withinTimeframe (clicksRequiredForADoubleClick_int, maxTimeAllowedBetweenSingleCLicks_float)

		//REQUIRE SOME 'COOL-DOWN-TIME' BETWEEN SUCCESSES
		.onceEvery (delayBetweenAllowingADoubleClick_float);


	//FOR EVERY EVENT THAT MEETS THOSE CRITERIA, CALL A METHOD
	var subscription = mouseDoubleClickObservable
		.subscribe (
			_ => 
			_onMouseEvent (MouseEventType.DoubleClick)

		);


	Debug.Log ("Subscription Setup : " + subscription);


}
//--------------------------------------
//  Events
//--------------------------------------
/// <summary>
/// SUCCESS: Double click
/// </summary>
private void _onMouseEvent (MouseEventType aMouseEventType)
{

		Debug.Log ("RX._onMouseDoubleClick() " + aMouseEventType);
}

 

Marble Diagrams & RX Syntax

Marble diagrams are frequently in videos and blog entries from the Rx team explaining how certain operators in Rx work. From top to bottom there are; source stream(s), operators, and then the outgoing stream. The RXJava wiki has an especially pretty set of these images.

Let’s take a closer look at the syntax we used.

  • 1. everyFrame: We observe an event stream on every frame (aka Update) in Unity…
  • 2. filter: …where the mouse button is down…
  • 3. withinTimeFrame: … X occurrences within Y seconds, which we call success…
  • 4. onceEvery: …and success can only happen every Z seconds…
  • 5. subscribe: …then call the desired method…

1. Operator: everyFrame (Similar to fromEvent)

From RXJava, we see that “the free-threaded nature of Rx is key to the performance characteristics of the event processing pipeline. However, in places where we bridge with the external world, this sometimes has negative effects due to thread-affine operations involved. The FromEvent [Pattern] bridges are one such place where we reach out to add and remove operations on events”.
 
Our specific use of everyFrame(), in pseudocode, would be like fromEvent (myMonoBehavior.Update).

2. Operator: filter

rmc_banner_filter_dropshadow_600_400_v1

You can filter an Observable, discarding any items that do not meet some test, by passing a filtering function into the filter( ) method. For example, the following code filters a list of integers, emitting only those that are even (that is, where the remainder from dividing the number by two is zero):

3. Operator: withinTimeFrame (Similar to buffer)

rmc_banner_buffer_dropshadow_600_400_v1

The buffer( ) method periodically gathers items emitted by a source Observable into bundles, and emits these bundles as its own emissions. There are a number of ways with which you can regulate how buffer( ) gathers items from the source Observable into bundles:

4. Operator: onceEvery (Similar to sample)

rmc_banner_sample_dropshadow_600_400_v1

5. Operator: subscribe

Subscribe is not an operator per se, it is something higher level in importance — When an observer subscribes to an observable sequence, the sequence begins and runs till completion. It is in the subscribe that we answer “What should ultimately happen with the outgoing event stream?”. In our example, we call a local method _onMouseEvent and we pass an appropriate MouseEventType.

NEXT STEPS

Our exploration into RX has just begun. Everyone interested is invited to download the source-code from my first article “Unity3D Reactive Extensions 1: An Introduction” and learn more. I continue to seek to find the best RX library for Unity development and have already begun to add RX into my game projects.`

Unity3D Reactive Extensions: An Introduction

Category: Full Tutorials, Quick Tips, RMC News     |     Tags: ReactiveExtensions, Unity3D

About RMC & Unity3D Rivello Multimedia Consulting (RMC) provides consulting services for applications and games. RMC specializes in Unity3D development (see our work here). Please contact us today with any questions, comments, and project quotes. As always, RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com/unity/ will be the central location for deep articles and tutorials, Facebook.com/RivelloMultimediaConsulting (like us!) will engage the growing RMC+Unity community, and for the latest opinions and cool links follow me at Twitter.com/srivello.

Why RX?

General

Obviously fantastic software can be created without RX. We work without it every day. So why consider it? Well, essentially because asynchonous programming is hard to do, brittle, and is a challenge to scale. Well as the Reactive Manifesto explains;

  1. The Need To Go Reactive – Each day applications are getting bigger, users expect more to happen in less time, and our projects are deployed to increasingly diverse set of (smaller) devices. To compete, old dogs need new tricks.
  2. Reactive Applications – They react to events; loading data, user gestures, system failures.
  3. Event-Driven – Event driven systems feature loose coupling between components and subsystems; a prerequisite for scalability and resilience.
  4. Scalable – With RX our data runs ‘as if’ it is synchronous. Even the currently synchronous stuff. So as complexity comes and delays ensue, it can flex to be asynchronous. Secondly, the decoupled nature allows for location transparency. Benefits include multi-threading (where possible).
  5. Resilient – In a reactive application, resilience is not an afterthought but part of the design from the beginning (see ‘onError’). Making failure a first class construct in the programming model provides the means to react to and manage it, which leads to applications that are highly tolerant to failure by being able to heal and repair themselves at run-time.
  6. Responsive – The philosophies and practices of RX programming seek minimal latency to the user experience.
  7. Conclusion – We expect that a rapidly increasing number of systems will follow this blueprint in the years ahead.

NOTE: While RX is designed to work with asynchronous data streams, it really doesn’t care. RX blindly accepts synchronous data within the same data flow.

Games

My first exposure to RX was regarding both UI behaviors (e.g. mouse events) and asynchronous data (e.g. loading from server). Gaming is inherently an asynchronous experience and the UI behaviors (e.g. user input) alone warrant a deep look at RX.

What is RX?

Iterables You are probably familiar with the concept of Iterables. In Unity we are used to using a List of values and looping through them and doing something synchronously. Observables In RX, it is observables that are a similar concept except the list may or may not be populated yet (i.e. it could start out empty) and may or may not be fully populated yet (i.e. ‘complete’). Still you iterate through the values, however asynchronously. Consider the following table;

Same Concept, Opposite Direction (Pull vs Push of Data)
Iterable (Pull) Observable (Push)
getDataFromLocalMemory()
.skip(10)
.take(5)
.map({ s -> return s + " changed" })
.forEach({ println "next => " + it })
getDataFromNetwork()
.skip(10)
.take(5)
.map({ s -> return s + " changed" })
.subscribe({ println "onNext => " + it })

Reactive applications use observable models, event streams and stateful clients.

Reactive extensions (RX) is the library designed for Functional Reactive Programming (FRP). It is “a library for composing asynchronous and event-based programs by using observable sequences.” What is FRP? The name comes from the language features used and the philosophy of the data exchange (See Figure 1).

Figure 1. Functional Reactive defined.

According to Haskell.org, Functional Reactive Programming (FRP) integrates time flow and compositional events into functional programming. This provides an elegant way to express computation in domains such as interactive animations, robotics, computer vision, user interfaces, and simulation. The major parts of RX;

  • Observables – Source of event stream & Subscriber – Observer of event stream.
  • Linq – Query the event stream (e.g. filter, map, zip)
  • Schedulers – Define the timing (inc. frequency) of concurrency.

As a quick primer, consider the following Observer->Subscriber event stream (See Figure 2).

Figure 2. Observer-to-Subscriber Event Stream.

Here the Observable emits an integer, it goes through an operation that adds 2 to it, and is finally received by the Subscriber (Observer). All steps are asynchronous, which means the subscriber does not actually know that the original value had been changed.

Operators

Between the Observable and the Subscriber the event stream can be operated upon. Here is a partial list of operators;

  • Transforming
    • map( ) — transform the items emitted by an Observable by applying a function to each of them
    • scan( ) — apply a function to each item emitted by an Observable, sequentially, and emit each successive value
  • Filtering
    • filter( ) — filter items emitted by an Observable
    • takeLast( ) — only emit the last n items emitted by an Observable
    • skip( ) — ignore the first n items emitted by an Observable
    • takeFirst( ) — emit only the first item emitted by an Observable, or the first item that meets some condition
  • Combining
    • startWith( ) — emit a specified sequence of items before beginning to emit the items from the Observable
    • merge( ) — combine multiple Observables into one
    • zip( ) — combine sets of items emitted by two or more Observables together via a specified function and emit items based on the results of this function

How to do RX?

Let’s consider a very typical operation; using mouse input to perform a simple operation. Compare the non-RX and RX approaches to the following (academic) exercise;

Exercise: Dispatch a double click event based on custom timing parameters.

Reactive Extensions (RX) Solution

You can see the code is easy to read and powerful. While this algorithm requires state management, we don’t have to handle it directly. The internals of RX do it for us. You can imagine with a more complex feature, the code would be dramatically more than the RX solution. You can read an in depth analysis of this code in my next article “Unity3D Reactive Extensions 2“.


//--------------------------------------
//  Methods
//--------------------------------------
///<summary>
///	Use this for initialization
///</summary>
void Start ()
{
	// VARIABLES
	float maxTimeAllowedBetweenSingleCLicks_float = 1;
	float delayBetweenAllowingADoubleClick_float = 5;
	int clicksRequiredForADoubleClick_int = 2;

	// CREATE OBSERVABLE
	//(ORDER IS NOT IMPORTANT, BUT SUBSCRIBE MUST BE LAST)
	var mouseDoubleClickObservable = Observable

		//RUN IT EVERY FRAME (INTERNALLY THAT MEANS Update()
		.everyFrame

		//FILTER RESULTS OF THE FRAME
		//WE CARE ONLY 'DID USER CLICK MOUSE BUTTON?'
		.filter	(
			_ =>
			Input.GetMouseButtonDown (0)
		)

		//DID WE FIND X RESULTS WITHIN Y SECONDS?
		.withinTimeframe (clicksRequiredForADoubleClick_int, maxTimeAllowedBetweenSingleCLicks_float)

		//REQUIRE SOME 'COOL-DOWN-TIME' BETWEEN SUCCESSES
		.onceEvery (delayBetweenAllowingADoubleClick_float);

	//FOR EVERY EVENT THAT MEETS THOSE CRITERIA, CALL A METHOD
	var subscription = mouseDoubleClickObservable
		.subscribe (
			_ =>
			_onMouseEvent (MouseEventType.DoubleClick)

		);

	Debug.Log ("Subscription Setup : " + subscription);

}
//--------------------------------------
//  Events
//--------------------------------------
/// <summary>
/// SUCCESS: Double click
/// </summary>
private void _onMouseEvent (MouseEventType aMouseEventType)
{

		Debug.Log ("RX._onMouseDoubleClick() " + aMouseEventType);
}

Traditional Solution (Non RX)

This code requires us to ‘manually’ maintain state. You can imagine with a more complex feature, the code here would be even more long-winded compared to the RX equivalent. Thankfully we can use Coroutines, otherwise there would be even more state-specific variable setup to write and maintain.

/// <summary>
/// KEEPING STATE: Timing information
/// </summary>
private int _state_clicksInLastXSeconds_int = 0;

/// <summary>
/// KEEPING STATE: Timing information
/// </summary>
private bool _wasLastEventTooRecent_boolean = false;

// PRIVATE STATIC
//--------------------------------------
//  Methods
//--------------------------------------
/// <summary>
/// Update this instance.
/// </summary>
void Update ()
{

	// VARIABLES
	int clicksRequiredForADoubleClick_int = 2;

	//
	if (Input.GetMouseButtonDown (0)) {

		if (!_wasLastEventTooRecent_boolean) {

			if (++_state_clicksInLastXSeconds_int >= clicksRequiredForADoubleClick_int) {

				//SUCCESS!
				_onMouseEvent (MouseEventType.DoubleClick);

				//STATE MANAGMENT
				_wasLastEventTooRecent_boolean = true;
				_state_clicksInLastXSeconds_int = 0;
				StartCoroutine ("DelayBetweenAllowingADoubleClick_Coroutine");
				StopCoroutine ("MaxTimeAllowedBetweenSingleCLicks_Coroutine");

			} else {

				//STATE MANAGMENT
				StartCoroutine ("MaxTimeAllowedBetweenSingleCLicks_Coroutine");
				StopCoroutine ("DelayBetweenAllowingADoubleClick_Coroutine");
			}
		}

	}

}

//--------------------------------------
//  Coroutines
//--------------------------------------
/// <summary>
/// HANDLES TIMING: Between clicks
/// </summary>
private IEnumerator MaxTimeAllowedBetweenSingleCLicks_Coroutine ()
{
	// VARIABLES
	float maxTimeAllowedBetweenSingleCLicks_float = 1;

	// TIMING
	yield return new WaitForSeconds (maxTimeAllowedBetweenSingleCLicks_float);

	// STATE MANAGMENT
	_state_clicksInLastXSeconds_int = 0;

}

/// <summary>
/// HANDLES TIMING: Between clicks
/// </summary>
private IEnumerator DelayBetweenAllowingADoubleClick_Coroutine ()
{
	// VARIABLES
	float delayBetweenAllowingADoubleClick_float = 5;

	// TIMING
	yield return new WaitForSeconds (delayBetweenAllowingADoubleClick_float);

	// STATE MANAGMENT
	_wasLastEventTooRecent_boolean = false;

}

//--------------------------------------
//  Events
//--------------------------------------
/// <summary>
/// _ons the mouse event.
/// </summary>
/// <param name="aMouseEventType">A mouse event type.</param>
private void _onMouseEvent (MouseEventType aMouseEventType)
{
	Debug.Log ("NonRX._onMouseDoubleClick() " + aMouseEventType);
}

NOTE: The Unity source-code for this article is available (See ‘Member Resources’ below).

RX & Unity

Figure 3. RX & Unity

Figure 3. RX & Unity

RX is a library that can be theoretically ported to any language. It currently exists in many languages; prominently Java and JavaScript. There are C# ports, but unfortunately not all are Unity-compatible. Unity’s (latest version 4.3.4) C# is compatible with an OLD version of Mono – Mono v2.65 (versus the latest available v3.2.7). Mono is the open source version of .NET which powers the C# language features of Unity. So, while RX libraries in C# are plentiful, there is not yet a Unity-compatible library which contains all the features we would like to see. All examples covered int his article are from the amazing people at Tiny Lab Production (TLP). Their RX library is available for free download (See ‘Member Resources’ below). The TLP team actively encourage use of and contribution to their library

RX Integration

Uses of RX

My first experimentation includes creating mostly non-RX games with few distinct RX elements (particularly mouse/key/gesture input scenarios). RX can be peppered into your project selectively. With more experience and awareness I expect the community to embrace more systemic usage of RX in Unity games. Ideas for RX In Gaming;

  • User Input (Mouse/Keyboard/Touch)
  • Constraints (keep player character onscreen)
  • Loading Assets
  • Loading From Backend Services
  • Multiplayer game state synchronization (e.g. ‘Did every player in this game room click start?’)
  • And much more… see Reactive Game Architectures

Choosing an RX Library

The RX library you choose must match your platform of choice. For me that is Unity & C#. Due to the “RX & Unity” issues above I can’t simply choose any C# library. The library chosen for this article was created by the fine developers at Tiny Lab Productions (TLP). I continue to search for a Unity-friendly library that has the scope and syntax exactly matching Netflix’s fantastic RxJava implementation.

NOTE: The TLP Library used in this article is a work in progress. It features only limited functionality and does not conform to common RX standards in the naming, signature, and structure of major elements. The TLP team invites other developers to fork the library and contribute to it. Still it is a fantastic learning tool and quite useful as-is.

Resources

While RX is new to the Unity Community, there are tons of non-Unity resources and tutorials available. Its important to note that until a robust Unity-compatible RX library is available all of the functionality may not be available. Here are some resources;

NEXT STEPS: RX Syntax & Marble Diagrams

The RX example above uses combinators to empower the event stream filtration and modification. Deeper explanation is available in my next article “Unity3D Reactive Extensions 2“.

Member Resources

[private_Free member]Enjoy this members-only content!

[/private_Free member]

Unity Asset Store – Case Studies

Category: Quick Tips     |     Tags: AssetStore, C#, Review, Unity3D

As always, RivelloMultimediaConsulting.com/unity/ will be the central location for deep articles and tutorials, Facebook.com/RivelloMultimediaConsulting (like us!) will engage the growing RMC+Unity community, and for the latest opinions and cool links follow me at Twitter.com/srivello.

Unity3D is a powerful suite of tools (Project IDE, Code IDE, run-time) for game development. A fantastic way to accelerate Unity & C# learning, empower development, and even make some money using the Unity Asset Store.

In my previous article “Introduction To the Asset Store” we see a complete Intro to the Unity Asset Store including how you can Fund your Indie Game Development by creating assets. Now let’s hear from some key developers who have published successful content.

You can checkout all of the AssetStore packages we at RMC have created and then explore the case studies below from 3rd-party developers.

Case Studies

asset_store_banner_age_rmc_in_post_banner_v1

Name: Android Game Examples (Various)

Category: Complete Projects/Templates

Publisher: Lemo Dev (Denmark)

With 4 years experience in Unity, the team at Lumo Dev first created game examples in c#. Due to demand the product is also available in Java. Lumo found that new developers may not be sure where to start when planning a complete game, so their game templates help accelerate the learning process. The team confides that they too learn greatly from others’ work too.

Throw your product out there! Don’t wait until you created the best product before getting it out. Later, you can always go back and redo stuff, but the important thing is to get experience. – Lumo Dev Team


asset_store_banner_cpa_rmc_in_post_banner_v1

Name: Camera Path Animator / BuildR

Category: Editor Extensions/Animation

Publisher: Jasper Stocker (Hong Kong)

Jasper Stocker’s most popular product is Camera Path, but since its success he shifted focus. He now specializes in creating procedurally generated content. He has 5-6 years of experience so far with Unity.

I offer tools in a single (programming) language so I didn’t have to maintain two codebases. C# is dominant. I use every time. It’s a bit of a no brainer.

Q: Advice for Unity Game Developers?
A: Learn to extend the editor. It’s pretty simple and you can make some really powerful tools. You can get rid of a lot of boring work by automating it. You can also make things designers might use the make levels more dynamic.

Q: Tips for Asset Store Devs?
A: Work hard to make something robust and test the hell out of it. Try to break it by acting like a bored 5 year old.


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Name: Plates Pack Collections (Various)

Category: Textures & Materials/Tiles

Publisher: Fabio Carucci (Italy)

Fabio has 3 years experience with Unity. He creates collections of materials/textures/shaders. He estimates he has spent 100-150 hours learning Unity, doing R&D for his assets, and creating them.


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Name: GameDraw FREE / GameDraw PREMIUM

Category: Editor Extensions/Modeling

Publisher: Mixed Dimensions (Jordan / USA)

Mixed Dimensions has 5+ years experience with Unity development for many platforms (Web/IOS/Android/Windows/Mac). Lead, Muhannad confirms that his popular plugins have been downloaded thousands of times and his team continues to update the leading products every month. His tools depend on (and include) existing libraries such as LZMA, ClipperLib, and Poly2Tri (all Managed .NET).

Focus on mobile games and create something that has a need. – Muhannad from Mixed Dimensions.


Many Thanks

I am grateful to these developers for sharing some of their experiences.