Hello world (again)

Hey everybody, it’s been a while since my last post. But I’m back again and I’ve got some great stuff coming up. 

Over the next month I’ll be working on a rainy alley game environment, and I’ll be sharing my progress with y’all. So I’ll be creating things like dumpsters, garbage bags, and detailed buildings. I’ll also be working on some other projects of mine that are currently confidential. ūüėČ Upon completion of the alleyway project I plan to create a game ready archviz kitchen. Anyway stick around and enjoy the new content. 

Also I’m working on this site too, you may see some fonts or theme change soon. 

Generate Project Folders Script

When creating a new project, use this simple script to generate all your folders:

// generate folders in our project
import System.IO;

@MenuItem ("Project Tools / MakeFolders #&_z")
// menuItem reads the first static function
static function MakeFolder()
{
GenerateFolders();
}

static function GenerateFolders ()
{

var projectPath : String = Application.dataPath + "/"; // store the path for the folders

// creating the folders
Directory.CreateDirectory(projectPath + "Audio");
Directory.CreateDirectory(projectPath + "Materials");
Directory.CreateDirectory(projectPath + "Meshes");
Directory.CreateDirectory(projectPath + "Resources");
Directory.CreateDirectory(projectPath + "Scripts");
Directory.CreateDirectory(projectPath + "Shaders");
Directory.CreateDirectory(projectPath + "GUI");
Directory.CreateDirectory(projectPath + "Textures");
Directory.CreateDirectory(projectPath + "Scenes");
Debug.Log ("Folders Created");

AssetDatabase.Refresh ();

}

Interview With the Tornado Twins

I recently had a chance to talk with Efraim and Ruben¬†Meulenberg (the Tornado Twins). The Tornado Twins are media masters; they are “involved in any type of media production, from electronic music to games, print media and art.” They have a number of video tutorials available on Youtube¬†to help you make games and music.

tornado-twins

Welcome, Tornado Twins! So, when did you start making games?

We started making games at age 10 with a 3d software called “Klik & Play“. Very basic stuff but it started getting us interested in all aspect of gamedev. Two years later we were coding in C++ using the Genesis3D engine. From there we’ve hit all major indie engines under the sun and we still play around with a lot of them.

How did you find out about Unity3D?

Unity was relatively unknown in 2006/2007 and was Mac-only. We liked it so much that we turned our whole office into a mac-only-shop and jumped on the Unity train.

Cool. What advice would you give to those just starting out with game development, especially those on a small budget?

If you have a small budget you have two options: make/raise money for your project or do everything yourself. Even with a small off-time team you better count on doing everything yourself. Many such teams fail.
Making a competitive small game costs at least 100k of either investment or time.
I hope our tutorials on YouTube can help a lot of people in this regard, to show what some good avenues are to take as well as ease up the overwhelming options in a game engine and narrow it down.

Interesting. So, what games are you currently working on?

We’re turning the whole Bible into a video game (this is a high end game with a multi-year investment from our team) as well as working on a system that helps people make FPS games fast. We’ll probably release that system for free on January first through TornadoTwins.com.

Sounds good. What other projects besides games are you working on?

We have started businesses in all areas of media development, including games, music, books and audio.

What do you think about the new Unity 4?

Unity 4 is great. Mecanim is a blast to plug the bugs in common animation clip approaches and the other features are epic as well. But really Mecanim is the big deal of 4.0 in our opinion.
Let’s hope that the next release has some awesome audio (FMOD-style) features and that will make our day… erhm… year.

unity4

Unity 4 sure is great. What are your thoughts on other game engines, like UDK?

Love them! We love them all. Every one needs to find their own tools for the job. For us that’s Unity right now.

Lastly, where do you see the Tornado Twins headed in the future? Where do you plan to go and what do you plan to do? 

Our next plans are a little secret until January first. We’ll always help other game developers as well as develop our own titles. People can follow us through the free newsletter on TornadoTwins.com. One thing is for sure: we’ll be releasing free new tutorial videos again each week. That’s all we can say!

Making Custom Gizmos

In this post, I will show you how to make a custom gizmo to be displayed over game objects in Unity. For instance, I have a bunch of collectible gems in my game, and I want to be able to see them easily, though they are kind of small. So I’ll need to make a gizmo.

First, you need an image with an alpha channel. Here’s an example:

gem gizmo gimp

Okay, make sure you export your image into Unity. You should probably make a folder in your Unity project called “Gizmos”. Next create a script. It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3 lines of code.

function OnDrawGizmos () {
    Gizmos.DrawIcon (transform.position, "gemGizmo.png");
}

That’s in JavaScript. Let me give it to you in C# as well, in case you’re one of those C# guys.

using UnityEngine;
using System.Collections;

public class example : MonoBehaviour {
    void OnDrawGizmos() {
        Gizmos.DrawIcon(transform.position, "gemGizmo.png");
    }
}

So there you have it.

Now, let me tell you something. That is the hard way to do it. The code way. The long way. As of Unity 3.5x, you can select your game object, look at the top left corner in the Inspector, and click the little icon with the arrow. Then click Other and choose your texture.

So THERE you have it.

Unity 4 Features Summary

Unity 4 will be released sometime soon, and it’s sure to be fantastic. Here are some of the new features:

BETTER GUI SYSTEM
Much better optimization and performance

MECANIM
Retargetable animation
Easy and visual animation blending
Easy use of mocap
Use inverse kinematics rigs

NEW USER INTERFACE
Better project organization
Component based workflow
Live preview Asset Store assets within Unity Project window

DIRECTX 11
Unity makes use of Microsoft’s DirectX 11

3D TEXTURES
The ability to use volumetric textures for advanced shader effects.

SHURIKEN PARTICLES
Updates to the Shuriken particle system for more realism.

MOBILE SHADOWS
Dynamic, real time shadows for mobile

LINUX
Deployment to the Linux OS supported.

…AND MORE!

Now, some of you might be wondering, are all these features going to be in the free version of Unity? The answer is: No. Not all of them. But most if them will be. See the list below.

UNITY 4 FEATURES NOT IN FREE VERSION

Mecanim IK rigs
Some navigation mesh features
3D Textures
Lightmapping with normal maps

That’s all! Thanks for reading!

Unity 4 Video

Exporting Meshes from UDK to Unity

You can’t export whole scenes and levels from UDK to Unity and expect it to be a playable game. Unity and UDK speak totally different languages. But you can export individual meshes(objects). Here’s how.

First, open the Unreal Development Kit (UDK).

UDK2Unity1

Next, open the Content Browser if it’s not already open. (View > Browser Windows > Content Browser)

UDK2Unity2

Good. Now, choose a object you want to export. I’m going to use those stairs for this example. Select the stairs, then drag and drop them into your scene. Once it’s in your scene, select it so it turns kind of purple. Then right click on it, and choose the option “Export (.FBX)”.

Continue reading “Exporting Meshes from UDK to Unity”

Making a Successful Indie Game

Can one person really make a whole game by themselves? I think so. How to do it, you wonder? Follow my ten tips below.

#1. Don’t try to do something you know you cant do. We would love to make the next Battlefield 3, but the reality is that an independent game developer will never achieve this. On the other hand, making the next Angry Birds or Temple Run is something an indie developer can do. Don’t be overconfident, but don’t get discouraged. Think big, just not too big. And don’t think art-centric. Think fun-centric.

#2. Use Unity 3d. Unless you really need super high-end graphics which then you would use UDK. But just trust me, you really want to use Unity.

#3. Look at other indie games, like Minecraft. What are they up to? What about them inspires you?

#4. Subscribe to Create3DGames. This might be overly obvious, but just in case you forgot. (Click on the RSS button to subscribe). Do it now. Right now. Okay, next tip…

#5. Be creative. Be the most creative person you know. Creativity = $UCCE$$. Always. Well, usually. Sometimes. Just be original. Don’t be a copycat.

#6. Get your friends to test your game. You need feedback. Lots of it. Release an alpha version online, and a beta version, too.

#7. Develop your idea before you start work on developing the game. Get the game design done before the game development. You need to have a solid story for the game. Do a few sketches of what you want different scenes or levels in the game to look like.

#8. Go for mobile. Smartphone (and tablet) games are becoming very popular, and it also gives you an excuse for not making triple A graphics in your game.

#9. Don’t be afraid to use other people’s stuff in your game. You might have to give them credit or whatever, but for certain things like game music and sound effects, you will probably want to buy those from someone else, unless you can do that stuff yourself. Which most people can’t. Probably because they don’t have a whole orchestra and sound boards and what not.

#10. Don’t give up. Sure, you might fail the first time. But that just means you will do even better next time. Also, whatever assets you make for the game, sell them online. Like if you have a 3d model you made for the game, then sell it on Turbosquid or the Unity Asset Store or something.

Good luck and happy game developing!

Exporting from Google Sketchup Free to Unity Free

Lots of people want to know: how do I get my models from Google Sketchup into Unity 3D? The answer is very simple. And here it is.

First, you need a model. I found this cool model on the Google Sketchup 3D Warehouse. Ideally, you’d make your own, but you don’t have to. Also, make sure the model is in the center of your world. Meaning, zero on the x, y, and z coordinates.

Next, export it (File > Export > 3D Model). Note that this is in Sketchup FREE, not PRO. Save it in your assets folder in your Unity project.

Continue reading “Exporting from Google Sketchup Free to Unity Free”

Shaders, Materials, and Textures

What is the difference between a material, a shader, and a texture? And why do they exist?

First of all, be aware that in some programs, there is no difference. For example, in Maya, a shader and a material are the same thing. Phong shader, Phong material, same exact thing. Such is true for other programs. However, a texture is completely different from either of these.

A texture is a 2D image pasted onto a material, basically. The material typically contains all the properties of how the model looks, such as the shader, color, opacity, glowyness (is that a word?) and so forth. The shader, generally speaking, makes the model look different. It can make the model pretend like it’s more detailed than it really is, or make it look like it’s on fire, or make it look like water is dripping down it the sides of it, or turn the model into glass, or a mirror, or whatever. There’s ¬†many cool things you can do with shaders. They are typically used to make objects more shiny, though.

Shader Types
Image courtesy of wiki.blender.org

Continue reading “Shaders, Materials, and Textures”