Recap: Mo’ Dimensions, Mo’ Problems
August 20, 2011 Samantha Metheny
For our August 3 event, Sean McCracken discussed how to make a basic 3D game optimized for mobile using Unity 3D. If you were unable to attend or need a refresher, we've got you covered:
Before we get into some specifics about Unity, let's talk about some foundations for 3D development:
For the n00bs and the lulz
- Polygons, triangles and quads, oh my!
- Updates and FPS
- Lights and rendering (less is more, become a baker)
- Play a freakin mobile 3d game to get a good idea of what is possible (If you want to make a game, you have to play games, really, to know what your market.)
- Play a freakin mobile 3d game to see what level of graphics people are expecting for price points.
Learn some basic physics common to all 3D rendering programs
- Rigidbodies (what you put your stuff in so it can be rendered?), colliders (when you're dealing with games, you're dealing with walls and running into things), raycasting, the way you see in 3D
- The scale of your art is a big deal (how big scale x,y,z of your actual models) does actually affect your rigidbodies in 3D.
- Please play with physics components like Legos, and play often.
- “Physics” are expensive on mobile, so use it sparingly and correctly.
- Don't make Angry Birds for the sake of all that is good in this sad world!
- Playing with simulations in game engines makes you smarter.
- yourFirstGame !=MMORPG (This is a “massive multiplayer online role-playing game. Don't do this as your first game … everyone thinks they're going to make WOW right out of the gate).
- If you can't finish a level on the toilet, your game == FAIL (keep it casual, yo).
- KISS (keep it simple, sweetheart)
- Launching something that fails is better than never releasing something that is perfect.
- The more games you make, the larger your code/art repository to build more games.
- Play freakin' mobile games! (know thine market!).
- Make the game you want to play.
Basics are covered, so, shall we make a game? Yes, let's move to Unity:
Unity is based in scenes
- Start by setting up your Project Structure.
- The program is overall “level designery:” level designers are artists/renderers, and unity plays up these strengths.
- Use scenes to separate your stuff because it's completely scaleable.
- Intro scene, level one scene, outtro scene.
- Go with this architecture. Let's say that you sell a few games … well, people are going to want updates. You have the app store to deal with, and you have to keep people happy. So, you have to have those app updates to keep people interested and playing the game.
- Go to “Game Object > Create object > Cube.”
- If you haven't dealt with 3D editors or modelers, it's going to take awhile to get used to working in there and moving around.
- There are lots of polygons.
- (He's using light and particle effects, but the use of those in mobile is generally a no-no. If you can get away with not using them, that's better.)
- You're dealing with meshes. Everything in 3D is a mesh.
- GUI text is what Unity uses to render text to the screen.
- You drag the fonts directly in, and then you can alter the type right in Unity.
- But, their GUI is very limited.
- Most people will use an actual .png on the plane.
- In Unity, you create your own library of art. There are some things that come with it, but it doesn't look very nice.
- It has the ability to read Photoshop layers, so you can open up your “materials” and then you can open up Photoshop and work with the different layers.
- In the “inspector,” you can change your “tap controller 3D script.”
- (Question from the audience): Did you storyboard the game? (Sean's answer): No, I'm a bit disorganized, so I enjoy flying by the seat of my pants. But everybody has a different style.
- There are different types of 3D files.
- OBJ files – everybody uses them.
- FBX files are the best files to use for animation.
- For example, in order to have the “head” in our game example, the “face” is made up of a texture file. (They call it “skinning.”) He's very well “polygon-ed” so that's why his face texture is so clear on the screen. It's good to do as much in textures as possible.
- The lights in the example scene are pre-built parts of the textures, not additions. (We “bake” the lights into the actual textures. The texture tool creates the light texture itself once you place the light on a specific part of the object on which you're applying the texture.
- Check out turbosquid.com for lots of stock footage used in 3D modeling/development.
- One thing about games, you have to set the mood immediately.
- Everything is in C#.
- Set variables to public, so you're actually able to see them in the IDE.
- You just drop your script onto the object. It's very modular.
- Same with GUI text. You drop it onto the object, and it's linked. Woooo!
- First, create an empty Game Object. That becomes like a pointer in space.
- Then, drag the script onto the empty game object and you can start drawing on the empty object.
- Unity's game objects are like Flash's movie clips. It's just a container to hold the properties of the object.
Want More? Contact Sean!
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- Photos: Mark Casias
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For our September 7 event, Jason Nakai will discuss working with HTML5 audio and video, while still reaching a broad audience of browsers and users:
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- Custom controls
- Pitfalls to avoid
- How to fallback to Flash gracefully
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