Unity – How to make things see where they’re going

While developing a game, I wanted to enable characters to “see” where they’re going; that is, to tell them what they’re about to stumble into, without using colliders. The answer was to cast a Ray, angled slightly downward,  in front of the character, so he can “see” if he’s about to walk into a tree, or a river, before it happens. Continue reading Unity – How to make things see where they’re going

Unity project structure – reminds me of Flash Pro

unityThe more I play with Unity, the more it feels like the workflow of Flash Pro, whereby you attach scripts to instances of actors on the stage.

I’m not talking about the ‘pure code’ approach that all ActionScripters have become used to now; but the decentralised collection of independent scripts associated with timeline movieclip instances (behaviours, if you will).

So far, I’m liking it though. Unity (and its scripting IDE MonoDevelop) feels like all the best bits of Virtools, Flash Pro, FlashBuilder, Blender, Poser and 3D Studio MAX. I’m hoping that in future versions, Unity Editor and MonoDevelop will be more tightly integrated, or even combined. And, just maybe, replace JavaScript with a TypeScript option – although I like C# anyway.

For those who have played with any of the above and want a good tutorial to get stuck right into games development with Unity, this (intermediate level) tutorial is great.

Unity – what Virtools should have become

I’ve been playing around with the Unity game engine and keep having flashbacks to a little know 3-D game dev tool I used over 10 years ago – called Virtools.


Most people will not have heard of Virtools, which itself was called NemoCreation in a previous life, until legal problems forced them to go away and rebrand. It was way ahead of its time, supporting real-time ray-tracing, hardware acceleration, full Havok physics an easy to integrate multi-player solution, long before the more popular Shockwave 3D and WildTangent had anything close.

The workflow was very similar to Unity and I had originally pinned a lot of hope on it. But, the platform was too restrictive, provided no sensible scripting alternatives and was prohibitively expensive to license. Getting hold of a trial license was notoriously difficult, too. So there were simply not enough people creating worthwhile content for it.

The licensing fubar and possibly the fact that it was way ahead of its time, were probably its death knell. But I tip my hat to what could have been.

Sneaky tricks for developing on small devices – Bitmap ‘folding’

DSC_1583One of the most problematic constraints when developing applications for mobile or Set Top Box is video memory (AKA VRAM). You often will not have control over how much video memory is allocated to your application, or what the fallback behaviour is when your application uses too much. Continue reading Sneaky tricks for developing on small devices – Bitmap ‘folding’