We were hoping to get our VR Module for Game Creator 1 finalised and packaged up to post to Unity before the end of the month. But those of you in the Game Development industry will know, nothing ever goes according to plan. Testing the code on various devices and in different modes was essential for shipping a quality product. As most of the GC users suggested that their VR platform of choice was the Quest 2 from Oculus, that has been our development standard over the past few months.
As the Quest is essentially an Android phone, the Unity platform for the Builds has been Android during most of our development cycle.
We are back in lockdown again and can only go out for basic needs. I suppose this gives me more time to work, but sometimes you just need to be outside. So what is the next best thing? Virtual Reality.
I am hosting an Online Course for Academics this week, and the topic is VR using Game Creator 1. Hence it was all hands to the pump, and get the VR Module code in a usable and acceptable state for non-technical people. When I am adding new features, my code tends to get messy and some of the new features break the existing ones.
The best laid plans do not always go as you would like them to, especially when someone throws you a curve ball. Early in December, we are hosting an online course demonstrating the use of our VR software for Game Creator. We wanted to add a few extra features and clean up the interface, making it more user friendly.
Up until now, our VR code has only been used by our Patreon subscribers, most of them being game developers, but our online course is targeted towards Academics and Industry Professionals who are not as technically astute.
Everyone needs to take some time out to do something different here and there, otherwise work would get tedious and boring, and then we will no longer be creative and productivity will suffer.
This week for my time out, I decided to play with some if the experimental features of the Oculus Quest, and the one I enjoyed using was the new Passthrough feature. Passthrough is a feature that allows you to step outside your view in VR to see a real-time view of your surroundings. The Headset does this by using the headset tracking cameras.
This is part 3 to our VR project and it is developing nicely. Today we added support for 3rd person using Game Creator's Adventure Camera. We compiled two versions, one using Final IK from Rootmotion, and one without, both work very similar and work well.
This project still has a way to go before it can be published as an Asset on the Unity Asset store, but when we do, it will support both versions of Game Creator (1 & 2) and also be able to be utilised without the GC product.
A great deal of the User Interface design for Digital Games and Apps is just copied from other successful titles, or from what appeals to the developer, and I guess I am no different. Having taught Game Design for many years, I have preferences of what I believe to work for the player and what I presume does not. However, much of my way of thinking is based on research.
It is well over a decade ago now, but I was fortunate enough to be able to play with an early design Eye-Tracking device.
As many of you will already know, I often use the Game Creator product (GC) for much of my development to reduce the timeline and coding effort. I also create add-ons and extension assets for GC, which I sell on the Unity Asset Store. And last, but certainly not least, I host training courses for Unity using the Game Creator product at Academic and Industry conferences. So I am well dialled in to Game Creator from Catsoft Works.
Well, Game Creator has evolved. The Son of Game Creator (currently know as GC2) will be released as a beta on the Unity asset store this month.
The coming weeks will be busy ones. Game Creator version 2 has been announced for release (in beta) for September 10th. As it is an entirely new product and rewritten from the ground up, none of my current Game Creator Assets will work with it and will need updates.
Although this provides a good opportunity to build some new stuff, which I will, there will be the inevitable damage control to be done for those who recently purchased GC 1 assets and now assume that they wasted their money.
Summer is always a difficult time to get things finished. There is gardening to be done, barbeques to be enjoyed, not to mention summer holidays with sea, sun, and well, doing nothing. But work must happen at some stage, even if it is just creating a VR app to do some gardening simulations (Just kidding).
This week we are adding to our VR Patreon Project with some Inverse Kinetics for hand controls. This will allow the player to move about with the thumbstick (we will add teleport in the future), while the characters hands are following the VFR controllers.
This week has been a difficult one, as I am sure we have all experienced . You get that dreaded email from apple stating that your passwords have been compromised. They don't tell you how they know this, they don't admit to being hacked, but they strongly recommend that you change all your passwords that you have stored on your Mac. And that is a big job.
But all was not lost. We also managed to resurrect the Turn Based Manager that we have been working on for Game Creator.
After a successful build of our playable VR driving simulator, I spent the week rebuilding the Mac Pro that Apple killed for us earlier this month with an unsolicited software update. Now I know my aging Mac Pro is 8 years old, and according to Tim Cook it should be on the scrap heap. In fact according to him, I should have upgraded hardware at least twice in the last 8 years if not three times.
However, being rather fond of this old beast, I decided to install Windows 10 native and see what it would do.
Just a short update this week. We have been busy completing our Driving Simulator which is playable in a Browser AND in a VR Headset.
The vehicle physics are not perfect and there are many other car controllers about that would be more realistic. However, we wanted to demonstrate what can be done using WebXR (VR in a browser) and integrating Final IK for realistic animations. We think it is very cool, but don't take our word for it, have a play for yourself.
The past week was taken up with conference workshops and I still need to create the certificates on completion, so I am not finished with this as yet.
However, work has still been progressing on our WebXR (VR) project, and the VR Flyer is looking awesome. We change the Space Craft model we were using, as the first one was a bit cramped and I was always bumping into the sides with my hands. While this was perfect for coding the collision detect to stop the player from sticking their head out the window (not a good thing to do while you are in space), I wanted some more room to be comfortable.
I decided on the above image for this weeks blog post, as although Unity advocates that using Assembly Definition Files will tidy your desk and clean up your coding practices, it is still a foreign concept to many. Unity have opted for this architecture and as such, none of us will have a choice of using it or not. You see the fact is, if one asset uses ASMDEFs, we all have to use it.
Now I have not as yet delved into the depths of ASM definitions, but I have spent many hours this week finding out why I need them and how to use them.
Hello all. It has been a troublesome couple of weeks.
After my precious Mac Pro was corrupted with a forced update from Apple a month or two ago, I went back to the dark side. I purchased a new PC and switched all my development work back to Windows and kept an iMac as my business machine for documents , movie editing, etc.
Sadly last week, Apple forced another update on me (and yes I have automatic updates turn OFF) and fried the iMac's boot drive.
I see a lot of new developers get excited when the Unity Stats panel is showing that their game is running at 200 frames per second (fps). And this is good, yes? Well, no, actually it isn't.
Currently I am doing a lot of development for the Quest 2 and on this device (which is inherently an Android phone) frames per second are paramount for screen refresh. So frames per second is a good way of judging the performance of your game, but do not get excited about 200 fps in the Unity Editor window.
We have been integrating multiple products in order to create a VR experience for our customer. I learnt long ago not to reinvent the wheel when others have already perfected it. The only reason why I would develop my own system, like a Game Engine (I did once), is when details are very specific and others just cannot meet the requirements.
Hence, to create an immersive VR experience to be delivered over the web, we are using what has already been created, and augmenting it where needed.