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Hello 5.3. Goodbye 4.x

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I have been steadily working on a new, updated version of the Clean Sci Fi asset pack. I’ve found that coming in to work an hour early each day when it is nice and quiet is the best time to try and move forward on this. I solved the First Person Controller issue by simply making my own. It behaves properly, unlike the Unity Standard Assets version. If the elevator prefab was rotated in any way it would throw off the Unity 5 version when the player was parented to it. I couldn’t see a way of solving it after much experimentation. I came to the conclusion that I needed to simply supply my own. People using Ultimate FPS (UFPS) have not previously reported any issue so I assume that controller works just fine. If you have a different experience please let me know. So I was steadily working towards a new version and I began the long process of switching (where possible) to the Standard PBR shader for materials. However I suddenly got an email from Unity telling me that my asset was going to be auto-deprecated because it contained Unityscript. I had to abandon the work on shaders […]
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Life changes

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I am alive! I have not passed away. I’ve just been rather busy. I’ve also had a few life changes. Life is the key word. I have aging parents who now need constant care. Lucky for me, and them, we have a large and loving family who are able to see to their needs. I also have two young children who take up a lot of spare time. So not much time left for my own game development. The most significant change however has been my relocation to Germany. I left full time teaching and I was lured back to professional game development here in Munich by an old friend and former colleague. So now I am working as Lead Artist for Travian Games. Recently Unity has contacted me to tell me that they are dropping support for java/unityscript. I have always included the Unity4x First Person Controller in my asset pack because it was better (in my opinion) than the newer version in Unity5x. Unfortunately the old Unity4x controller used java/unityscript. So I need to replace it. This is throwing up some issues. I’ll post on this subject soon, before the release of an updated version of the Clean Sci […]
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PBR and Custom Shaders

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Teaching has put a real slow down on my ability to update the assets as frequently as I’d like. But, it has not stopped me from responding to support issues with alacrity, I’m pleased to say.   Currently I’m on Easter break so I’m managing to put in some time for the long-overdue switch to full PBR for the Unity 5.x version. I’m discovering that I can plug in the PBR lighting model into my custom shaders. That’s good news as I was scratching my head over how to implement my ‘cheat’ with static props not contributing to the light map atlas (a saving I have been quite proud of). The baked static environment can use the vanilla Unity 5 standard shader but I need a solution for my props. Looks like I’ve found it.   Hopefully, by the end of this Easter break, I’ll have the next version of the asset pack published. Expect a video explaining the changes around that time too.
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New Year Theatre Job

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A month or so ago I received a message from an old lodger of ours, Stephen Whitson. Several years ago my wife and I put him up in our flat over Christmas as he was working as an actor in the Southampton panto. I did some work on projection for the panto, (which impressed him) and so, years later he contacted me to ask if I would help out on his latest work. It turns out that Stephen is now a director of both short films and plays. Check out his company’s website to find out more. Currently he is associate director on Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Barnum and had a seven week break from that show, which he wished to fill with a small project of his own. The two-handed play is called If Only… and is by the Canadian playwright Michael Tremblay. Instead of writing this post I should be working on the projection asked of me for the last scene in the play. If you happen to be in the Clapham area of South London from the 6th do go and see it. It is a very small fringe venue so tickets will be scarce. All the […]
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Ouyaaaaaaaaaa!

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You may not have heard of the little Ouya console, lost in the whirlwind of hype and marketing of the other two new game consoles. It is never going to compete with Sony and Microsoft but while it lacks their power they cannot compete with its openness. In fact its accessibility to indie games developers is almost too much, as a quick perusal through its roster of available game titles highlights. There are some grim offerings for sure. But also some great games, from established developers and talented individuals. Why do I bring this up? Well for two reasons. Firstly, I quite like the console name. It has grown on me, despite being quite silly. And anyone of my generation who thought that Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds was wonderful will also immediately think that the console was named after the terrible noise emitted from the striding Martian tripods. “Oooooouuuuuyyyaaaaaaaaaa!” And secondly I’ve gone and bought one. Primarily for a bit of game tinkering but it can also be a great little media centre (Playing more video codecs than my PS3 can). So I’ve been recently distracted by putting my existing sci-fi assets on the little console. I have […]
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Shadowplay

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I was alerted to a new piece of hardware and software tech from nVidia recently by a friend of mine. It’s called Shadowplay and with a combination of drivers, application and nVidia cards (650 and above) it is a super-slick screen capture utility. I just happen to have a Shadowplay compatible card in one of my office Unity machines so I’ll be making use of this very soon. Just in time to help me promote my wares.
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Elevators 1.1

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Blimey! I’m bad at this blogging malarkey. I’ve never kept a diary so I’m finding it a habit that needs to be cultivated. I’m going to experiment with scheduling some time on Friday mornings for some exclusive blog love. We’ll see how it goes. Anyway, I have been making progress but, as always, it seems to take longer than expected. This time it has been those pesky elevators again. I had taken them to the point where they worked, after a fashion, and I recently decided that I needed to add some polish before release. Well, that opened a can of worms and I’ve burned several days on completely re-writing the C# code. It turned out that form, as always, follows function and the features of the elevator code dictated how they would look; what buttons and interface to include and so on. It was also bothering me that the system I had in place was very inflexible. Fine for a demo, in principle, but if I needed to change anything then it was like unpicking a very woolly sweater. So in my re-write I’ve aimed for a stripped-down but powerful, flexible system. One worthy of selling on, which is […]
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Haitus

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Wow! Has it really been almost two months since the last post? This really needs explaining. I’ll spare you the details but obviously I’d have hoped to have published my sci fi assets on the Unity asset store by now; ideally before Christmas. Plainly that didn’t happen and for the simple reason that I succumbed to illness. On and off for over three weeks I had to take time out to just rest and recover. I did manage to do some more work on the project but progress was slow due to dwindling energy and fragmented time. As the juggernaut that is Christmas loomed I just had to throw up my hands and admit I was never going to be able to get anything out there before the break. Christmas with a young family is tiring but at least I’d recovered. Unfortunately come New Year my lovely wife came down with the same thing that had blighted me! Since then I’ve been helping to nurse her back to health and look after our daughter, who is not sleeping through the night. All this makes me one tired bunny. So there you go. Sorry about the delay but sometimes life just […]
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It stumbles!

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Okay, I’ll lose the exclamations from my post titles in future. 🙂 Actually it’s not so much of a stumble as a re-think. I’m new to WordPress but it seems a good solution for an individual such as myself. So good that  I’ve decided to ditch my self-penned custom built web site and try WordPress for the whole she-bang. It’s a bit of a trial, as I’ll re-instate the old site if I can’t get what I want out of WordPress. So it’s going to look a bit rough and crazy here for a day or two until I manage to get my visual theme sorted out. The 3D stuff will start soon – honest.
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It lives!

A blog is born. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. For many years I’ve benefited from the wisdom and knowledge of many generous people around the web, and now the time feels right to try and give something back. If anybody out there is able to take anything of value from my future posts then I’ll consider it a success. I’m still setting up the blog so this opening post is very short, but stay tuned.
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