Friday, December 1, 2017

SOLID Development in Unity

For a while I have worked on and used SOLID, Dependency Injection and Unit Tests for my Unity development.  I had the chance to present at Unite Austin 2017. 


This is actually the first well recorded presentation I gave.  (after many past recorded presentation, something always went wrong.)

"... it was fantastic. The examples and level of depth are probably one of my favorites to date for SOLID. I think it was highly accessible and I've got some of the interns at the Unity Brighton office watching this feverishly. :) Thanks Dan!" - Markus Dugdale
Even if you have no interest in Unity, the SOLID aspects of this are a great for an introduction.  I spent a long time trying to come up with a way to explain it in an easier way.  Complex explanations that only make sense if you already understand it seem to be common place.  Check out Wikipedia's opening statement on "L" (Liskov's Substitution Principle):

"... a principle in object-oriented programming stating that, in a computer program, if S is a subtype of T, then objects of type T may be replaced with objects of type S (i.e. an object of type T may be substituted with any object of a subtype S) without altering any of the desirable properties of T (correctness, task performed, etc.)
 Then I get into a Dependency Injection Framework and Unity Unit Testing from within Visual Studio, as can be found here

Friday, May 26, 2017

Unity Portfolio



Around Ludum Dare #38, I came across two great portfolio tools: Unity Connect and Itch.IO. The combination of the two can help your Unity portfolio grow overnight.  The general idea, is that Itch.io has a great system for uploading and sharing WebGL games (and other downloadable forms), and that Unity Connect has a great system for sharing projects over all.


                       
(links)

We'll start with the basics.  You need WebGL Samples of your unity work.  try looking through any old sample that shows something.  It doesn't need to be complete.  You can take a failed game idea that successfully shows working with changing gravity, and cut everything but that gravity feature away.  

Then build to WebGL and upload to Itch.io.  (its uploaded in private mode so you can test before releasing)

2 key instructions:  1) set Itch's project type to HTML to get the WebGL option later in the page and 2) upload a zip of the WebGL Build folder created from your Unity project.  It will figure out the zip structure.    


Next, with the game live and playable, add a new project in Unity Connect.  Add a thumbnail, and have a separate thumbnail for the WebGL playable.  (I.e. something that says 'play now' or similar on it.)  Add any other content, and be sure to describe it for what it is.  Was it a Proof of Concept, where you are focused on one key element?  Was it a starter test project?  Is it actually released somewhere?  Is this just level 1 of a larger pay project?  Is this part of Steam Greenlight?

The more items you have on Unity Connect, the more your profile will stand out.  Keep it up.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

SOLID Development in Unity.

A couple years ago, I worked at a company who wanted to get SOLID development practices in Unity. I was unable to accomplish it then. After unsuccessfully moving on in my career, I kept a focus on figuring out how. Unity seemed to block every attempt. A large portion of the common commands are static, and unable to be replaced. Any attempt to even run test cases of Unity code causes it all to break down.

But 8 months ago, I got it working. I've used it in a major project, and spent time honing it for improvement. With a lot of companies looking to bring in 3D, and Unity being the most popular 3D game engine, the only thing missing was a way to use professional business standards when creating unity projects.  Its here.




In this presentation, I'll demonstrate how it was done.  I'll give some code examples and discuss some of the real difficulties it brought.  I'll also show what some of the key remaining hurtles are, and how they will be over come.

I'll be publishing another book, and having some more presentations on this at other conferences.  I also have a plan to affect unity assets to work with the business world.

On Sunday, June 4th, 2017,

I'll be speaking on this at the SDC.  Please RSVP to this free event.  Lets meet.  What challenges do you faces as a Unity developer?  Lets make Unity development better.  
SDC EVENT LINK  RSVP Now.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Ludum Dare #38

I decided to take on Ludum Dare #38, which theme was "A Small World".  So I created the theme: lost on a small world, chart star constellations to figure out where you are.  So below is the game play.


You can play it here:



One concept I really wanted to experiment with, was using the same mechanics as game play to drive the opening menu.  I.e. in the game you look through the star field to find constellations, and match them up with one on your screen, including rotation.


In this starting scene, you can see I've flat out said what the controls are, and you can see the lines that say START.  But to the right upper corner and rotated, you can also see the letters STA written in stars.  It emphasizes there is a constellation in that corner.  By any movement, you see how that camera movement works.

In my opinion, this helps clarify the game pretty directly.  You leave the start screen by use of the same mechanics as in game.

I'd love some feed back as to whether this concept works well enough, and what ideas you might have to improve.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

New Blog coming soon...

I wanted to let anyone who follows me know I have a new blog on the way.  This one is being custom developed, because I could find no blogging service that has what I need.

I intend to start sharing a lot more unity samples and proofs.  I want to make this very Unity focused.  The Challenge that I am facing, is that none of the blog sites have a convenient way for me to upload a WebGL package and add it to the site.  The new site I'm having developed is built on that ability.  Now, it takes easily over an hour just to post to the CDN, and reconfigure the HTML example content.  As such, there are only 1 or 2 posts that share this content, but I had started to do one new proof a day to prove out some technology or experiment with a feature.  That's not reasonable.  I could test and produce a PoC in 20 minutes, but then take an hour to share it.

Anyway, I'm working on a few big things that will probably take most of my time until around August 2017.  I'll try to get more in, but it won't be often.  Be assured, its mostly Unity stuff.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Degree Promises, a Portfolio Demonstrates


I want to share some advice that will help grow your resume to an impressive beast.

I recently came across this image on one of Daniel Doan's LinkedIn posts. The basic idea is that you want things you can show for your abilities.  Its something that I believe is really important.  I'm not saying college isn't important, but you can't depend on college alone to get ahead.

I have a really long resume, as in nine pages long.  I've been told early in my career, that resumes should be no more than one page.  My reasoning: I only add things that are relevant to my career interests.  Earlier in my life, I've worked as a clerk at a gas station, and a sandwich maker at Burger King; you won't find either of those on my resume.

Early on I had to stretch my resume just to get anywhere near a page.  I really wish I had understood this advice back then.  But, if I actually put *everything* that was relevant to my career in my resume, it would be too long; potentially a hundred pages.  I have so many unfinished works, that I have learned from, that I can't even remember them all any more.

But failed projects are the big thing here.  It wasn't until maybe 5 or 6 years ago, that I started dispensing this advice and following it: Complete something small then add to it.  Even if the project is small, as long as it is complete, you can pass it out, show it off, use it as proof.  It's so important to get things complete.  So KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) and build your resume.

One other thing, when you are working at companies or projects that you already know will become part of your resume, look for buzzwords.  Probably about 8 or 9 years ago, I started doing this.  I would work for a company, and when there were opportunities like leading a small team, working on help files, or anything else that wasn't already part of my work (but related to my goals), I would jump at it.  I was getting paid to make myself more impressive to future employers.

Once you start applying these things, it won't be long before your resume always gets you an interview.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Preparation for THAT Conference Class


While I've been preparing for the presentation I'm going to give on Unity at THAT Conference, anyone who is planning to attend should also be preparing, if you want to try following along.  You should note, that I'm not planning on stopping to help debug issues during the presentation, but I will answer questions at any time in class.  If you plan on attending and just taking notes, use what ever setup you wish.



The game I'll show you how to build is a Chain Reaction game.  It will be easy and can work on a phone or tablet with ease.  

For those planning to follow along, I recommend:
1) a laptop
2) a separate mouse with a middle button.
3) the latest installation of Unity.

 - That's it.

I was considering having some packages, or a starter project already downloaded, but I've worked all that into the presentation now, using no outside content.  We'll be using basic shapes, and getting as far into this as we can.  I would suspect during the class we will get everything up to explosions.