Tips&Tricks

Must-have Unity plugins – Part 2

Here’s part 2 of my must-have Unity3D plugins series. Once again, I’ll share some plugins I’m using on my game projects and that I recommend you.

In case you missed it, part 1 is available here.

Touch Console Pro

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I discovered this one only recently but I’m already in love with it. Three main reasons for that:

In-game console

Yes, it allows you to have an interactive console inside your game!

OK, it may not seem much said that way but believe me, that’s a “game changer” (huhu) when you make mobile games. Yes, you can access device logs but let’s admit it, it’s not very user friendly… 

Logs can be filtered by type (debug/warning/error/exception/assert) and by content (using key words or regular expressions), you can see full stacktrace by clicking on it and the console pops up automatically when an exception is raised (optional).

Console commands

The plugin also offers the possibility to execute “quake-like” console commands while playing your game, which is very practical for testing.

You can obviously implement your own custom commands using a very simple API allowing commands with parameters, command helpers, etc.

I personally use it mainly for cheats (unlocking missions, adding life, toggling god mode, etc) and to enable debug mode (displaying additional information in game view, being able to control CPU characters, etc) but you can be more creative with it.

Bug report

But there’s another feature that is priceless to me: the bug report tool. Your players (or testers!) can use it to send you a complete bug report by email!

This include your logs (in sexy colored interactive HTML), device information (hardware details, game version, etc), a screenshot of the game and even a game save if you implement it!

TL;DR

Long story short, your life (and the life or your testers) will be much easier with this plugin if you work on mobile platforms.

You could go with your in-house solution (I actually started implementing my own before trying it) but you will only get this level of polish if you give it weeks of your precious dev time.

 

Maintainer

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https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/32199

As perfectly described in its asset store page, Maintainer is your project “housekeeping assistant”. It helps check potential issues related to:

  • Components (missing, duplicate or with incomplete properties)
  • Prefabs (disconnected instances, missing prefab)
  • Other “neatness” constraints

The awesome part is it checks all your scenes and assets!

It also presents the found issues in a very practical list with the ability to focus on the associated assets or game objects.

It could have more options like customizable scene check list or a component ignore list but it’s already a great tool to detect potential bugs and refactoring needs early on.

By the way, use it as soon as possible in your development process, you will once again save yourself some precious dev time!

 

Heavy-Duty Inspector

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https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/14472

Time, time, time, oh precious time…

Isn’t game development all about optimizing time spent on gameplay instead of boring stuff?

Isn’t life all about optimizing time spent on gameplay instead of boring stuff? …OK maybe not >_>

Tools are as important as boring to implement. You should must not work without good tools.

Good tools make your (team) daily tasks easier and help you focus on what’s really important for your game. They are a huge time saver in the long term but they need a significant initial investment.

What if you could drastically reduce this investment and only get the best part of it?

Unity editor can be extended with custom windows, menus and inspectors so it’s a great place to implement your tools. One of the most powerful features of its API is the Property Drawers system. It allows to define how the way your components (or scriptable objects) properties are displayed in the inspector. The problem is it needs a lot of code to do simple things.

Heavy Duty Inspector does the coding for you and gives you access to it via custom Attributes. So with a single line of code (really), you can now:

  • Add colors and names to you components (handy when you have several instances of the same component on a single game object)
  • Easily duplicate, insert or move elements of your lists
  • Add an interactive button in the inspector to execute a specific method
  • Add comments above properties (really useful when working with non technical guys always wondering what is this property for or what is the expected value format)
  • Hide properties based on another property value (priceless when dealing with complex scriptable objects)
  • Mark properties as layer or tag to display the corresponding prefilled drop list
  • Serialize unsupported types like unsigned 64 bits integers

Dictionaries are also exposable in the inspector but need several lines of rather unintuitive code.

No more excuses now, you can make awesome tools in no time!

 

That concludes part 2! I hope you liked it.

Don’t forget to check the asset store before implementing something new and to leave a review once you bought something. By the way…

Must-have Unity plugins – Part 1

One of the (many) strengths of Unity is its Asset Store, offering thousands free and payed-for plugins and assets. By the way, you have 4 days left before the end of the (fifth!) Birthday Bonanza Sale!

Here are 3 of my favorite plugins I use in most of my game projects.

Let’s make it quick, I’m myself subject to the TL;DR syndrome.

A* pathfinding project

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https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/1876

Pathfinding is a recurrent problem in game development. A good enough solution is often needed in early stages of development and its implementation can look daunting.

This is the best solution I’ve found so far :

  • It’s blazing fast (even on mobile)
  • Supports multiple terrain representation methods (waypoints, node grids, navmeshes)
  • Has more advanced options than most of the other solutions I tried (including the Unity built-in navmesh system)
  • It’s well documented and comes with ready-to-use client components

I’ve used it on most of my game projects needing pathfinding and really recommend it.

Editor Console Pro

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https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/11889

This is an editor-only plugin offering an enhanced version of the built-in console.

Although it may consume some precious CPU load when you spam logs (but you know you shouldn’t spam logs), it doesn’t impact your builds performances and it allows you to:

  • Filter logs by type (debug/warning/error/exception) or by content (using keywords or even regular expressions)
  • Show additional columns like frame number, time since startup, triggering class, etc
  • Export logs to text files
  • And my favorite feature: clickable stacktrace <3 (clicking on a line of the stacktrace opens your code editor and highlights the corresponding line of code)

This console gives you a real productivity boost when it comes to debugging.

ProBuilder

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Advanced (paying) https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/3558

Basic (free) https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/11919

The Asset Store is full of great 3D models but sometimes you may want to tweak one of them, use exotic primitives or even make your own models from scratch.

Until recently, the only solution was to use an external tool like 3DSMax or Blender to do that (or rely on someone who does). Which means you had to learn the ins and outs of a whole new software with its proprietary coordinate system, interface and controls. And I won’t even talk about the price of some of those softwares…

Well, that’s not the case anymore with this plugin! \o/ You can now stay comfy in the editor and use a fully integrated tool featuring:

  • Intuitive unity-like interface and controls
  • Mesh editing by vertex, edge or face using face extrusion, vertex welding and bridging, etc
  • UV editing, vertex coloring, material editing by face
  • Advanced configurable primitives

It still lacks some features you can find in modeling softwares (like rigging or skinning) but it’s constantly improving and developers are working closely with their users.

I never managed to get used to Blender’s workflow or had the money to afford 3DSMax so ProBuilder is kind of a life saver. It allowed me to design the first Gladiabots bot prototypes is just a few days.

Lots of cool game projects already use it as shown in this demo reel video.

You can even test the free “Basic” version before spending your money on the “Advanced” version. You will only get a part of the cool features listed above but it will give you a glimpse of the possibilities this plugin unlocks.

 

That’s all for part 1, I hope it will help some of you.

Let me know in the comments below if you have other suggestions.

Next week, I’ll talk about 3 other plugins you have to know: Touch Console Pro, Maintainer and Heavy-Duty Inspector.

Unity3D custom google search

A very useful tool when searching for informations/documentation/solutions about Unity.

Unity-related search, including the Unity site, Forum, Unity Answers, Wiki, plus Nvidia and MSDN (for shader and C# reference) and a handful of Unity community sites

http://www.google.com/cse/home?cx=001712401338047450041%3Acsfhqk-trfa

If you are using Chrome browser, you can even use this search engine with a quick shortcut by doing this :

  1. Right click on the address bar and select “Edit search engines”
  2. Go to the bottom of the displayed list and add a line with the following values :
    1. Unity3D
    2. u
    3. http://www.google.com/cse?cx=001712401338047450041%3Acsfhqk-trfa&q=%s
  3. Click the “OK” button
  4. In the address bar, type “u” then SPACE (you should now see a beautiful “Search Unity3D” label appear)
  5. Type your request words then ENTER
  6. Enjoy the result page! 🙂

Unity3D best practices: 50 tips and tricks to know

Herman Tulleken has listed not less than 50 tips and tricks to know before starting a Unity3D based project.

These best practices focus not only on coding but also on assets and project workflow.

Of course, all is not to be taken literally but most of the points raised can save you a lot of headaches during your project…
It is very comprehensive, so both noobs and experts will find useful info here.

Here is the list: http://devmag.org.za/2012/07/12/50-tips-for-working-with-unity-best-practices/

Any additional thing you think about? Post it in comments!

Unity3D beginner tips

Here’s a list of useful tips/tutorials/advice for Unity3D beginners I gathered for several weeks.
I’ll list the main chapters of each topic so you can have a good vision of what it’s about.
Hope it would help/convince you to join our growing community!

Don’t forget to look at the link lists in the right menu to find tones of other references. 😉

Read More…

Unity3D & HTTP/HTTPS proxy: problem solved! o/

As I already mentioned in a previous post, accessing Unity3D Asset Store or checking for editor updates seemed impossible when working behind a web proxy (like most of people at work I guess)…

Well you can now forget it as Rob Rolleston has given me the solution in his reply on Unity3D “support” forum: you have to set the correct Windows user environment variables for Unity3D to know how to access the web (don’t know how it works for MacOS users…).

Those variables are the following and should match this pattern:

  • HTTP_proxy = <http proxy ip/url>:<http proxy port>
  • HTTPS_proxy = <https proxy ip/url>:<https proxy port>

If you wonder how to add user env variables, well… LMGTFY 😀

Thanks again to Rob and enjoy asset store from work! o/

PS: don’t forget to restart Unity3D editor after setting up the user environment variables!

PS2: some users may also need to restart Windows (or at least close/reopen their session) for the changes to be applied

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