Tag Archives: solutions

manual_override

Project Update 05: The Subzone (Bypasses and Solutions)

After some more digging around the Unity Answers forums, I chanced upon Eric Haines’s Javascript solution to animate still images in Unity. This method would allow me to bypass creating GIFs in Photoshop altogether as I could just directly dump my screenshots into Unity. ¬†All I would have to do is to attach the Javascript to a game object I want to affect, specify the frames per second of the animation, and input in the individual still frames for the frame array. Since I would be working with lots of screenshots as input material, saving that extra few keystrokes from using Photoshop is a plus. On the other side however, I have to be extra mindful about just how many images I end up importing into the Unity system (i.e. increasing filesizes = increasing loadtimes on the webplayer for the user).

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Screenshot from the Unity Answers page.

Another problem I was facing was trying to integrate all of the elements (Unity player, Tumblr gallery for user submissions) into one Tumblr page. Sometimes the theme for the Tumblr site would cause problems with integration, and I would have to search for another compatible one to see if it would work. In the end, I settled for the option to separate the user submission gallery and the Unity webplayer into their own separate Tumblr blog sites.

Here is an updated flowchart to better illustrate my current setup.

flowchart_02

I have spruced up the main landing page of the first Tumblr blog, thanks to some helpful html coding tips from hostingkingdom. I tried to get rid of unnecessary clutter on the site so that users can easily get to the instructions and follow them without much trouble.

Here are the current versions of the landing pages for the two Tumblr blog sites.

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welcometothesubzone.tumblr.com

After users click on “Participate!” and click on the link at the bottom of the new page, they will be directed to the second Tumblr blog to submit their material. Once users fill in the details and hit “Submit”, they will then land on the main homepage where they will be greeted by all the user submissions to the site so far arranged in a grid layout for easy reference.

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The submission page on thesubzone.tumblr.com
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Homepage of thesubzone.tumblr.com

I will continue working with this setup and will stick to it, unless I find a better solution.

I have also added in a separate webpage tab on this OSS site called “Welcome to the Subzone” which should be appearing near the top left of this page. Project details and links have been added in the tab to direct viewers to the site in the event that they land here first.

Hopefully Tumblr doesn’t fall apart till then.

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Maybe this was during one of those maintenance periods in the day.

I also discovered later on in the process (when creating executable files of the Subzone for users to download) that the Windows executable file gets wrongly flagged by Chrome as being malware when someone downloads it. Also, those running OS X Mavericks will need to adjust their security settings to “anywhere” in order to run the downloaded app. I decided to include these important information right at the bottom of the main Tumblr site near the download links so that they will be seen and read by users.

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Screenshot of the malware warning in Chrome

Here is an update of how The Subzone looks like. After clicking on the Mac app I created and choosing the settings (screen resolution and graphics quality), the Unity splash screen loads before the user is transported to The Subzone.

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Screenshot of the config dialog box.

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The Subzone (Technical Realisation)

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The above diagram illustrates the proposed workflow I have in mind for this project (that is, assuming everything in the pipeline actually works according to plan). I will continue to take screenshots of my Facebook feed and use these as my “textures” in the virtual space being created in Unity. As of now, I am only considering making the most of just one social media platform like Facebook as it is very popular and easily recognisable by many.

Having already looked through some of the basic tutorials for simple level creation and how to export a game from Unity, the next part of getting the game and it’s assets out of Unity should be a fairly simple process. In order for other users to access the game, it needs to be stored online, and Dropbox would be a very good fit for this purpose. After doing some research, I found that the Unity files will need to be placed in the “Public” folder in order to ensure that the game can be embedded and played without problems.

The last step would be getting the Unity game to run embedded in a blogpost. I decided to make use of Tumblr as the platform where I will publish the Unity project, as Tumblr has a reblog and like function for individual blog posts which would help greatly in making something go viral. It also ensures easy sharing of blogposts and content among Tumblr users which is yet another plus.

Possible Problems

dropbox_downShould a problem arise with Dropbox, I will revert to Google Drive as my failsafe storage solution. If this was to occur, I will need to remember to change the embed code for the files to point them to their new location. Otherwise, users will no longer be able to access the content and they would only be greeted with a dead page.

Allowing multiple users to connect to the server (in this case, Dropbox) is another possible issue which may need to be considered. As of this time of writing, I do not know if Dropbox imposes any form of limit as to the maximum number of people allowed to access a file at any given time. If I am unable to overcome this problem, I will consider the possiblitiy of bringing the game to the user (i.e. asking friends to play it on my laptop, record their reactions, document them)

unity_crash

The Unity webplayer itself is another possible avenue for problems to occur. Not everyone will have the appropriate plugin installed in order to view and access the embedded content, so I will need to probably put a link on the frontpage of my Tumblr site to let them know where to go to download it. At the same time, embedding the webplayer itself is another issue as there needs to be some form of correct formatting and javascript invovled in order to place the Unity webplayer within a blogpost. Some more research needs to be done in this area.

Animating the textures and moving them like GIFs would be another problem. If GIFs fail to work, I would probably have to import individual frames into Unity and see how it goes from there. This also brings me to the point on integrating triggered animations which start off after a user does something in this virtual space. This requires a fair bit of tweaking and also exploring additional input from a 3d program like Maya. Checking out some forums online gave me the impression that bringing something in from Maya to Unity has a lot of things which could go terribly wrong, and this calls for some testing.

unity_corrupt

What if the Unity game becomes unplayable? (i.e. Murphy’s Law). In any case, should the exported files from Unity become damaged or corrupted, I will fall back on documenting all the steps I have taken till the point of corruption. Should attempting to open the corrupted files provide interesting results, I will attempt to record them as well as making the files public on my Tumblr site.