Tag Archives: tumblr

spelunking

Project Update 04: The Subzone (Spelunking with Glitches)

I took some time to see how else I could fiddle around with Unity. Eugene Soh’s GALLERY.SG initiative was looking for beta-testers, and since it also ran on the Unity engine but had simple characters and textures loaded for an alpha level, I joined the server and started to play around. I discovered an interesting phenomenon, whereby logging in two machines to connect to the same server leaves a shell of the first user stuck in the skybox area of the map. What I realised only later after conversing with Eugene was that he couldn’t see the first avatar at all, and all he saw was me in my second avatar standing on nothing. I found this interesting and also a little funny, so I recorded myself in Eugene’s gallery.

I then decided to document unintended glitches happening while I went about my daily routine. While the main idea is to only limit my “glitching of textures” to only Facebook screenshots, documenting these glitches which occured naturally outside of where I was looking seemed to be more attractive. In any case, these would help me to be more picky about the kinds of glitch aesthetics to employ in the Unity space.

The following video below documents a glitch on Facebook, after scrolling to the bottom refused to load more posts for reasons unknown.

A glitch on YouTube which occured while uploading a gameplay video I recorded. The progress bar kept fluctuating with it’s numbers, which only served to frustrate me further as the upload seemed like it would never finish (but it did finish, eventually…)

A glitch from something I broke while using Quartz Composer. I think I plugged in something that I shouldn’t be plugging in. The weird effect continued to play in fullscreen, but the weird thing was it only showed up as a static image in the recording below.

A quick check on my Tumblr site hosting the Unity webplayer showed that everything is still in working order. As of right now, I can begin the process of updating the assets and the environments textures.

Here are some shots from the Tumblr site with added navigation text at the top.

tum_01
Screenshot from the main page, with the header and accompanying text.
tum_02
Screenshot from the “What is this?” section of the site.
tum_03
Screenshot from the “Participate!” section of the site.
tum_04
Screenshot from the “Ask me anything” section of the site.

At the moment, I am still trying to figure out if it is possible to add a page on the Tumblr site and use it to host the incoming submissions. If that doesn’t work out, I might have to link the submission to another site and link it via a hyperlink. Also, Tumblr seems to act a little funky sometimes, which explains why the “Click here to submit” hyperlink on my site is not…hyperlinked…at the moment.

okay
How I’d probably look like when things don’t work

For now, more testing  on-going.

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at PM 07.14.53

Project Update 02: The Subzone (Simple Test)

I have been trawling through online forums to find a working embed code which will allow me to put up a test demo Unity scene within a blogpost on Tumblr. I had considered perhaps shortening the Dropbox url using goo.gl or bit.ly and putting that link out as a main landing page. But the downside is, that it would just land the user on a blank white page with the scene loading in the middle. It would be a waste of screen space as only the Unity scene would be there and nothing else. By having it on a site like Tumblr, I could place hyperlinks and buttons at the side to draw the viewer in to check out more details about what they were interacting with.

I landed upon the Tumblr blog of Josh.C Futureworks and he had prepared and publicly shared some javascript code which would help one to embed Unity 3D scenes into a Tumblr post.

Screen shot 2014-03-18 at PM 07.04.41Screen shot 2014-03-18 at PM 07.06.02The two lines of code highlighted in blue were the ones I had to change to redirect to my files on Dropbox. At first, I made the mistake of not uploading the game files to the “Public” folder on Dropbox which caused the Unity scene to not load. I had mistakenly assumed that having the url would be enough. After correcting this and putting them in the proper folder and trying again, I was able to load up the scene on Tumblr.

 

Screen shot 2014-03-09 at PM 06.50.14
Screenshot from my Dropbox folder
Screen shot 2014-03-18 at PM 07.14.53
Screenshot from my Tumblr post
Screen shot 2014-03-18 at PM 07.31.35
Screenshot from my Tumblr site after first landing
Screen shot 2014-03-18 at PM 07.33.13
Screenshot from my Tumblr site after allowing Unity plugin to run
webplayer

I already had the Unity webplayer plugin installed on my computer, so I did not experience any problems so far. I will need to include some form of auto-prompt or a link for users who do not have the plugin so that they can just download it from the site without leaving it. Also, I will need to include some pages on the Tumblr site to separate all the different sections (e.g. What? Why? etc). I could perhaps also include a link back to my project links and hyperessay work done here as an extension for viewers to find out more.

I plan to include a section on the tumblr site dedicated to video documentations and maybe even simple GIF animations to record all my experiments in Unity.

unity_crash04

The Subzone (Technical Realisation)

workflow_01

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.