Asset Store In-Depth: #3
Published: Apr 7, 2012
Greetings from the Unity Asset Store team!
Spring is here (at least in the northern hemisphere, sorry Australia!) and with it comes longer days and new life blooming everywhere. The Asset Store is blooming as well, with a multitude of fresh and exciting new offerings. Highlights of our April newsletter include: a massive discount on Allegorithmic Substances, an interview with the creator of super-seller NGUI, a great in-editor modelling tutorial with GameDraw and, as always, spotlights on great products. Don’t forget, we keep an archive of our past Asset Store newsletters, if you missed any of our previous announcements. Read on to learn more!
Asset Store sellers raking in huge revenue!
We’ve can’t help but brag. March 2012 was our biggest month so far, with an enormous amount of business for both Unity and our Asset Store sellers, who netted nearly $200,000 in total just this month. A huge congratulations to our many sellers who have chosen to bring their skills and talents to the Asset Store. They’ve greatly exceeded our expectations in terms of quality, diversity and support. You can do it too – if you’ve got the skills, time and passion, put your genius to work on the Asset Store and earn enough to buy a jetpack.
Allegorithmic launches Substance Madness sale on the Asset Store
The Asset Store madness continues to spread! The fine people at Allegorithmic completely lost their minds, and now are offering their entire catalog of Substances, those powerful yet compact procedural materials, for an insanely great price. The full catalog, purchased piece by piece, would normally cost you $3990! If you’re the smart shopper we know you to be, take advantage of this clearly bonkers Asset Store special and purchase the entire collection for just $950.
That’s nearly ⅓ of the price! Act before April 30th to save big, before the people at Allegorithmic come back to their senses! If you’re not yet familiar with Allegorithmic Substances, they’re a built-in way to generate textures and materials procedurally from a small set of parameters. In addition to being compact and efficient, substances save you a lot of time, as you don’t need to hand paint your textures in an image editor. Take a look at the Unity Web Player demo to learn more.
Here’s a handy little time-saver. This straightforward and affordable tool from IS3D automates the process of assigning components and their properties to GameObjects. We think it’s not only one of the handiest little tools on the store, it’s also a great example of Asset Store developers finding a missing niche or feature, creating their own solution and bringing it to the community at large. Simple, sweet and well made – it’s no wonder Component Copier has become a smash hit.
By Doppler Interactive
Tile and block games are classic! Harking back to the 8 and 16 bit console games of yore, they’re a popular new trend, especially with the explosion of sandbox block building style games. While overall game design might be more straightforward, creating and managing levels from a multitude of tiles and blocks requires a toolset to organize the process. Tidy Tile Mapper by Doppler Interactive helps you do just that. Laying out tile and block levels is accomplished by ‘painting’ directly in your scene with its fast painting tools. Just click and drag to quickly and easily lay out series of blocks & tiles. Want more variety? Switch on block cycling and random mode for less regular layouts. In addition to the great tool itself, you also get access to the entire API, enabling you to drive and operate the tool procedurally from your own scripts.
For those of you who might have been living under a rock the last year, you need to check out the wildly popular and amazing iTween scripting extension from PixelPlacement. It’s a versatile and time-saving tool, which enables you to create complex tweened animation right inside Unity.
If you’ve used the tweening animation system in Flash™, you’ll find iTween to be a comfortable and familiar tool. With its easily customizable interpolation parameters, you can create dynamic, complex and elegant movement without having to open your external animation tools. Not only is iTween awesomely powerful on its own, you’ll also find that other developers have integrated its power in their own plugins, which you can find on the Asset Store.
The generous developers at PixelPlacement have made iTween completely free and encourage developers to adapt and augment it as they please. Check it out – we think you’ll be delighted!
Vikings and their ships, hordes of gold, women warriors, scary music, and yes, fat zombies
Build a Viking settlement with the Medieval Viking Houses, Medieval Viking Longhouses, Medieval Model Collection and Epic Battle Music, Medieval Viking Ships, Female Warrior and the Barbarian - Plundered booty! Ancient Weapons!, Fantasy Props!, Bludgeons of War!, GOLD! Horrors! Zombies! Mayhem! Fearsome characters like the Fat Zombie, Monster Zombie , Creature and Total Horror populate your nightmares – set the scene with ambient soundscapes like Elements of Terror, spine-tingling macabre music such as Dark Nightmares and monstrous Sound Effects! You’ll need weapons – The Gore Weapon and Modern Weapon packs can get you started off right.
Interview: Super-seller Michael Lyashenko of Tasharen Entertainment
We are blown away by how the developers and designers selling their wares through the Asset Store are fuelling a unique and largely self-sustaining microcosmic industry. Just look at the example of Michael Lyashenko. In the last week of the Asset Store Madness sale, Lyashenko had earned $12,086 in profit with his popular NGUI. To date, in 2012, he has raked in over $77,000. Lyashenko, and many other Asset Store publishers like him, now have a steady source of income that lets them focus on their continuing game development. In turn, their products help customers optimize and save critical amounts of time on their game creation.
In this interview, Lyashenko talks about how NGUI came about, where it’s going, his own success and the changing nature of the game making business.Tell us about yourself, your team and history.
My team just consists of myself for the time being. I have a game development background, and I’ve been using Unity professionally since early 2008. Back then we had to use Mac computers to do everything as it was before Unity 2.5, and MonoDevelop was not even on the horizon. Anyone remember Unitron? Fun times! (no, not really)
I have to admit adjusting to Unity was a difficult process for me as I was coming from an object-oriented C++ background. The whole component-based approach was quite alien to me at first. I kept trying to do everything in an object-oriented way – singletons, numerous non-monobehaviour-derived managers, everything created via code. As you may guess, I was fighting “The Unity Way” of doing things every step of the way, and as a result I did not enjoy using it in the least.
It was not until Unity 3.0 came out that I finally decided to throw away my preconceived notions of how the code should be structured and start fresh with an open mind. That was about the time I finally learned something, and became a huge fan of the engine. Go figure!
Around November last year I decided that the current overtime-laden, profit-above-fun corporate game development environment was not for me, and decided to go indie and work on my own game. I only got as far as the UI system, released as a stand-alone package roughly 3 weeks later.Tell us about your product, its inspiration, why you decided to make it.
NGUI is a tool that makes it easy for anyone using Unity to create user interfaces for games. Its inspiration was quite simple – I did not enjoy using the other UI packages that were available, and always knew that there had to be a better way. Finally deciding to put my money where my mouth is, I started working on my own solution. People seemed to like it, so I kept at it. I wanted to create a tool for myself that would make it easy to create pretty fancy user interfaces “The Unity Way” – component based, drag & drop small scripts to get the behaviour I want. I wanted something flexible like that so that I wouldn’t have to spend hours digging through the UI code.What do you like about Unity?
What’s not to like? It’s well-designed. Building for different platforms is an effortless click away. Testing the new code changes takes seconds, not minutes. There are no hour-long build times. There is no need to spend a day setting up the environment for “the new guy” before he can run the project. And the ability to pause the game and modify just about anything visually? I love it!How did you hear about the Asset Store?
I heard about it when it was first released, back when there was pretty much nothing on it. My first thought was, ‘an integrated asset store? This is going to be huge!’ Unfortunately working full-time didn’t leave much room for side-projects that could be submitted.Do you have any advice for middleware developers who might sell their work on the Asset Store?
Simply put, find a hole and fill it. Do you see something that there is a lack of, or that you know you can do better, such as good-looking non-cartoony spaceship models (hint hint)? Create some, put them up, and you will earn some money. That said, don’t set your goal to make as much money as possible. Aim to make a great product first and foremost. The coins will come naturally.
One other suggestion I can make is regarding the price. You may think that your work is far superior to everyone else’s and that might tempt you to set a really high price for your product, but my suggestion is – don’t do it. A lower price will tempt more buyers, and if they like your product they will likely tell their friends, who will also be tempted to buy it. It’s like a domino effect. The lower the price, the faster the dominos fall, and the more money you earn.What can developers look towards in the future from your company?
I’m going to continue to support and expand NGUI, although the latter is somewhat indirect in nature. I’ve been working on a game using NGUI for the past 6 weeks, and the vast majority of updates to NGUI were the result of me finding things that were missing or could be done better, and adding them in. I figure it’s the best way to go about adding features anyway, as then I am my own customer as well, and I can see exactly what can and should be added.What is your vision for the future of game development and game developers?
The way I see it, the industry started off with small teams working on games out of their own basement and evolved into large mega-corporations pushing their money-driven agenda on the thousands of developers working 60+ hour weeks. The industry became a rather unhappy place to be. Unpaid overtime became the norm. Copying other games turned into a sure ticket to success. This sort of environment left little room for innovation or trying something new, let alone something “fun”. Fortunately I feel that we are currently transitioning past that era. We are now in the age of digital distribution. We have venues like Kickstarter to fund the project, alpha and pre-order purchases to sustain it, and, should it fail or fall short, there is the Asset Store to provide additional funding, by selling off the individual components, or even the complete project as a whole. And in some cases, the components sold on the Asset Store can become so popular that they will provide the ability to fund the project all by themselves. In other words: money if you finish, money if you don’t. With a lack of risk like that, it’s hard not to imagine more developers following the indie route in the near future.
Tutorials & Example Projects
Tutorial: How to publish and make money on the Asset StoreAre you a 3D modeler, coder, sound designer, or texture artist? Do you have a solution of your own that other people will find useful and time-saving? While you’re hard at work on your own games, you can earn funding and street cred by sharing and selling your creations on the Asset Store. Some of our publishers make thousands of dollars a month and now earn their livelihood through the sales of their products. As an Asset Store publisher, you get a pretty good deal with Unity: a clean 70/30 split of the profits from your sales, with you receiving 70%. Take a look at the following tips to get started on your way to becoming an Asset Store success story.
The submission process
We have made the submission process faster and easier for you with the Asset Store Tools package. This package provides the framework to assist you in preparing your content for submission to the store. You must include documentation or at least a readme.txt file in your project. Document what your asset does, and include instructions for setup, installation, and how to use it. It also helps to include a scene file that demonstrates your asset at work.
The most successful publishers on the Asset Store have put considerable effort into the packaging of their content by creating strong, well-designed key images and well-written description text. Links to additional material, such as Unity Web Player demos, and YouTube or Vimeo videos, are especially helpful in demonstrating tools or editor extensions to your audience. If you haven’t got the graphics skills to do it yourself, consider hiring a designer. Some publishers have hired graphic artists to create their key images, and have more than recouped on their investment.
Get great reviews
Generally, we have noticed a few key trends among the packages which get great reviews. Naturally, you need to find a demand and fill it with a quality asset. But that’s not all – providing updates with bug-fixes and new features, responding promptly to questions and issues brought up by your customers, and generally being as professional as possible pays back huge dividends. To become a popular and effective seller, look at your asset publishing as a business in which you nurture great products and customer service. If your package is an editor extension or scripting library, create easy-to-use, well-documented tutorials to go with them. Listen to your customers’ needs, answer them, shape the product to make them happy, and you’ll see this reflected in customer comments and star ratings.For more in-depth information, please read through the Asset Store Submission Guidelines.
Tutorial: Build a maze game level within Unity using GameDraw
GameDraw is a 3D modeling extension for Unity developed by Mixed Dimensions that reduces the time you use on switching back and forth between a modeling program and Unity.GameDraw provides the ability to model, edit, optimize meshes, and easily convert textures to meshes, right inside the Unity Editor! Among the great features GameDraw provides:
- Vertices and triangle editing
- Assigning new materials
- Vertex welding
- Triangle deletion
- Boolean operations
- An extended set of primitives
- UV editing, copying and exporting
- 2D to 3D conversion
- Node-based editor
Once you download GameDraw from the Asset Store, Unity’s mesh filter editor gets automatically updated with all the options from GameDraw. Six tabs are immediately visible in the Inspector to give you fast access to GameDraw’s features.
The maze level
In this tutorial we’ll create a level in which you must traverse a maze from a starting point to a small house on the other side. All models will be created with GameDraw within Unity! We’ll be using the 2D to 3D feature, which allows you to proceed from tracing an image into a mesh, to creating the maze itself, and then we’ll model the house using the editing capabilities within GameDraw. Here’s the map for this level:.
Generating the maze model from an image
One of the unique features of GameDraw is the ability to directly trace an image into a mesh. This is what we will use to get the maze model up and running within seconds, without even moving a single vertex from its location.
First, we need to import the image that we want to turn into a mesh. You can download that image right here. Once that’s done, we simply use any Game Object with a mesh filter to access GameDraw. From GameDraw, we select Create->Utilities->2Dto3D, then we click on Create new 2D element. A save dialog will appear, so choose any name, select a location for the element, and click Save.
Once you save the file, you’ll have more options to choose from. Click on the new window which appears, as demonstrated below. We’ll select the image we want to trace in the texture slot and click on Trace. You should see small points on the edges of the image. If there’s something wrong and you see missing points or improperly positioned points, play around with the settings until you are satisfied with the result and close the window afterward.
When you close the window you’ll be able to generate a mesh from the 2D element. You can replace the current mesh by toggling Replace Mesh; generate different parts as Game Objects by toggling Generate as Children, and merge sub meshes to get a single material.
In GameDraw, you’ll find construction types such as Layers2D to generate flat surfaces and Layers3D to generate extruded surfaces. However, you’ll first need to set up an extrusion.
In our case we’ll use Layers3D. Select Generate As Children, then click on Update Mesh, which will generate the Game Objects and their meshes. You should end up with the following:
By this point, we’ve have created the maze itself. Next, let’s create the house at the end of the maze.
Modeling the house
To start modeling the house, we first create a cube either from Unity’s primitives or from the primitives included with GameDraw. GameDraw ships with 25 extended primitives and includes the means to also easily add your own.Once we create the cube, we’ll GameDraw->Edit and click on the triangle selection button, which is the second button at the top of the edit tab. Select the top triangles, which should be highlighted in green. Next, click on Extrude to extrude the selection, and then move upwards. Continue working with this operation to generate the different parts of the building, including window and door offsets, as seen in the screenshots below:
Assigning materials and UV manipulation
Once we finish modeling the house, we’ll need to assign materials to the different parts of the building, as well as to manipulate its UVs to fit just right.To assign materials we simply select the desired triangles from the Edit tab. Select a material in the Material tab under the Assign New Material settings. Then, click on the Assign New Material button in the upper right corner of the Edit tab.
To fix UVs, go to the UV Tab then click on Make Cubic. Other available options are spherical and planar. Then rotate, scale or translate the UVs until they fit the model’s needs. To work on specific parts of the mesh UV coordinates, there is a simple UV editor that can be used to manipulate each UV coordinate individually.
By now you should have learned to use GameDraw to trace 2D images into 3D, create and edit models, assign materials and manipulate UVs, and build a complete level from scratch. And entirely within Unity!
This is just an example of the many powerful features included in GameDraw, but it’s certainly not all of them. In addition, we’re regularly releasing new updates and have a strong roadmap with new features in the works, including a procedural cities system, poly reduction brush, sprite support and more!
For more information
You can learn more about GameDraw from http://www.gamedraw3d.com and you can access the documentation here or simply follow Mixed Dimensions on: Twitter: @MXDimensions or Facebook: Facebook.com/MXDimensions