I have yet another HyperBowl-style bowling game on the App Store, called Learn Unity, since this is the game built following my book in-progress, Learn Unity 4 for iOS Game Development. Besides the name (maybe I should have called it something like Unity Bowl), the game is a bit odd since it uses conveniently free assets from the Unity Asset Store. That’s why it’s bowling for barrels and the barrels sound like coins (the video game kind).
My upcoming book on Unity iOS is now available as an alpha on the Apress site (and also a preorder on Amazon, which for some reason is cheaper). Actually, I think the alpha’s been available for a couple of weeks now, since it’s on page 3 of the alpha list (or they’ve been cranking them out for SXSW). Anyway, the alpha currently has five chapters in near-to-final state (behind the scenes, another three are pretty near done), the rest in various states of draft. Accompanying projects are currently in-progress on github.
While I’m waiting for the next issue of Game Developer Magazine, I’ll complain a bit about the last one. It’s not a huge complaint – I did enjoy reading the tools survey, but the question on open source usage had the usual bits the irk me.
So, once again, GPL is just one open source license. If it doesn’t work for you, don’t use it. Citing GPL as a reason not to use open source is like pointing at a commercial license with onerous conditions and then generalizing all commercial licenses as unacceptable. I use open source, but I don’t incorporate GPL software into my games. See? It’s that easy. In any case, chances are if you’re interested in a GPL package, there is an alternative commercial license offered (like with MySQL), or you can negotiate one (the incorporation of Mono in Unity is an example).
The article mentioned patents as an issue. That may be a valid concern, but it’s hard to tell without any further explanation. The only thing I can think of is that open source software, depending on the package, may have a lot of unvetted contributions. Then again, that’s true of closed-source software, too. If you want to be sneaky about it, open source does make it easier for people to find patent conflicts, but then again, it’s easier to get them fixed (whereas with closed-source, you’re at the mercy of your vendor, if they’re still around).
And be real – is there any modern game engine out there that does not have open source components? I don’t think I’ve ever worked with one. The question isn’t whether to use open source or not, the question is which open source packages to use.
Also, that survey mentioned many developers were still supporting the first-gen iPad and the iPhone3GS. It’s not a shocker – you don’t have a choice. As long as Apple is still supporting their latest iOS on those devices, your app will by default be made available to them (possibly there is some trickery you can do with the required device capabilities in the Info.plist file, but at that point you’re knocking yourself out to get around it).
I’m conducting my spring cleaning and getting rid of programming books that are no relevant (goodbye J2ME). Garbage collecting, as it were. It’s interesting to see that my oldest books are still relevant (again, the GC analogy applies – older references tend to stick around, newer ones are more likely to be ephemeral). Thanks to Linux especially, but also to MacOSX, the GNU and X Windows stuff is still around (not so much Motif, but it has descendants in KDE, if I recall correctly). Lisp is still around, even though it’s not going as strong as I’d like (I wish I still had my copy of the original Lisp Machine Manual). My collection of Inside Macintosh books – OK, that’s nostalgia. And the Microsoft books? That’s just out of fear that I might have to look at some old code.
I use a lot of Unity middleware, but if I had to pick a favorite, I’d say it’s iTween. I use it for almost every animation in HyperBowl (maybe a few dozen scripts, maybe a couple of hundred instances of animated objects throughout the game). And it’s free!
Here’s a quick walk-through on getting iTween into your project. Bring up the Asset Store in Unity
In the Asset Store, search for iTween
Download and import iTween
The new iTween folder will show up at the top level of your Project
The one import file in that folder is the iTween.cs script. Browse through it, read the documentation on the iTween site, consider buying the (really cheap!) example projects, ask questions in the iTween thread on the Unity forum, and don’t forget to write a good review for iTween on the Asset Store!