New Tutorials

As part of the 1.3 release, I will be refreshing all existing tutorials and writing some new ones to round everything out.

The manual has now been retired and rolled into a brand new tutorial called Getting Started which covers the extreme basics of setting up a new project. This will be the new starting point for any Basic and Intermediate tutorials. I was covering a lot of the same ground at the beginning of each tutorial, and from now on I can just reference beginners to the Getting Started tutorial instead of repeating steps. Follow-on tutorials will be a bit leaner as a result.

Following is a list of the tutorials coming online for 1.3 release. Links will be added as each tutorial becomes ready.

Basic Series 1.3

Intermediate Series 1.3

  • Streaming World (expanded)
  • Distributing Builds

Advanced Series 1.3

  • Using Events

The above will keep me busy for a few weeks. If you think a tutorial is missing from the lineup just let me know. Depending on complexity, I can add it to the lineup now or some time after 1.3 launches.

Also please let me know of any problems you find with the documents.

DFTFU Developer Preview 1.3.29

Edit: Release version 1.3.31 now available.

Daggerfall Tools for Unity 1.3.29 is now available to developers for testing. This is a close-to-final version that still has a few kinks to iron out. However it should be close enough for developers to start testing and migrating their work.

The key new features of this version are:

  • Full Unity 5 compatibility.
  • New material and texture system.
  • Using Standard shader everywhere possible.
  • Simplified custom shaders for tile maps and billboard batches.
  • Significantly improved batching and performance when using new Deferred path.
  • Improved billboard batching using geometry shader, now supporting animation.
  • Events at key locations.
  • Started using prefabs for layout of non-static items such as doors, lights, and enemies.
  • Many small bug fixes and improvements.

I did mention there were still a few kinks to iron out, so I value any feedback on this version prior to full release.

I am also working on a full documentation refresh and new tutorials for some of the new features (like events and prefabs). This will take a few weeks to complete. I am planning full online API documentation starting from release 1.3.

Happy testing! If you have any feedback, please use the following forum thread.

Enemy Prefab

The below short video demonstrates using the new enemy prefab inside editor. The same prefab is instantiated when building scenes procedurally. There’s a lot more I want to do with this, including the ability to override classic billboard-based enemies with full 3D models.

Prefab Dubstep

Starting with release 1.3 many dynamic scene objects will be instantiated from prefab. This video shows a bit of fun with extending the city lights prefab.

Physically Based Materials

The new material system is finally humming away. Apart from improved batching and faster scenes, one of the best features has to be support for Physically Based Shading in Unity 5. Obviously Daggerfall can’t take full advantage just yet, those tiny textures are never going to cut it. But with the Standard shader now… well, standard, those of you with an artistic mind can start authoring high quality materials to take advantage of everything Unity has on offer. Combine physically based materials with some higher quality models and there might come a time when Daggerfall could be genuinely breathtaking.

In the meantime, here’s an Ultra HD screenshot taken from on top of Castle Daggerfall. There’s a little SSAO, bloom, and some global fog thrown in for good measure. Click for full size.

Almost There

The 1.3.x preview release will be up in a few more days, over coming weekend at the latest. I’m stomping more bugs than expected and making some last-minute improvements. This is also my busy time of year (end of financial year here in Australia) so I’ve got some heavy work on from all sides.

In the meantime, keep an eye on the Github page as I’ll be checking in code frequently leading up to first 1.3.x preview build.

I also want to offer a partial retraction regarding my earlier statement about the number of batches being 10x improved over previous version. This turns out to be highly variable based on the number of lights affecting objects, shadows, time of day, etc. The real figure is closer to 5-10x less. It’s still a great improvement, but I don’t want to mislead anyone if possible.