Unity3D: beyond games
I am not a game developer. For the last 10 years (with some short intervals) I've been working as a Flash designer and developer and I have been creating projects more or less related to advertising.
These project included lots of animations (for exmaple banners, that I actually enjoyed making), video sites, rich media interfaces, web applications, 3d simulations and, sometimes indeed, simple games.
I believe however, that Unity3D is much more that a game development platform, and all those kind of projects could be tackled with Unity3D as well. In some cases the result would be pretty awesome and way beyond anything we can currently dream of with Flash and Actionscript – and this kind of opportunity is what I am looking for. (In some other cases it could end up with a disaster, similar to what happens when sites that clearly require HTML are done with Flash. We will see those too, simply because errare humanum est).
Technology adoption is not as fast as we could wish. I'm sure that eventually Unity3D will become the standard for 3D applications on the web, but we're not there yet. So far it has been very successful with games for the iPhone and it starts to emerge as the tool of choice for online games. The advertising business will follow and adopt it as well. We can expect top interactive agencies and production companies to start releasing Unity3D productions soon. I hope this will happen within this or the next year. Chances are that such projects are already in the making.
The reason why this will happen is that Unity3D is versatile. It is marketed as a "game development tool", but it has numerous features that allow much more that that. It allows to integrate diversified content (2D, 3D, video, sound), has a great animation tool and a powerful scripting API to create any kind of complex logic.
As I got back from FITC Amsterdam loaded with new energy and inspiration, I decided to take a deeper look at Unity3D scripting and go at least a bit beyond the basics and beyond the "building a 3rd person shooter" scenario. As a long time Flash developer there are some problem/questions that are typical to Actionscript technology and I decided to check how similar problems can be solved with Unity3D. Here are the first few questions that came to my mind, pretty basic actually:
- How to dynamically load an image into Unity3D and do something with it?
- How to load a video?
- How to draw lines, points and shapes at runtime?
- How to generate content with code?
The questions order starts with those that have been easiest to answer. I have some more questions lined up, so this post might get updated.
Anyway, in the coming days (or weeks rather) I'll be posting the solutions. I made some experiments, I have some code to share and some tips that I found on the way. See you soon!