Focus: Unity - The New Dark Ride Project

Dec 28, 2019 at 01:18 pm by -gToon

Focus: Unity is a series of posts where I’ll share my experience working with the free Unity 2019.2 for video game creation, VR and Pre-Production Visualization. The series is a continuation of the Focus: Unreal Engine project. I’ve moved over to Unity to compare and contrast these two excellent free game creation tools.

Note that Unity 2019.2 Personal is free as long as your game-related income is below 100K. There are a few other versions of Unity (Plus, Pro, Enterprise) that require a monthly subscription. We’ll be using the Personal version in this series.

Why the move from Unreal to Unity
I like the Unreal Engine very much. The workflow, rendering and supportive community are outstanding. However, I faced an impasse in my Dark Ride project: I was going to have to start all over again, but make the project much simpler. I started the new project in Unreal, but then the idea came to me that it would be interesting to contrast my work in Unreal by taking the project to Unity. Since I’d worked for 3 months with Unreal, I wondered how 3 months of working in Unity would turn out.

Getting Up to Speed with Unity 2019.3
I downloaded the most recent version of Unity Personal (free) which, at the time of writing this article is Unity 2019.3. I decided to work with both the Windows 10 version and the Mac version although the bulk of my work would be on the Windows platform.

Fundamentally, both Unity and Unreal have similar workflows with a few exceptions. The GUI is similar with 4 main work areas (assets, scene, detail panel and tools panels). Unity uses “components” to add to game objects whereas Unreal uses “blueprints”, but they are essentially the same. Access to scripts and coding is easy in both engines with Unity having a slight edge as it is simpler to understand.

After an hour working in Unity with demo projects, I was comfortable with the workflow. I began work on the “New Dark Ride Project”. I sketched out the route the ride would take based on a study of real dark ride blueprints. Then I made a list of what I needed to do to get started.

  1. Get blueprint of ride path done
  2. Build structure and walls in Blender. Import to Unity.
  3. Find track/rails asset in Unity store and bring into the project
  4. Lay out track along dark ride path.

Blender to Unity
Once again I’m so impressed with Blender 2.8. It’s just so much easier to work with than previous versions. Using the Archipak plugin (you have to activate the plugin in Blender preferences). There I set the wall width and height, then proceeded to create the entire architecture of the ride.

Unity has a nice feature that allows you to drag and drop native Blender files directly into the asset window. Of course, you can import .fbx files, but it’s much easier to simply use the Blender scene directly. It only takes a few seconds for Unity to process the file. It’s important to include only the models in your Blender scene. Be sure to remove the light and default camera since you won’t need this in the Unity scene.

Up Next: Adding the Tracks and Cart


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