Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ball Rolling Down A Hill Into A Wall: The Movie

Well, I've created my first cinematic masterpiece in Unity! I call it "Ball Rolling Down A Hill Into A Wall: The Movie"

Okay fine, it's not quite a must-see, fun-for-the-whole-family, laugh-a-minute thrill-ride. But I have gotten a much better handle on Unity in the past few weeks. I read a lot of tutorials and watched a lot of video lessons, but easily the most helpful were on Unity 3D Student: these videos are short (2-4 minutes) and very to the point, so you know exactly what you're about to learn, and it's very easy to follow along. Plus, the guy has a British accent, which makes him sound smart. If you're learning Unity for your project, I highly recommend these.

Anyway, after learning all about adding components to objects, writing scripts, and switching between cameras, I put together an extremely simple test: a ball on a slope, a barrier preventing the ball from rolling down, and a wall at the bottom of the hill. I've got a video uploading to YouTube right now, but until then, you should be able to follow the plot through these screenshots.

The main camera simply watches the entire scene from the perspective view (in the screenshot below, the top window is the Scene view of the entire environment, and the bottom window is the Game view which is showing the perspective of the main camera).

The Ball is a rigid body affected by gravity, so it is leaning against the barrier. Pressing 'x' on the keyboard makes the barrier disappear, which causes the ball to start rolling down. More importantly, once the ball starts moving (a simple "event"), a new camera is created, set to be the active camera in the scene, and ordered to follow the ball. In the below screenshot, you can see the 2nd camera in the Scene window, and the perspective of the Game window has been changed to this new camera.

The 2nd camera follows the ball as it careens down the hill, slams into the wall, and comes to an explosive halt. I might be making it sound more exciting than it actually is.

Once the ball stops moving, the "event" is over, so the view of the Game window shifts back to the main camera, and the 2nd camera disappears.

So there you have it! Obviously this is all pretty simple, but I think I'm off to a good start. I played around a bit with GUI elements as well, so I'm going to continue with that for next week: remember, the Game view should just be a perspective view (controllable by the user), and clicking on the smart cameras should make little preview windows show up (just like the little Camera Preview in the Scene window above). So hopefully I'll have those windows-within-windows next week.

Coming soon: "Ball Rolling Down A Hill Into A Wall: The Movie: 2: Roll Harder"

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