Asynchronous Serial Communication

In a previous post, How To Integrate Arduino With Unity, we have shown how data can be sent and received through the serial port. The main problem encountered was dealing with the latency and the delays that communicating across different devices introduces. The solution proposed in that tutorial used a coroutine; decoupling the device communication from the game logic attenuates the problem, but it doesn’t remove it. The main problem is that, despite the name, Unity coroutines are not really executed in parallel with the rest of the game. Unity, by design, is not thread safe. This means that true parallelism is intentionally avoided by the engine, as it could result in race conditions. To solve the problem of the communication between Unity and Arduino, once and for all, we need actual threads.

At the end of this tutorial, you can find a link to download the Unity package.

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Arrays & Shaders in Unity 5.4+

This post shows how to use arrays and shaders in Unity 5.4. Back in January I already covered this topic in an article called Arrays & shaders: Heatmaps in Unity. My original approach exposed an undocumented feature that allowed to pass arrays to shaders. Since then, Unity 5.4 has introduced proper support in its API. This tutorial replaces the previous article. If you have read the previous tutorial, you do not need any changes to your shader code and you can skip to Step 2.

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Arrays & shaders: heatmaps in Unity

This tutorial explains how to pass arrays to shaders in Unity. This feature has been present for a long time, but is mostly undocumented. Unity 5.4.0 Beta 1 will introduce a proper API to pass arrays to shaders; this technique however will work with any previous version.

If you are using Unity 5.4+, please refer to the Arrays & Shaders in Unity 5.4+ tutorial.

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The Top 5 Hidden Features of Python

Python aims to be an elegant and expressive language; this post includes its top 5 hidden features:

  1. List slicing
  2. For…else syntax
  3. Yield statement
  4. Multiple assignments
  5. Argument unpacking

The term hidden is loosely used to indicate features which are generally unique to Python, or not very well known. I covered the most interesting Easter eggs which are really hidden in Python in this post. Continue reading

Interactive Graphs in the Browser

Having worked both as a teacher and an artist, I know how important data visualisation is. This tutorial will teach you to create interactive network graphs with Python and JavaScript. You can have a go by dragging the nodes of the graph below…

You can find a high resolution version of the melancoil tree (2000x2000px, first 1000 numbers) here: PNG, SVG, HTML. Continue reading

A practical tutorial to hack (and protect) Unity games

If there’s a term which is often misunderstood, that’s for sure hacking. When it refers to softwares, it usually gets a negative connotation which smells of piracy and copyright infringements. This post will not cover any of these topics; quite the opposite, I strongly discourage readers from taking any action which will damage (directly or indirectly) other developers. That said: yes, this post will be a practical tutorial to hack into Unity games. You can use the techniques and tools described in this post to check how safe your games are. If you’re a developer, you’ll also find useful snippets of code and technique to add an extra layer of protection to your games.

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How to hack any IR remote controller

If you haven’t heard of Air Swimmers before, you probably had a miserable life. Air Swimmers are inflatable foil balloons made in the shape of fish. But what makes them really awesome is the fact that they can be remotely controlled to fly around in a room. One of my friends, Claudio, developed an obsession interest for them; and that’s when we decided to create our own hackuarium.

The idea was simple: buying a bunch of Air Swimmers, hacking into their controllers and running a swarm simulation to control them. If you’re interested in doing the same and you have a basic knowledge of electronics …you’re reading the right post. At the end of this article you can find the links to buy all the necessary components.

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