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 →
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.
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.
Following the heritage of C++, C# comes with a number of powerful features which can either be used to massively improve your code …or to make it completely unreadable. In this post we’ll discuss a technique to add new methods to already existing classes. Yes, even classes you don’t have access to such as Vector3, Rigidbody and even string. Let’s introduce extension methods with a practical example.
If you’re a game developer chances are you’re familiar with the need to describe different variations of an attribute. Whether it’s the type of an attack (melee, ice, fire, poison, …) or the state of an enemy AI (idle, alerted, chasing, attacking, resting, …) you can’t escape this. The most naive way of implementing this is simply by using constants:
public static int NONE = 0;
public static int MELEE = 1;
public static int FIRE = 2;
public static int ICE = 3;
public static int POISON = 4;
public int attackType = NONE;
The downside is that you have no actual control over the values you can assign to attackType: it can be any integer, and you can also do dangerous things such as attackType++.
Despite Unity3D being such an advanced framework, I am sometimes puzzled by its lack of basic features. Especially when working with 2D games, the lack of a proper snap to grid option is simply crazy. Luckily, Unity3D allows to extend its basic interface to add new behaviours. This post will explain how to add a customisable snap to grid option to your objects. Two different implementations are presented; the first one, despite being more complicated, could be used a good starting point to further extend and customise the inspector.
If you are using Unity3D you may be familiar with image effects. They are scripts which, once attached to a camera, alter its rendering output. Despite being presented as standard C# scripts, the actual computation is done using shaders. So far, materials have been applied directly to geometry; they can also be used to render offscreen textures, making them ideal for postprocessing techniques. When shaders are used in this fashion, they are often referred as screen shaders.
The previous three posts of this tutorial have introduced surface shaders and how they can be used to specify physical properties (such as albedo, gloss and specular reflections) of the materials we want to model. The other type of shader available in Unity3D is called vertex and fragment shader. As the name suggests, the computation is done in two steps. Firstly, the geometry is passed through a function called (typically called vert) which can alter the position and data of each vertex. Then, the result goes through a frag function which finally outputs a colour.
Why is it colder at the poles and hotter on the equator? This question, which seems completely unrelated to shaders, is actually fundamental to understand how lighting models work. As explained in the previous part of this tutorial, surface shaders use a mathematical model to predict how light will reflect on triangles. Generally speaking, Unity supports two types of shading techniques, one for matte and one for specular materials. The former ones are perfect for opaque surfaces, while the latter ones simulate objects which reflections. The Maths behind these lighting models can get quite complicated, but understanding how they work is essential if you want to create your own, custom lighting effect. Up to Unity4.x, the default diffuse lighting model was based on the Lambertian reflectance. Continue reading →