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An Update on Substance Format Support in Unity

Discussion in 'External Tools' started by ans_unity, Dec 19, 2017.

  1. ans_unity

    ans_unity

    Unity Technologies

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    Hi everyone,

    Today we are announcing that after careful consideration, the built-in support for Substance materials will be deprecated in Unity 2018.1. To maintain compatibility, Allegorithmic is working on a new external importer, with plans to release it on the Asset Store for 2018.1.

    Unity R&D is on a mission to make the Unity editor as lightweight and modular as possible. Over time, this will allow us, our partners and Asset Store publishers to deploy updates for specific parts of Unity without having to launch an entire new version of the editor. It will also translate to a much smaller initial installation size for the editor, and greater freedom to choose exactly which additional features to subsequently install for your project. Deprecating built-in support for Substance materials fits well into this overall philosophy.

    We realize that this decision means a change in workflows for those of you who are using Substance materials in your projects, but Allegorithmic is continuing support in the form of three products for the Unity editor:
    For projects in development that rely on the current Substance material support import functionality, you will of course have the option to continue to use Unity 2017.3 or earlier.

    We would very much like to hear from you if you have questions or comments.
     
    Alverik, AntonioModer and Vagabond_ like this.
  2. N1warhead

    N1warhead

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    @ans_unity : Any idea if they are going to be charging for the plugin? Can't seem to find anything about that.
    Would be kinda lame to shell out more money for stuff I've already bought to use.

    10 dollars or something is fine, but if they charge like 30 dollars or something I'd just export the textures as Bitmaps and loose all procedural stuff in the editor, ain't no way I'm gonna spend tons of money just to import something lol.
     
  3. ans_unity

    ans_unity

    Unity Technologies

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    @N1warhead Good question, unfortunately we are too early in the process for me to provide you with a definitive answer. I will post the information as soon as it's available.
     
  4. orb

    orb

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    I doubt the plugin will cost anything, as the tools you need to make the substances are already subscription-based. There would be riots and lynchings.
     
    syscrusher and Enrico-Monese like this.
  5. ans_unity

    ans_unity

    Unity Technologies

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    Allegorithmic will have the final say on this but we expect the pricing to be similar, so free plugins should remain free.
     
    syscrusher likes this.
  6. N1warhead

    N1warhead

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    @ans_unity
    Yeah I figured they'd probably be free, but if they weren't, I'd just export bitmaps and go about my day lol. Now 10 dollars or whatever wouldn't be a problem for me, but being I'll be paying for 1 year of updates every year, it would technically only be right if the plugins were free lol.

    Exactly what is the reasoning behind abandoning Substance from the Unity workflow?
    Is there something they can do that the Unity version couldn't?

    But I suppose we'll find out what the price is when 2018.1 comes I suppose.
     
    Enrico-Monese likes this.
  7. JakubSmaga

    JakubSmaga

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    Could we expect to see the plugin on the Asset Store the same day when 2018.1 Beta 1 launches or do we need to wait for the official release?
     
  8. ans_unity

    ans_unity

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    The plugin won't be available right away for the Beta but is planned for the official release of 2018.1.
     
    MattDown, syscrusher and JakubSmaga like this.
  9. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    I still don't see how this is a good thing.

    I would have made the engine clean and mean and make optional modules supported by unity as extras on top of the base module. some kind of extentions.
     
  10. JakubSmaga

    JakubSmaga

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    They are working on that, It's called "Package Manager". More info here: https://forum.unity.com/threads/what-is-packman.482001/#post-3135334
     
  11. AFrisby

    AFrisby

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    How is the ProceduralMaterial class going to be handled?
     
    syscrusher likes this.
  12. Badin

    Badin

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    I do not like the idea of getting my projects getting more and more clogged with extensions which all my projects will use.

    Unity should have a special "Common Extensions" folder outside the projects, which I could share these addons with all the projects.
     
  13. wesm

    wesm

    Allegorithmic Community Manager

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    Hi Everyone,

    The Substance Plugin will be free. I will have more details to share soon but this will be a positive move for both Allegorithmic and Unity. Unity is a great partner and we are very excited about what we will be doing with the new 2018 substance support. The original integration has become old and we are now able to rework the entire plugin with our new framework as well as deploy timely updates to coincide with new Substance Engine features. We will be wrapping the Painter Live Link and Substance Source integrations all into this new single plugin package. This will greatly streamline Substance support for users in the Substance ecosystem.

    Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

    Cheers,
    wes
     
    IMD, Glowing_Slab, chelnok and 14 others like this.
  14. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    I have one concern and its a big one, before an asset-store creator could be sure that a user of unity had a substance shader capability build into unity and could provide shaders without having to worry about if they worked or not.

    as of 2018 right now this becomes an issue. because the shader will not work.

    I don't mind Allegorithmic doing the integrations, in fact I prefer that, I do mind that it's a separate plugin.

    Will the plugin auto download if a substance shader is detected? like Otoy is doing with the Octane integration? perhaps that way it can be all-right.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2018
    Harinezumi and syscrusher like this.
  15. syscrusher

    syscrusher

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    Will these features be separate DLLs, so an edit-time feature like Painter Live Link does not inflate the build size of projects where SBSAR files are included in the build?
     
  16. syscrusher

    syscrusher

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    That concept would be useful for reasons other than Substance. For example, most developers have a small set of edit-time utilities that they habitually load into Unity whenever starting a new project. (In my case, Flipbook's "Script Inspector 3" and a couple of others are always first-in.)

    The issue with this kind of feature would be version compatibility, for those of us who have more than one Unity version simultaneously installed (in different directories, of course). This could be handled by careful directory structuring, but it is something to consider.
     
    Flipbookee, Harinezumi and Badin like this.
  17. Ryukra

    Ryukra

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    My game uses a dynamic aproach to Substance materials. I generate masks in Unity, change textures dynamically and get special generated textures via code.
    I fear this change will cut the freedom of the Substance engine, throwing me back maybe 6 month because I need to code my own procedural material system. :/
     
  18. ans_unity

    ans_unity

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    Unity will roll out a Package Manager and a new Hub for 2018.1. The Unity Hub will provide a template functionality to launch your editor with specific presets (versions, modules, projects, platforms, etc). This will, I hope, mitigate the problem you mention.
     
  19. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    Will the package manager be smart in a way that it knows that for certain types of files or projects a cetain package is needed? so it can promt for installing the missing package?
     
  20. MariaAngelovaPD

    MariaAngelovaPD

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    When is the Substance Source plugin going be supported for 2018.1 beta? It shows a "Unity Version Not Supported" currently.
     
  21. ans_unity

    ans_unity

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    As mentioned earlier in the thread, the plugin won't be available right away for the Beta but is planned for the official release of 2018.1.
     
  22. MariaAngelovaPD

    MariaAngelovaPD

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    Since 2017.3 still has the built-in support it is rather hard to figure out how to try and use the new substance plugin and sbsar importer without confusing the two in this unity version. I have imported the Substance source plugin. Still i'm only seeing the old integration in the Unity Editor's inspector when examining sbsar's. Do you have any guidelines/docs on how to disable the old integration and enable the new substance import functionality? I would like to import an existing sbsar which i have in a unity project using only the new importer, create a few material instances based on it and use those on some objects in a scene. In other words I want to know how much the sbsar authoring and usage workflow within the Unity Editor will change in 2018.1 compared to 2017.3.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  23. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    Support for Substance assets has been deprecated and in no loguer available: Assets/StylizedWoodVol01/Materials/Wood.sbsar

    This what not what I wanted to see, breaking substance support is actually not a good thing, it should auto download the plugin and make it just work.

    and there is even a typo in the unity warning : loguer



    From the site:
    SUBSTANCE IN UNITY
    Integrated since version 3.5 in 2011.
    Now used by more than 50 000 game developers worldwide.



    Soon :
    SUBSTANCE IN UNITY
    Deprecated since unity 2018.1 in 2018
    Now used by less than 50 000 game developers worldwide.
    because you have to manually find the plugin
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  24. ans_unity

    ans_unity

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    The new Substance plugin will be ready for the official release of 2018.1 so it is not possible to test it yet. Updated documentation and tutorials will be available for the official release (in March). People using 2017.3 and older should keep using the existing Painter and Source plugins because of the differences in engine integration.
     
  25. ans_unity

    ans_unity

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    The error message you see is only for 2018.1 BETA, the official 2018.1 release will support Substance trough the official plugin from Allegorithmic. If the deprecation in 2018.1 BETA is causing any issue, kindly use the last official release, 2017.3.
     
  26. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    The issue is that I like to see the future unity versions auto download a plugin from the alogorimic site when unity detects a substance shader. will this be the way ? I have not seen any answer to that question.

    It could be the same way OTOY Octane plugin is auto downloaded when a otoy scene is detected.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  27. ans_unity

    ans_unity

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    I can't confirm at this time if this will be possible at launch (2018.1) so I can't make any official statement yet. We are going to simplify the current workflow by merging the existing Source and Painter plugins with the new Designer plugin to make this a single Asset Store plugin available from the Unity editor window. We do hope that this simplification will make the plugin easyer to find and install.
     
  28. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    My main concern is errors in the console for existing asset store packages, most unity users that are not programmers don't know how to deal with those errors. and will blame the asset store author and will give it bad ratings.

    for example https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/96422

    This asset will give this error:
    Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 13.59.00.png

    because is has a sbsar shader.

    The solution seems that users download the plugin, normally this would be fine, but this is a different case.
    because it used to be build in, and people relied on the support in packages.

    Please think this through. because the way its now is not user friendly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
  29. MariaAngelovaPD

    MariaAngelovaPD

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    Will the official 2018.1 + the new substance plugin pack be able to correctly upgrade a 2017.3 project with all sbsar, their materials (currently saved in the sbsar.meta file) and their applications within a project? How is this supposed to work exactly since the project upgrade happens as the project is open in the 2018.1 editor the first time and we are only allowed to import the plugin to the project after it has been upgraded and loaded in the editor? Will Unity correctly detect that there's substance assets that need upgrading and will it automatically include the plugin to the project as part of the initial load project upgrade?
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
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  30. AFrisby

    AFrisby

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    I just want to bump my earlier question about the possible depreciation of the ProceduralMaterials class; how is this change going to be handled?

    A second, and somewhat more ancillary question - plugin-ising this - does this mean we can now write arbitrary file format handlers for Unity as developers?
     
    Harinezumi and Lars-Steenhoff like this.
  31. ans_unity

    ans_unity

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    Hi everyone,

    For detailed information on how the new plugin will work, it might help to contact Allegorithmic directly on their forums here and here. They will have first hand information on the new workflow.

    Have a great day!
     
  32. imphenzia

    imphenzia

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    Hi, thanks for some of the info that is emerging. I have just released an asset that is totally dependent on procedural materials, the asset took 2.5 years to make on/off and I launched last week.

    My main concerns are:

    1. 2017.3 users are getting the deprecation warning and there is no way for me to get around that. As mentioned above, this concerns buyers and can affect ratings. I am releasing an update with info in the meta data, readme and documentation - but that will only do so much to easy concerns (if they even see it).

    Would it not be possible to maintain native Procedural Material support for 2018 cycle and simply allow the new plugin to override? This would remove warnings, put less pressure on the urgency of the plugin from Allegorithmic - although I don't know if it's feasible from a technical perspective of course.

    2. Dependency of a third party plugin. The asset will go from working out of the box to "you also need this to make it work". I saw the native use as a strength with Unity compared to other engines. I strongly agree with above mentioned option to auto-detect use of procedural materials and suggest import of the dependency - make it as simple as possible for the user.

    With the above said - I'll take this opportunity to "file a request" to Allegorithmic plugin to please support 4k-8k textures, GPU processing and 16 bit per color channel. That would do amazing wonders for assets in the category like mine with full planets and space scenes utilizing substance materials.
     
    Lars-Steenhoff likes this.
  33. syscrusher

    syscrusher

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    FWIW, although this will be less convenient, it would not deter me from buying a Substance-based asset. In fact, I actively seek out procedural textures in art assets because they can be easily customized and because it really shrinks build size.
     
  34. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    Maybe its the fact that the word depricated is used in the error message is whats mostly bothering me, because it sounds like its gone while its not.
     
    Harinezumi and syscrusher like this.
  35. GameDevCouple_I

    GameDevCouple_I

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    Agree different wording should be used. Something like "transfered responsiblities to a 3rd party" etc, this makes it seem like its dying.
     
  36. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    When will you deprecate .png and .psd files?

    I can already see this coming:

    Unity R&D is on a mission to make the Unity editor as lightweight and modular as possible. Over time, this will allow us, our partners and Asset Store publishers to deploy updates for specific parts of Unity without having to launch an entire new version of the editor. It will also translate to a much smaller initial installation size for the editor, and greater freedom to choose exactly which additional features to subsequently install for your project. Deprecating built-in support for Photoshop files fits well into this overall philosophy.
     
  37. ans_unity

    ans_unity

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    Unfortunately no, the change had to be made for 2018.

    This would indeed make it easier and it's a great idea but I do not have enough information at the moment to make an official statement on this. I hope to come with more information soon. Also for people selling assets on the store that depend on Substance, mentioning in the description that the Allegorithmic plugin is required (like you would for version compatibility) could also help the users.

    - Follow-up: After verification, the only way to handle this "automatically" will be through the error message that is already popping up. We will reword the error message for 2018.1 to include latest information about the plugin.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  38. Ostwind

    Ostwind

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    These type posts don't help at all and probably just discourage official developer activity on the forums and wastes their time. You have already made point earlier and there is no reason to continue bashing.
     
    Harinezumi, Ryukra and Lars-Steenhoff like this.
  39. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    Just venting my frustration about the way it seems to be handled, no worries I'm allright now :)

    And will leave it at this. I think you agree that most of what I said was constructive, just the last one was sarcasm
     
    richardkettlewell likes this.
  40. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    ans_unity likes this.
  41. syscrusher

    syscrusher

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    Thanks for that. TBH, I came searching for this thread because I saw the error message and thought, "Oh, s**t! They're dropping Substance?!" I was glad to learn otherwise, but it was a scary moment.
     
    ans_unity and Lars-Steenhoff like this.
  42. imphenzia

    imphenzia

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    Thanks for info. Please consider changing wording in the remaining 2017.3+ releases too for the same reason that "deprecated" may sound scary to customers =)
     
    Lars-Steenhoff likes this.
  43. maxpsr

    maxpsr

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    Hello!
    I`m an asset store publisher and all of my models has substance materials.
    So now my custumers has to buy this plugin?
    Or if it will be free, i have to warn them to load it to use my models?
    Hmm.. smells 80% sales down =))
     
  44. ans_unity

    ans_unity

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    As Wes (from Allegorithmic) mentioned earlier in this thread, the new plugin will be free. If your customers try to use a Substance asset without the plugin, a warning will be shown in the editor letting them know to get the Allegorithmic plugin from the Asset Store.
     
  45. Lars-Steenhoff

    Lars-Steenhoff

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    Main question for publishers is can you still make substance materials and sell them on the unity asset store?
     
  46. ans_unity

    ans_unity

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    Beside the necessary step of installing the Substance plugin for your clients, all else should be the same from the Asset Store perspective. So yes, you can still sell Substance materials on the store.
     
    Lars-Steenhoff likes this.
  47. Rowlan

    Rowlan

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    From the release notes of assets I use:
    So basically in bugfix releases asset developers are removing the features I use to make the assets compatible. Not only can't I use Substance, I can't even use the bugfix releases.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
  48. Max_Bol

    Max_Bol

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    For, at least, the 2018.1 and maybe the next 3-4 medium update (all in 2018), one thing that "could" be quite useful to implement is a custom red warning when substance material is used that, instead of just telling the user that the code is deprecated or that sbsar file are not recognized as materials source, it would be quite a game changer to not only display a clear message explaining that sbsar/substance materials now requires an external plugin, but also that if the user double click the warning, it could open the Asset Store onto the actual plugin asset page.

    Of course, it's not something that should be done for every assets in the asset store, but at least for those assets that are released at the same time as the official release of 2018.1 and that replace previously integrated features. Even if some of those now-external features ends up being delayed, it wouldn't be hard to simply create a store asset page with no download available (for now) as the 2018.1 is released that has the custom warning integrated already and opens the asset store pages.

    After a couple of version update (like during mid-2018 or near end-2018, you could remove those custom message because, by then, a majority of the users will be already aware of the requirement of importing the relevant files from the asset store. Call it "a transition" if you will so that you don't start seeing a flood of complains and questions about why the users' sbsar files doesn't work anymore (or whatever happens that might relate to it).

    While the Asset store page and the asset itself is the responsibility of their relevant parties (so Allegorithmic should make the store page in this case before the release of 2018.1 even if they can't release the asset yet), this idea does involve a bit of lightweight implementation from Unity itself (as custom warning and link toward the asset store within Unity itself is not something other can do remotely.)
     
    Lars-Steenhoff likes this.
  49. Unplug

    Unplug

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    will the proceduralmaterial keyword will still work if you have the allegorithmic plugin installed ?
     
  50. JakubSmaga

    JakubSmaga

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    Is Substance plugin going to be available via Package Manager?