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EZ GUI - Powerful, Low draw call GUI solution

Discussion in 'iOS and tvOS' started by Brady, Jun 3, 2010.

  1. Brady

    Brady

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    Since many have been asking here in this forum, I thought I'd announce that EZ GUI is now available to the public!

    EZ GUI features sprite-based controls which can combine into a single draw call, control transitioning and animation features, and tools which allow the easy creation of sophisticated menus and wizards.

    It supports mouse, touchpad, and ray input (see the video for more on "ray" input), all with a single selection in the inspector. This allows you to easily switch between testing your game in-editor, and deploying for multitouch use on-device. It also supports basic text input, either by keyboard when in-editor, or will automatically bring up the iPhone keyboard when on the iPhone/iPad.

    Text is currently supported by using the TextMesh component, which unlike GUIText, is batchable. I may have a more integrated text solution running in the future.

    I am extremely excited for you guys to see this. There is a whole lot more I could say here, but I think the demonstration videos say it best. More tutorial/demo videos are coming shortly.

    EZ GUI is available at the link below. You can also get EZ GUI and SM2 bundled together (you will be prompted before checkout) and save an extra $50.

    http://www.anbsoft.com/middleware/ezgui/

    This has been my passion for the last couple of months, so I hope you enjoy using it as much as I enjoyed making it.

    NOTE: For those of you already using SM2, you will need to be sure and download the latest SM2 version (1.51) from the group. If you're already on 1.5, read the release notes and be sure to rebuild all atlases for all sprites once before making any changes to your sprites. For those still on 1.1.5 or earlier, pay close attention to the 1.5 beta upgrade page on the group when installing 1.51.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
  2. defjr

    defjr

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    This looks very interesting, nice demo scene!

    Might have to buy. ;)
     
  3. Martin-Schultz

    Martin-Schultz

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    That looks what I've been waiting for. Awesome!
     
  4. Lokken

    Lokken

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    Nice! Got the email and was trying to get here to be the first to post in this thread. I was too slow.

    This thing is awesome and has been a massive help. Highly recommended.
     
  5. moctezumagames

    moctezumagames

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    I have been using it for some time now. It is really handful, and fills a big gap in Unity game development.
    The only problem is that I was not able to use it in my previous games. I need to rework them now :p

    Simply awesome. 100% recommended.
     
  6. melmonkey

    melmonkey

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    As another early adopter, let me chime in on the "This is a great great tool!"

    Brady has gone and done it again. SpriteManager2 and EZGUI are easily some of the best money spent on middleware...after Unity, of course.
     
  7. Martin-Schultz

    Martin-Schultz

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    Now that I had time to watch the demo movie in full length, I instantly went to buy this thing along with Sprite Manager 2. Damn this will save time on my next project!

    Really really awesome work Brady. Hope we see us again during the next Unite conference! :)
     
  8. theBrandonWu

    theBrandonWu

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    This looks amazing. By the way I'd like to purchase all three of your products (SM2, EZ GUI, and EZ Game Saver). You have bundled prices for SM2+EZ GUI, SM2+EZ Game Saver, but I couldn't find a bundle for all three. Is there a discount for getting all three at the same time?

    Thanks!
     
  9. patch24

    patch24

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    Good question plinan...x2. Also, curious how long the introductory pricing will last?

    Thanks for all your efforts!
    -p
     
  10. TriplePAF

    TriplePAF

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    I started a month ago with EZGUI beta and developed my iPhone racing game HUD controls with it. It really did a tremendous job for me and that in also a very short time. 8)



    Peter.
     
  11. Dreamora

    Dreamora

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    To add one thing to Pilans question: Any plans for an EZ GUI - EZ Game Save bundle for SM2 users? :)
     
  12. Brady

    Brady

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    First, thank you all for the very kind comments. They are much appreciated. I'm very happy those of you using EZ GUI have enjoyed it, and I'm looking forward to the rest of you having a great time using it.

    @ Plinan
    Yes, I do intend to do that. I just hadn't had time to setup the third bundle as currently my e-Commerce provider only displays the bundles as recommendations, so I'll need to add some stuff to my site, which is due for an overhaul. I'll post to this thread as soon as I get the third bundle online. Thanks for asking!

    @ patch
    I'm not sure how long the introductory price will be at the moment. But I can promise it will last up to, and including, July 1st.

    @ dreamora
    That is a good idea. I'll put one of those together when I do the 3-pack as well. Thanks for reminding me!
     
  13. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    Wow! I am impressed. After all the questions I've been asking about the abilities of this package, I am humbled.

    I had somewhat dismissed the need for SM2, as I thought "why would I really need animation in my GUI..." but the effects that you've accomplished have completely changed my mind.

    I will wait for the 3-pack, as I'd like to get EZ Game Saver as well!
     
  14. Rod-Galvao

    Rod-Galvao

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    Hi,

    Please consider a bundle of both EZGUI and EZGameSaver.

    R.
     
  15. Imari

    Imari

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    What great tools! Thanks. I just bought the bundle, but would also like EZGameSaver -- eventually. So if you do add that to 3 program bundle, please allow people who bought the first bundle to upgrade. :)
     
  16. Dreamora

    Dreamora

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    He already does plan to add that too together with the "all 3 bundle" (see my question above) :)
     
  17. Rod-Galvao

    Rod-Galvao

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    Thanks for your concern dreamora, but I meant EZGUI and EZGameSaver *only* (no SM2).

    R.
     
  18. Dreamora

    Dreamora

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    Thats what I mean too :)
    Cause I already own SM2 myself so I was / am interested in a bundle of the other two.

    The point on the "all 3 bundle" was there because Brady mentioned above that both bundles (so EZxxx as well as the "all 3 bundled") will likely appear at the same time :)
     
  19. melmonkey

    melmonkey

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    If you might find it in your heart for a bundle(I guess it would really be more of a sale price, wouldn't it?) for those who just need to add EZ-GameSaver to their collection...I for one would be grateful :).
     
  20. ColossalDuck

    ColossalDuck

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    I think I will buy this very soon.
     
  21. tatoforever

    tatoforever

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    Impressed!
    Pretty nice work Brady.
    I'll wait for the 3 pack bundle too (of course if there is a real discount :p ).
    Thumbs up!
    Cheers! :D
     
  22. ryanzec

    ryanzec

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    Out of curiosity, what will happen to support for iDevice is Unity has to switch to using Objective-C or something that does not allow the current scripting system with Mono? Are you prepared to convert it to whatever language (Objective-C/C++/C) that Unity decided to implement for iDevice support (if they decide to continue iDevice support)?
     
  23. Brady

    Brady

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    Okay, here are the other bundle buy links (sorry, I don't have them setup on the website yet):

    $40-off Triple pack bundle (EZ Game Saver + SM2 + EZ GUI):
    https://secure.avangate.com/order/cart.php?PRODS=4388400&QTY=1

    $15-off EZ Game Saver + EZ GUI:
    https://secure.avangate.com/order/cart.php?PRODS=4388326&QTY=1


    @melmonkey
    Anyone who already has two of the three products can PM me or e-mail me with their order number/reference numbers and serial numbers for both products, and I'll send you a discount code for the third (EZ GUI=$15, EZ Game Saver or SM2=$25). This is a "thank you" for maxing out. :)
     
  24. Brady

    Brady

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    I will certainly do everything I can to ensure these packages continue to work on iPhone/iPad. Though this might be virtually impossible with EZ Game Saver if mono is banned since it uses reflection. Given the uncertainty of the situation, I obviously can't make any guarantees until we know what's going to happen with Unity and its iPhone support. But if Unity remains more or less in a form we will recognize, I don't see much of a problem keeping these compliant.
     
  25. Imari

    Imari

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    Thanks for the coupon offer, Brady. Much appreciated.
     
  26. defjr

    defjr

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    pulled the trigger on the triple pack ( '._.)
     
  27. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    Yup! Full meal deal.

    Very nice. Pushing through getting the first button working.
     
  28. prime31

    prime31

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    Looks pretty good. It looks like the demos were all targeted at the web player. What is performance like on the iPhone?
     
  29. ColossalDuck

    ColossalDuck

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    Ditto to this question.
     
  30. Crazy Robot

    Crazy Robot

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    I sent Anbsoft an email asking this very same question. Still waiting for a reply.


    JL
     
  31. prime31

    prime31

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    It looks pretty heavy for iPhone use in-game but without seeing the code its impossible to tell.
     
  32. Lokken

    Lokken

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    If you can fit your sprites onto one 1024x1024 atlas then I believe that means 1 draw call for your entire GUI.

    I am using this as well as SM2 for my current title for the iPad. I am getting a single draw call per GUI material I use.
     
  33. prime31

    prime31

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  34. ColossalDuck

    ColossalDuck

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    Wait for a few performance reviews then. It should be the factor of decision :D.
     
  35. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    The only comment I can make is that I used SpriteUI which is based on SpriteManager (1, not 2), and it was a vast vast improvement in productivity, efficiency and performance over the alternatives.

    This does look heavier, tho' don't confuse the weight of the editor scripting over what's happening when the game is running.

    Additional comments:
    Seems to require .Net 2.1, which could add some bulk.
    SpriteUI began to take measurable time to load (1 sec +) when my sprite count got high (over 100+ sprites).

    I'm working through this right now in a 2.6 based project and when I compile it to 1.7, I'll let you know what I find.
     
  36. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    Strangely duped post. (deleted)
     
  37. Crazy Robot

    Crazy Robot

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    Here is what I got back from AnBSoft,

    Looks good, I'm going to get it!

    "It is about the same as SM2 as it uses basically the same approach. Basically, the sprite-based controls are just quads (4 vertices). The only other performance considerations that are specific to EZ GUI is that it has a single Update() inside the UIManager class which performs a single raycast into the scene, which can be (and by default always is) filtered by layer such that only objects in the same layer as the UIManager will be tested agains so that the ray isn't tested against non-UI objects for both performance reasons and to keep from interfering with the rest of your game.

    And then there is a non-allocating coroutine that runs to update transform and other animation effects, when running. Since most of the time, none will be running, and when they are, only a handful of effects will occur at one time, this is very light-weight.

    In short, it's been tested on a iPod Touch 1st gen, as well as the iPad, and it runs great."

    JL
     
  38. Brady

    Brady

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    Sorry for taking a while to get back here, I'm still getting caught up on email and PMs so please bear with me.

    Actually, though the demos were designed to look fancy, EZ GUI itself is designed to perform well on iPhone. For example, I have a test scene that runs on my iPod Touch 1st gen that has 3 radio buttons, a toggle button, two sliders, a progress bar, a button, and a 40-Item scroll list, and it runs smoothly.

    More samples and videos are on the way in the next few days.
     
  39. theBrandonWu

    theBrandonWu

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    Started playing with it this afternoon and very glad I got it. Makes life so much easier!

    Two comments and a question:

    1. the default for Build Atlases has "Only Scan Project Folder" checked. I followed the tutorial on the website but couldn't get an Atlas generated until I unchecked this.

    2. In the demo, the "fire button" object - "Script With Method To Invoke" doesn't have anything assigned to it. The fire button didn't do anything until I assigned "Demo Controller" to this field.

    Q: What's the best way to create a item menu similar to the ones in "Metal Gear Solid" games? Basically showing one button, and when the button is pressed, show a few more buttons. The player would hold down the mouse button and move to a desired button, where the player would release the button to activate it. I tried to create multiple UIButtons and set "active" to enable/disable them. It works when I click on them, but doesn't work when I use "press" and "release". Not sure how to do it and still couldn't understand how ScrollList works, or if it's a good idea to use it instead.

    :)
     
  40. Brady

    Brady

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    Yes, this is covered in more detail in the Troubleshooting section of the docs. On Unity iPhone, you must either uncheck this box if building atlases for sprites in the current scene only which are not connected to prefabs, or else check the box and make sure all sprites in the affected scene(s) are attached to prefabs. This setting tells it to scan the project folder for sprite prefabs, and update them to reflect the newly generated atlas. If you uncheck this, only the current scene is scanned (since unopened scenes cannot be accessed in Unity) and only the sprites in the current scene are used to build atlases. If you check the box, only the project folder is scanned, so for the sprites in the current scene to be updated, they must be attached to prefabs in the project folder. This is useful when you have sprites/controls in multiple scenes which all share a single atlas/material and you want them to all get scanned and updated when building the atlas. The only way to do this is for them to all be attached to prefabs and to check "Scan Project Folder". In "desktop" Unity "Scan Project Folder" will still scan the current scene's sprites as well since "desktop" Unity includes some additional features which allow EZ GUI and SM2 to detect which objects are prefab instances and which are not.

    I'm not sure how that happened, it must have somehow gotten unset before I exported the package. I'll check that and make sure the correct setting is included in the next release. Sorry about that.

    I would think the best fit for something like that might be a scroll list. You could either use code to manually show/hide the scroll list, or a better approach would be to use a UIBtnPanelTab control which is capable of toggling a panel on/off. So the way this would work is you place your scroll list into a UIPanel (make it a child of a GameObject containing a UIPanel component), and then "Bring In Forward" and "Dismiss Forward" transitions so that when it is brought in, it slides into view, and when dismissed, slides out of view.

    Then create a UIPanelTab button control and point it at the UIPanel which contains the scroll list (by dragging a reference onto its "Panel" member in the inspector), and check the "Toggle" checkbox. This tells it to act as a toggle button, showing/hiding the panel when clicked.

    I'll get into detail on setting up a scrolling list in a video tutorial that is coming soon. For now, peruse the docs on the Scroll List control type. But it always helps to have a visual example. :)
     
  41. Brady

    Brady

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    I'm preparing to release an update that has some new features and a couple of tweaks. So now that some of you have had a chance to play with it a bit, it'd be great if you could PM me or e-mail me with any suggestions or feature requests that might be able to make it into this next update. I'd like to roll as much as possible into the next release, and your feedback is invaluable. Below is a list of what should be in the next release, so that you know what's already covered:

    Code (csharp):
    1.  
    2. Tentative changes in 1.01:
    3.  
    4. * New ability to specify separate drag threshold for mouse/touchpad versus Ray.
    5.  
    6. * New ability to copy all relevant settings from most control types to another control of the same type both in-code using the Copy() method, and using the menu item "Copy/Paste Control".
    7.  
    8. * New ability to specify separate layer masks for mouse/touchpad versus Ray (ignoreOtherLayers has been removed in favor of just using layer masks, so be sure to set the masks to cull out layers you don't want getting tested for raycasts).  This allows you to do things like have interactive EZ GUI objects in your world in different layers from your UI, but have both work at the same time.
    9.  
    10. * New ability to specify string values to be used for scrolling list items in-inspector.  This was done by changing the UIScrollList's Prefab Items member to hold both references to UIListItem prefabs as well as corresponding string values to serve as the text for the item.  If the string value is left empty, none will be assigned, or any existing text will remain intact.
    11.  
    12. * Changed the default action axis to "Fire1", and the default ray depth to Inifinity.  Having the axis set to "Fire1" makes it work with mouse clicks out of the box without having to do anything else.
    13.  
    14. * Resolved issue where sometimes newly built atlases would not be immediately assigned to the associated material.
    15.  
    16. * Fixed problem in demo project where the invocation script was not assigned to the fire button.
     
  42. Bububear

    Bububear

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    Hi Brady.,

    Excellent work on EZ GUI. I just purchased it and it looks fantastic.

    However, I have a question to ask. Is that the demo unityPackage project that comes with the download (fire scene) intended to work with Unity iPhone?

    Perhaps I'm missing something, but when I tried hitting the "FIRE" button, nothing happens. The button does glow properly, but it seems that the button's "Method to Invoke" function is not being fired.

    Anybody experiencing this issue?

    Thanks
     
  43. Brady

    Brady

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    Yes, that was mentioned earlier when someone discovered it. Somehow when I exported the package it didn't have the reference to the demo controller object. That will be fixed in the next release (coming soon). But you can get it to work just by setting the buttons "Script With Method To invoke" to the Demo Controller object. Sorry about that.
     
  44. etomp10291

    etomp10291

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    AWESOME!!
     
  45. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    It is... And prolly will continue to be.

    All I can say is "YIPEE!" as I've just finished recreating something I'd done in OnGUI in EZGUI. I had thought would be much more difficult than it turned out to be.

    The biggest problem that I'm running into right now is that on some levels it is TOO powerful (especially compared with something like SpriteUI), so it's taken me some time to get my head around it.
     
  46. ColossalDuck

    ColossalDuck

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    Is it easier than Unity's built in GUI solution?
     
  47. defjr

    defjr

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    It's definitely EZer.
     
  48. theBrandonWu

    theBrandonWu

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    Hi Brady,

    Thanks for the reply. I'll try your method and see if I can figure out the "Metal Gear Solid" button UI with the UIPanelList.

    by the way, I just installed SpriteManager2 as well and my GUI texture disappeared. I found out it's because the material I used was called "Sprite Material", which is the default for both EZ GUI and SpriteManager2. That material was de-selected automatically from the UI button after I install Sprite Manager 2. All I had to do was just reapply the material (and I renamed it too just in case). Just a note for people who might see the same thing.
     
  49. Adam-Buckner

    Adam-Buckner

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    ...

    It's different.

    ...

    I made this in OnGUI:
    http://tinyurl.com/2vtat8b

    Now I'm trying to slim it down with EZGUI. One window of icons in an inventory would be 25 draw calls just for the slots, not to mention the window and text.

    OnGUI was pretty straight forward, but it's a bit of a bulldozer, especially when drawcalls and speed are the main consideration.

    I liked the fact that with OnGUI, you could just associate a bit of texture (var myTexture : Texture2D) in any shape and form with an object (Class Item { var itemName : String; itemIcon : Texture2D;} (see my thumbscrews and ignorance come out here: http://forum.unity3d.com/viewtopic.php?p=330548) But OnGUI is constantly drawing and checking and redrawing the same stuff over and over again.

    For games that don't tax their engines, and if all one needs is a simple GUI, then OnGUI and GUI.xxx are fine.

    On the other hand, if you are looking for an advanced and animated GUI *or* you are looking for a slick and fast GUI (for say ... the iPhone) then OnGUI just doesn't cut it very well.

    Take a look at the teaser video for EZGUI (http://www.anbsoft.com/middleware/ezgui/ez_gui_showcase/index.html) and look at all the functionality you can get from EZGUI. I can't imagine an "easy" solution for animated GUIs straight out of OnGUI for the Unity formerly known as Indie, or even in some cases Unity Pro. Now, I must admit, most of those must have been made with the functionality of SpriteManager2 for the animations, so you'd need both for the perfect package.

    The approach that EZGUI has is a little different. As opposed to having a simple var myTexture : Texture2D; and then lots of code in OnGUI to define it, EZGUI seems to have a large inspector palette associated with scripts that are added to game objects which define them as buttons, and there are variables within these scripts that take the Texture2D and the system creates a new texture from all little textures you are using to make on large Texture Atlas and one batchable material. The code you write is relatively 'simple' and is primarily reserved for 'what the button does' as opposed to defining the button itself.

    This is part of the code I use in EZGUI to make an array of buttons:

    Code (csharp):
    1. function Start () {
    2.     inventoryWindow = new Array (inventoryLength);
    3.    
    4.     var j : int;
    5.     var k : int;
    6.     for (var i : int = 0; i < inventoryLength; i++) {
    7.         inventoryWindow[i] = Instantiate(inventoryButton, thisTransform.position, thisTransform.rotation);
    8.         inventoryWindow[i].transform.parent = thisTransform;
    9.         inventoryWindow[i].renderCamera = renderCamera;
    10.         inventoryWindow[i].scriptWithMethodToInvoke = scriptToInvoke;
    11.         inventoryWindow[i].methodToInvoke = methodToInvoke;
    12.         j = i % inventoryWidth;
    13.         k = i / inventoryWidth;
    14.         inventoryWindow[i].offset.x = startPositon.x + j * (iconSize + spacing);
    15.         inventoryWindow[i].offset.y = startPositon.y + k * (iconSize + spacing);
    16.     }
    17.     inventoryWindowObject.SetActiveRecursively(false);
    18. }
    19.  

    This is what I did in OnGUI:

    Code (csharp):
    1. function DrawInventoryWindow () {
    2.     if (GUI.Button (Rect (5,5,10,10), "")) {
    3.         CloseInventoryWindow ();
    4.     }
    5.    
    6.     var j : int;
    7.     var k : int;
    8.     var currentInventoryItem : InventoryItem;
    9.     var currentRect : Rect;
    10.     for (var i : int = 0; i < inventory.length; i ++) {
    11.         j = i / inventoryWidth;
    12.         k = i % inventoryWidth;
    13.         currentInventoryItem = inventory[i];
    14.         currentRect = (new Rect (offSet.x + k * (iconWidthHeight + spacing), offSet.y + j * (iconWidthHeight + spacing), iconWidthHeight, iconWidthHeight));
    15.         if (currentInventoryItem == null) {
    16.             GUI.DrawTexture (currentRect, emptySlotIcon);
    17.         } else {
    18.             GUI.DrawTexture (currentRect, currentInventoryItem.itemIcon);
    19.         }
    20.        
    21.         if (currentInventoryItem != null  GUI.Button (currentRect, "", GUIStyle ("label"))) {
    22.             if (Input.GetMouseButtonUp (0)) {
    23.                 openLootWindow = false;
    24.                 openCharacterWindow = true;
    25.                  var success : boolean = EquipItem (currentInventoryItem);
    26.                  if (success)
    27.                     inventory[i] = null;
    28.             }
    29.         }
    30.     }
    31. }
    The OnGUI contains more code than EZGUI, but that's partly because the active code is within OnGUI. EZGUI must link to an external script, afaict.

    Anyhow... rambling.

    Should go to bed.
     
  50. Brady

    Brady

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2008
    Posts:
    2,311
    Actually, while there is lots of "pizazz" you can add with the sprite animation capabilities of SM2 (like the "lava" effect in the first tutorial), not to mention non-UI uses for SM2, most of the stuff you see in the showcase video is using straight EZ GUI. The only examples I can think of at the moment which used SM2 were the animated buttons in the "Earth" scene (the moving chevrons, swinging hammer, etc), and the "Reactor Output" slider in the hangar scene. There were also the non-UI uses of SM2 with the forcefield effects at the edges of the observation portal and alien projector in the hangar scene. Except for a few instances where I used EZ GUI's EZAnimation classes in-script, the rest of the animation effects you saw were all done using EZ GUI's powerful transition system.