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Questions about Unity Mac in general

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by SpectralLament, Jan 24, 2006.

  1. SpectralLament

    SpectralLament

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    I just stumbled on Unity the other day, and it's features caught my eye. I was ready to start saving up to purchase it...when I noticed it's made for the Mac. This isn't a bad thing, as I have no hate for the Mac, but I only have a Windows PC.

    I'm still wanting to buy it, I just want to make sure it'll be worth it, and that the Mac I might buy would run it. So, I'll go ahead and make a list of things I would enjoy being answered, as it would be a rather large cost in total to buy everything.

    1. Do Unity games have a generally good frame-rate on PC's?
    I heard Torque performed badly on the Mac. Is the reverse true here?

    2. How easy is it to use?
    From what I've read, it seems to be very easy to use, but I'm a non-programmer (I'm actually an artist) and I've only been pretty good at one of the 3 languages I tried to learn (and it was the programming language in GameMaker6).

    3. How good would you classify the graphics as?
    The screenshots looked good, but I'm wondering what you guys think of it. I'm not looking for Doom 3 level stuff, but if I can pull fairly high detail stuff with support for bump maps, I'm happy. Would you classify it as PS2 or GC power levels? Maybe a gen behind on the PC front? Or current PC levels of power?

    4. Is it worth plunking the cash down on?
    The indie license for the engine is in the $300 range, which I can afford. Thing is, I have to buy a mac as well...and the cheapest one I could find was still $499 (Mac Mini). Is it worth the total cost?

    5. If so, what is the cheapest Mac I could buy that would run it well?
    I'm hoping it's the Mac Mini, but I'm willing to buy an iMac if it calls for it. I'm not neccessarily wanting my Mac to be a hardcore gaming PC (there's just more games on windows...it's what I'd rather plunk down on) but I do want to be able to run Unity, and it's games, well.

    Thanks for any help in answering these questions. It means alot to me, and I'd like to get involved in Unity game creation. :)
     
  2. AngryAnt

    AngryAnt

    Keyboard Operator

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    1) Framerate is a little lower on the pc at the moment as far as I know, but improvements on the pc part are just around the corner.

    2) I think unity is very easy to use, but I'm a programmer. I've heard a big applause from the artists on this forum though.

    3) I'd say unity renders at a quality slightly below PS2, but don't take my word for it - I have little experience with both unity and the PS2.

    4) I'd say yes. You won't get something like unity on any platform without limiting either quality, ease of use and / or your savings.

    5) The current generation of mac mini is quite powerful. I've seen unity run on configurations vastly inferior to it. I can not say for sure where the performance curve peaks.
     
  3. jeremyace

    jeremyace

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    Unity supports Normal mapping and parallax mapping (which I am sure you know creates a more realistic effect than bump mapping) as well as per-pixel lighting. There are no built in shadow systems _yet_ but you can use the included blob shadow projector for simple stuff, and I am sure you could come up with something if you got creative with the shaders.

    I personally love Unity, I am sort of in the middle ground between artist and programmer, and I find Unity a joy to use. With very little effort you will be up and running in no time at all.

    My advice would be to download the demo and find someone who has a mac and give it a try. You wont regret it and the community here is one of the best around. When you post with a problem here you will get replies from many people and usually the DEVs withing a day or two. Very nice, helpful community.

    My two cents. :)

    -Jeremy
    PS: If you want to see some Unity code samples in JavaScript, C#, and some in Boo check out the community script wiki:
    http://unify.bluegillweb.com/scriptwiki/index.php/Main_Page
     
  4. SpectralLament

    SpectralLament

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    Jan 24, 2006
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    Thanks for the replies guys. :)

    I've been doing some searches on Unity and macs that run it well, and I'm pretty much decided on getting an iMac 17-inch.

    I'll probably use the grayscale bumpmap functionality, rather than normal mapping. It is less accurate and it's lower quality, but I'm a texture artist and a pretty good low-poly modelor, can't say the same about high-poly though (for normal maps).

    As for trying the demo on someone else's mac, that won't happen. I live in a small town, and everyone here still uses Windows 98. I think there's only about 7 people in the whole town, me included, who even know what a Mac or Windows XP are...

    As for ease of use, I think I might be able to get into it. The last language I was able to get into was in a similar program, only geared even more towards RAD development and 2d. As long as using Unity is fun, I think I could get into it. As a hobbyist working for fun and no pay, that's crucial, heh.

    Anyways though, after my initial response to it (it seemed like a dream app) and the enormous amounts of praise I've read from the quotes and the forum, I'm pretty sure I'll purchase it just by the word of mouth. Now I've just need a job to make that $1550 (iMac+unity indie) get here faster. :p
     
  5. jeremyace

    jeremyace

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    lol window 98 :eek: I remember that thing. I think... ;)

    As for ease of use, I can say Unity is very easy and straight-forward to use, programming in Unity is fun and not really all that hard to learn. The harder part comes from learning the general concepts of whatever you are trying to accomplish (AI, whatever) and not so much from making it run in Unity.

    About the grayscale bumpmaps, if I remember correctly, Unity automatically generates normal maps from your grayscale images. So you will be generating grayscale maps, but they will be used as normal maps. Just FWI ;)

    As for Unity being fun, Oh yeah! I am working on learning AI and other various things and doing it in Unity allows me to see results instantly, which also allows me to learn faster, and makes the whole effort fun. Unity allows you to see a point in what you are doing if you get what I mean. The instant feedback and the fact that most stuff is already taken care of for you allows you to focus on your game specific code and not the boring nitty gritty.

    I hope you get Unity and get some great use out of it, definately worth the $$$. I will be getting Unity PRO as soon as I can and I haven't even had Unity for all that long.

    Good luck!

    -Jeremy
     
  6. SpectralLament

    SpectralLament

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    About the Windows 98 thing, that was exaggeration. Most people use XP, though they have no clue what they're doing. Usually it's a dell too. Some still use 98 though. :p

    Yeah, pretty shortly after I had asked those questions about bump maps, I went digging around and found out the stuff about the conversion. I'm glad it can use heightmaps though.

    What you described there in the last paragraph sounded alot like the process I had in gamemaker. Ah, that was some fun times. Easy code and instant playing, made it a hell of alot of fun.

    One last question though, which would be better: to buy a PowerPC iMac, or to spring for an Intel-based iMac. I know the Intel one is more powerful, but does it have compatibility issues with Unity?
     
  7. jeremyace

    jeremyace

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    I was just kidding about the win 98. I can't remember the last time I even saw it. ;)

    The editor won't run on the intel-based mac yet. They are working on getting built games to run on it shortly, and they plan to have the editor working on intel macs for version 1.3. You also get all 1.x versions for free once you buy.

    Just searched, built games on intel in Febuary, editor sometime in march.
    http://forum.otee.dk/viewtopic.php?t=1191&highlight=intel

    It would probably be best to get the powerpc mac now so you can use unity, and maybe move to intel-based when you need the extra kick. Depends on your timeframe.

    -Jeremy
     
  8. jeremyace

    jeremyace

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    Oh, there is also an Nvidia plugin for photoshop to generate normal maps from grayscale if you prefer that for whatever reason. :)

    -Jeremy
     
  9. DaveyJJ

    DaveyJJ

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    Yup, it's the one thing keeping me sane after seeing the new Core Duo iMacs. I bought my (G5) 17" with iSight just after they announced it, added an extra 512MB of RAM, and Unity runs super sweet on this machine. Plus with all of my other main apps not yet Universal Binary (and without the funds to afford the updates anyways (Dreamweaver, Adobe, Painter IX, Studio Artist) I'm glad I have the G5.
     
  10. SpectralLament

    SpectralLament

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    So it should work well on intels around March? I doubt I'll have enough money for the mac and unity by then. I'm guessing the kinks between intels and unity will be ironed out by then. Still might get a powerpc though.
     
  11. forestjohnson

    forestjohnson

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    In my opinion if you want to do prallax bump maps and stuff in unity you should wait for unity to become universal and then get a intel imac, unless you want to get started NOW. The new intel imacs are faster and better in general I think, but the main reason is they have a good graphics card, which is basicly a first on macs.
     
  12. marty

    marty

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    On a related note, I've ordered one of the Intel-based Macbooks and should have it (apparrently) in mid-February. If the Unity folks need anyone to beta their Universal builds of Unity, count me in.
     
  13. SpectralLament

    SpectralLament

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    @Yoggy: I probably will get an intel iMac. It'll be awhile before I can afford a Mac at all, so I might as well get something that would be powerful.
     
  14. jeremyace

    jeremyace

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    Well then maybe march will work out well for you then. :)

    -Jeremy