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Scaleform for Unity

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by rumbox, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. rumbox

    rumbox

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    Scaleform is a flash based User Interface middleware for games. http://gameware.autodesk.com/scaleform

    The page above links you to this screen where you just sign up for future news. http://gameware.autodesk.com/scaleform/usage/integration/unity

    I would like to learn Scaleform for the creation of UIs. Im already proficient in using Flash as an animation/motion graphics tool. It will likely help to know Actionscript.

    Does anyone know how the workflow between Flash, Scaleform and a game engine works? I know that UDK comes with Scaleform, with a few features omitted. I'm not interested in the Unreal Engine however. Hopefully we get to see Unity with Scaleform soon?
     
  2. cannon

    cannon

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    It's been there for quite a while now. They haven't released anything regarding how it works with Unity; though I guess it allows you to call swfs generated using Flash (or Flex) and run it in your game using their own custom runtime with callbacks in your game for events.
     
  3. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    I guess you all missed the news about scaleform. Try searching forums.
     
  4. duke

    duke

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    Yes they showed it working in Unity but with nothing solid on when it will be available. I guess people (including me) were hoping for a bit more correspondence via the aforementioned signup.
     
  5. rumbox

    rumbox

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    Thanks for the info. I guess we sit tight and wait for the news to be emailed out.
     
  6. janpec

    janpec

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    I think that it would still be useless for most indies if it would be included. Most engines that use it have non-exclusive license and you have to pay 10k bucks just to include it in game. For any indie that is silly.
     
  7. Gigiwoo

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    I would be very surprised if they charged anything close to that with Unity. I expect a pricing model that reflects the cost of Unity itself. And, if they did it at like $500 or $1000, they would sell thousands of copies. There are some ... 300,000 unity devs worldwide. And scaleform is a widely accepted industry standard for making UI's.

    Here's to hoping.

    Gigiwoo.
     
  8. janpec

    janpec

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    First make sure that you count off 80% of this 300,000 developers that are actually owners of Free license and are years away to purchase Pro. Second even for those who purchase Pro, 1k license just for GUI is damn expensive. I belive that Unity didnt announce anything about Scaleform becouse Autodesk offers were just too high.
     
  9. Dreamora

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    Well the pro requirement can likely be assumed to be there, unity has no plugable architecture without pro. So the 700k (thats the latest number I think I read) shrinks down to 70k if not lower and of those many are hobbiest and unfunded indies where a 4 figure license fee per title upfront can be quite a bit of money and plugin it in in the end isn't gonna work.

    And I don't see why it should be much cheaper than normaljust cause unity does not cost much, its not like they are desperate for exposure like other techs, they are used in enough places and more customers also means worse support, more support effort and more work for the legal department enforcing the license terms. For a technology like this, 'more' does not equate to 'better'. For unity it partially did, the support has not grown anywhere as fast and to a proportional degree of what the userbase which for example would be a point on the shadow side
     
  10. Maurice-Hoffman

    Maurice-Hoffman

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    I talked with the guys from Scaleform at Unite 2011 and they gonna announce soon pricing options for Scaleform Unity.

    They will target a price which will also be fair for indie developers, they said this was also the first time they had to think about this
    so they wanted to take them time to make a good price so they can attract lot's of developers.

    They had the angry birds demo with a Scale Form Gui and it looked awesome and use little drawcalls.
     
  11. psyclone

    psyclone

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    Ideally Would like this included in Unity, however your right it most likely gonna need pro. I would doubt that UT would do a new GUI Editor for Unity that couldn't be included in Free.

    Although that would be a good incentive to buy pro, would piss of a lot of people.
     
  12. Dreamora

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    I am pretty sure it will not happen as integrated piece of software but sold as a Pro Plugin for Win and OSX (perhaps mobiles too, as thats even easier to hook graphic stuff in)
     
  13. Joe ByDesign

    Joe ByDesign

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    Received request from Autodesk to gauge interest in a Scaleform Unity plugin, and the questionnaire they sent included projected pricing info.

    USD $750 / PER PROJECT.

    Yep, you read it correctly, seems Autodesk wants to DESTROY Unity's excellent "Pay Once - Publish Many" ecology by requiring a separate license PER PROJECT for using a Scaleform plugin with Unity.

    Guess they didn't get the memo that the community has moved past such DRACONIAN LICENSE SCHEMES.

    Yet another example of Autodesk throwing it's weight around, completely ignoring the priorities of whatever community they wish to dominate.

    I say NO to this offensive proposal, now and forever.

    What say you?
     
  14. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Unity has a per-project license for console export and they may change their licensing at any time. I don't think you should even compare unity in this case, it's insane.

    I think 100 dollars per project is sane, with 500 dollars for a lifetime license (for indies).
     
  15. Joe ByDesign

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    @Hippocoder;

    Yes, Unity does have existing per project licensing for console export, but it isn't Unity's choice; it is driven by the hardware manufacturer.

    To say, in order to support such very specific hardware (such as consoles) they are forced to follow the rules of the hardware manufacturer. The % of Unity-Console users to Unity non-console users is very small, by all measure.

    To contrast this, Autodesk makes software; software available to everyone. Being the first to require per project fees on a plugin, they will start the ball rolling towards an exclusionary, fragmented tier model; destroying an otherwise highly functional, much lauded, and sane software ecology.

    My guess is you've never used software where they NICKLE DIME you for every good feature? Look at Virtools (now 3DVIA); they charged extra for Physics, Quality Renderers, etc. Such draconian licensing models kills thriving communities for a short-term profit gain. Ask anyone who used Virtools before it died.

    Is this what you want Unity to become?
     
  16. Krobill

    Krobill

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    Actually what killed Virtools is that they sold bit by bit an obsolete technology at a price superior to better techs like Unity. The business model is not responsible for Virtools' death but the quality / price ratio is. It's always a question of market as a whole, not of price only.

    As of today, if the final pricing for Scaleform plugin for unity is indeed 750 dollars per project flat, I don't see any better 3D technology for UI creation which doesn't involve rev shares or with a smaller price. I'll gladly throw my money at them for each of my projects if I consider Scaleform to be useful for them. 750 dollars is equivalent to the cost of 3 to 4 days of internal dev (salary, taxes,...), the only real question is : will scaleform allow us to spare 3 or 4 days of work in each project ?
     
  17. Joe ByDesign

    Joe ByDesign

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    @Krobill
    Virtools was dead dying long before Unity came around; anyone who was there knows this. Unity helped seal the coffin is all.

    Also, wasn't arguing that price only was responsible. Not sure why you think that?

    As for alternatives, there are plenty available if you look; nGUI for one is fantastic and very "Unity-like". Sure it is not flash technology like Scaleform, but the trade-offs are minimal.
     
  18. Moraleidahgo

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    Well, I guess I won't be using scaleform so soon. And if that information is correct a tool with such a price won't less long, specially when Unity community is mostly Indie.
     
  19. Joe ByDesign

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    And yes we can afford to buy Scaleform for each project that calls for non-trivial UI too... But this issue isn't about being able to afford it (feel sorry for people who think spending more money gives them special status!)

    It's about the impact such old-world license models have on software ecologies. Unity is hugely successful in-part because they eschewed such draconian models when no-one else was.

    So the question remains, the one that no-one seems to be asking:

    Do you want to see Unity become another lame software program that NICKELS DIMES USERS PER PROJECT for individual quality features?

    How is this good for anyone but Autodesk?

    Isn't the Pro / Indie license distinction enough?
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2012
  20. Arowx

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    Another good reason for Unity to release that GUI update, they could even have the API match or be compatible with Autodesks and then if you need / can afford Scaleform you can 'port' to it easily.
     
  21. Krobill

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    For me it is (you can feel sorry me if you want). Explains my point of view. I understand it's obviously not yours. I'll leave it at that.
     
  22. Joe ByDesign

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    Fair enough, i can only ask that you try to understand this issue extends beyond your individual needs and that you try to consider the bigger picture instead.
     
  23. Krobill

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    I try to imagine what's it like to make of UT a sustainable company growing as it is. I honestly always try to the see the bigger picture, believe me, and I think I understand UT marketing choices and I must say as an indie dev, I approve most if not all of them for now.

    Now concerning Scaleform and Unity as you said it, autodesk is also part of the picture. It's a great opportunity for Unity to have scaleform as an option. To have it as a base feature would AUTOMATICALLY raise the price point of Unity (or would you expect for UT to earn less or autodesk to give away what they bought ?). Would you like that better ? You just can't realistically always ask for more (and scaleform is much more) for the same price.

    Once more, I understand your feeling about that but I think it's in the nature of things to evolve as they do. Now if you want me to start bitching around about softwares making you pay for not so new features, just ask me how I feel about adobe's speed tax on the Flash Player ;)
     
  24. Joe ByDesign

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    @Krobill
    That's just it though; this isn't a natural evolution. It is the beginning of the end of what makes Unity great, if we let it become that.

    The simple fact is, while Scaleform is nice (agreeably) WE DO NOT NEED IT, esp. if it means losing what makes Unity good.

    Specifically, Unity's priority focus on empowering quality content creators over the amount of money a user or team throws at their toolset.

    No, this is simply Autodesk, once again, being the 800lb gorilla throwing their weight around, in complete disregard of the values of a given community so they can better dominate the marketplace.

    They are anti-Unity in this sense.

    It amazes me that you take issue with Adobe's speed tax on their flash player, yet Autodesk is among the worse companies with such priorities; eking out what should be point releases as new versions so they can charge full price, is only the beginning.

    How can it be that you take issue with Adobe's speed tax and not see the priorities that brought it about how they relate to Autodesk's Scaleform for Unity?

    There is nothing natural or forward-thinking about this; it is priority on short-term gain over long-term value and up until now, is the anti-thesis of what has been Unity's values.
     
  25. Joe ByDesign

    Joe ByDesign

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    And yes, i would pay slightly more for Pro licenses if it meant having access to Scaleform.

    To be precise, about $100 more; certainly not half the engine cost PER PROJECT just for a UI toolkit.
     
  26. Noisecrime

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    Well in my opinion that's just killed scaleform dead.

    At $750 per game, per platform basis I don't see many indie's being able to go for it. In my opinion that's a substantial part of any indies game budget. I mean its half the cost of a Unity Pro license and look at how many users have problems stepping up from free to pro.

    Read that again, that's per game, per platform! So if you want to use it for a game and think you might release it on iOS, Android, Win, Mac thats $3000, just for that one game.

    As I see it there are two type of indies developing with Unity, those who are part of a small company, perhaps they've made a successful game or two and able to run the company off that and then there are one man shows or small collectives, doing it for the love of making games, but being realistic and not expecting to make a living out of it, unless they strike it big.

    The first may be able to afford and justify the cost for Scaleform based on experience and that their expectations to turn a profit, the second group realistically don't expect to make a profit at least not one they could necessarily support themselves from and its this second group that is far, far bigger than the first.

    There is a third group, people like myself, using Unity to create bespoke applications for clients. In my case its for installations mostly, which can have large budgets, but frequently aspects such as building the physical installation and the cost of hardware can take up to half the budget.

    I'm certainly not going to take on the cost of Scaleform, so it would have to be included in the budget and I can tell you now, not many clients would understand such a charge. Not to mention that overall for the projects to date it would be hard to justify an extra $750 just for making the UI look like flash. Its not that the budgets are necessarily too small, just these days they are scrutinise heavily and options such as this would be the first thing cut. That's not to say none of my clients would go for it, just it would be a very hard sell unless it was a very heavy UI experience based product.

    Having said all that, from what I've seen of scaleform, its definitely worth good money, just no way I can see it working at such a high license cost considering what I feel is the majority of the Unity developer market. Of course knowing Autodesk I don't think they care about that one bit. I have a feeling they would rather have much fewer sales at this price than open it up for more users.

    From my pov I could see this working at $99, from both a psychological view, being that its not much money, equivalent of a iOS developer license or XNA license and thus would seem to be good value, and also from a practical view in that its not much additional money to find from a budget.

    I could also see it working (just) at $199 per game, per platform as I could easily add that to a budget without the client getting to obsessed by it. Though its still considerably more than any 'additional' feature I'd ever bought for say Director, when things like Mpeg xtra ($199) or BuddyApi ($225), which were almost essential for nearly every project were single license per developer. In my mind thats where i'm coming from and such a jump in cost especially to per product is as I said going to be a hard sell.

    From a personal perspective I could also see myself getting it if it had a flat fee per developer of $1-2k, though I would need at least two seats.

    Just to be clear I actually feel that $750 even per game, per platform is pretty good value (assuming Scaleform is all its cracked up to be), but as an upfront cost for indie's making games or as an addition to a budget for a client it just seems too much of a risk or is likely to be a feature first to be cut.

    For indies I can that price working if it was based on units sold, or for bespoke applications if it was per developer (maybe even at a yearly rate), however neither of those options are going to be attractive to Autodesk due to the amount of admin it would require.

    Overall I think Autodesk have either completely misjudged the Unity market, or as I said above don't care and happy to seel fewer licenses but at the price they want, perhaps even as a means to 'protect' Scaleforms value.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  27. Joe ByDesign

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    While I contend the core issue here is less about cost and more about the effect this type of licensing scheme has on software ecology (as reasoned above), it's worth mentioning the per-project fee is not the end of it...

    No, the Scaleform workflow currently requires having a copy of Flash Studio.

    That means, an additional cost of either $199 to upgrade (from Adobe CS3-CS5) or $699 for full license.

    Just one more hurdle between creative inspiration and getting workable results.
     
  28. SteveJ

    SteveJ

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    I personally think that price (which is only a projection) is fairly reasonable. Scaleform is a high-end tool, so if you're planning on using it, then you're likely creating a high-end product, the estimated "profit" from which would hopefully make a $750 investment fairly trivial. I think it's wrong to attack Autodesk or the Scaleform product based on the fact that as an indie developer, YOU are not willing to spend $750 on your project for a higher quality result. I understand that a lot of developers can't afford that investment - if that's the case, don't use Scaleform, use one of the many other - more affordable - solutions. But if you want Scaleform, then you have to pay for Scaleform. I think that a lot of indie game developers hide behind statements like "DRACONIAN LICENSE SCHEMES" simply because they lack the confidence in their own creations to put a little of their money on the line - they want everything for free so that they have zero risk, while still reaping the potential benefits. Sometimes you really do have to spend money to make money, and have enough faith in the games that you're creating to take the gamble and make an investment in them.
     
  29. Izitmee

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    Ouch, didn't think of that. Scaleform looked really good, though I wasn't interested because of the price. But now that I realized you also need Adobe's stuff (and you can't build the swf entirely with stuff like FlashDevelop), it became terrible :/

    If you're starting with games, and are not rich, investing money means buying Unity's licences, and "paying" yourself while seriously working on a game :p More money spending should come after the first averagely successful game.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  30. Joe ByDesign

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    Of course, you're entitled to your opinion, and I'd agree it is possible some Indies feel that way, but for each of them, there are devs who think spending more $$ automagically means their result is better quality.

    Wonder which side James Cameron was on when he made Aliens with only 1 alien costume haha!

    In any case, think you might be missing the forest from the trees. Though, honestly it sounds more like you're drinking the Autodesk Scaleform Marketing Kool-Aid (and loving it!) :)

    Point is, preferring to focus funds on aspects that actually matter, doesn't mean you don't have confidence in your work.

    And yes, it's true that you get what you pay for in many cases, but let us not also forget that just because something is priced (relatively) high, doesn't mean it is worth that.

    Let it be known, Scaleform isn't a panacea; it doesn't magically make great UI for you and there are a lot of very valid criticisms against it's use.

    From professional developers, stand-alone issues like:
    • inefficient workflow
    • incompatibility
    • poor support
    • pixel-precision errors
    • API limitations
    • needless design complexity
    Are all high on the list of complaints for many who have been forced to use Scaleform.

    To say nothing of the simple fact that it is an entirely different proprietary system from Unity for generating UI; Scaleform isn't a GUI as much as it is an inaccurate emulator.

    Lastly, think stoking the flames of an Indie vs. Non-Indie argument is completely unhealthy for our community. I don't see how anyone could make the case that fragmenting the user community with over-priced Scaleform will result in a better products for the Unity community.


    Can we agree that adding additional hurdles between a creative idea and a quality result is a direction we shouldn't take very far?
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  31. Noisecrime

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    I think this is part of the problem, unless you are working within a company that can afford to take the risk, its very unlikely you can predict the level of profit you might make on a game, especially in regard to iOS and worse Android. You product might make $100k in which case $750 for a license was trivial, you might make nothing in which case it wasn't worth it.

    Its tricky as I agree from what i've seen Scaleform can be an excellent product and if you generate a large income from using it the license is a trivial matter, but if you don't then its a really hard decision to go with. The problem being that I'm sure many developers would love to try it out and may find it enhances their product greatly, but then find they simply can't cover the license cost to release it.

    As I said, it seems to be aimed at a much smaller segment of the Unity market, so only limited number of developers will be able to justify its use, which is a real shame.
     
  32. returnString

    returnString

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    Any Flash IDE should work, Adobe Flash isn't required. All Scaleform expects is an SWF.
     
  33. nsxdavid

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    With all this talk of Scaleform, it's worth pointing out that they are not the only kid playing in that sandbox. My pals at RAD Game Tools have a very similar (nearly identical) thing galled Iggy

    http://www.radgametools.com/iggy.htm

    A fun read is the details of their implementation and what they had to do to make it slick, fast and compatible: http://www.radgametools.com/iggyinfo.htm

    No Unity plugin or anything like that (yet). But worth keeping an eye on. Ask them for a Unity plugin... the more that ask the higher the chances. Tell em David from Simutronics sent ya. :)

    David
     
  34. Neutron

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    Exactly. If you're making a product for which $750 is a significant part of the budget, then it's unlikely that your UI is complex enough to need Scaleform.

    As for a license price per game, you charge your customers per game don't you ?

    For me the deciding factor is likely to be whether they commit to supporting the Mac and webplayer.
     
  35. Kaspar-Daugaard

    Kaspar-Daugaard

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    Web player is quite unlikely since it's all native plugin based, i.e. they use the same support for native rendering that is available to everyone else. It could happen in the distant future if we sat down and solved all the technical/security issues with them, but don't bet too much on it.

    This tool will be worth a lot to the people who like Scaleform's workflow, but don't see it as a direction Unity is heading in generally.
     
  36. Dreamora

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    $750 for the first platform, up to as much for every other platform you want to target along it as it is per game per platform ... but lets see how the survey comes out which they sent out earlier this week. I gave pretty clear thumbs down on anything beyond $500 for the first platform as Scaleforms track record is one more filled with PR than reality.

    For me the deciding factor will be if Autodesk for once supports it and if the license is really per game not per game + XX, so the license remains valid until I decide to no longer support my game, not until they feel that they have a new major version for which I'm meant to pay just cause they finally did their job and fixed the massive pile of bugs they push around behind the PR curtain for eternities now at Scaleform.
    Additionally at such prices I expect the plugin to be up to date with unity / ios / android releases already during beta, not days to weeks after release. Its a premium tech and I expect corresponding timely support, I think thats just as reasonable from a professional point of ivew as is their license fee :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  37. Starsman Games

    Starsman Games

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    I say you are young with little business experience.

    No it isn't. It's because they can.

    Scratch my previous comment about being young. You are acting like a 5 year old.

    In my situation, the price is step. For a per title/per platform, in my low budget situation, it simply is not an option due to the extreme low profitability of my business at the time.

    But it simply is obvious that they are not building Scaleform for indies like me, they are building it for larger studios that want to spend less time tinkering with Unity's UI and more time just designing and getting things running.

    It's their choice and their right.

    If you feel so lowly about Scaleform, why do the equivalent of running out of the bathroom still in your underwear to warn the neighbors that the world is ending?
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2012
  38. Kaspar-Daugaard

    Kaspar-Daugaard

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    Well, we need to make the money back that we spend on supporting console platforms. There is a lot more work involved for us per project than on open platforms so licensing per project makes a lot of sense. The fact that we can get paid is what allows us to spend time making Unity work on consoles.
     
  39. TylerPerry

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    WHOA, you are David Whatley? You are famous :p
     
  40. nsxdavid

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    Yup, that's me. Didn't know i was famous tho. Okay, maybe in some circles. :)
     
  41. duke

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    If I were the boss hog, I'd be giving away scaleform for standalone/web for non commercial projects, and licensing it for ~1000 flat rate per title for all platforms, or 200 per title per platform.

    If Substance integration in Unity cost you something just to license said integration, I doubt it would have had anywhere near the success it has had. Similarly, Unity and UDK have turned to the "free to use, dollars to publish" models.

    We'll see what happens I suppose.
     
  42. Clement6006

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    Dose anyone know how to import ScaleForm for Unity3D?
    Are there any documents on website?
     
  43. rab236

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    As far as I know Unity hasn't turned to this. It's free to develop and publish. The only costs with unity are licenses for different platforms. It's more of a "dollars to use, free to publish" model (or "free to use, free to publish" in Unity Indie).
     
  44. tatoforever

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    Autodesk have plans to sell a binary version of Scaleform to Unity users for about 750$ per title per platform. Seriously, that's half the cost of one Unity pro license, which have gazillions stuffs, middlewares, features and unlimited publishing, not just a runtime flash player.
    They must be kidding, really.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2012
  45. Pixelstudio_nl

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    My hope is more on the new GUI system unity is developing... wish for some insight there tho...
    I have looked at the beta of scaleform and must say that it runs great. But then the price and a per title amount would be a nogo for us. specially cause we are not developing games but more sorta 3D apps and simulators. some of them are ready in a week, some in a year. then 750 per title is just not going to work.

    and i must say i agree with tatoforever for 100%.
     
  46. jwindow

    jwindow

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    Autodesk just posted a ton of new info on the Scaleform/Unity integration at http://gameware.autodesk.com. Just downloaded the eval and am starting to play with it and so far it looks pretty straight forward.
     
  47. yuiShirou

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    It's out for evaluation guys
     
  48. Dreamora

    Dreamora

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    Posts:
    26,603
    thats your PoV
    the other PoV is that the normal license is up to 10 times higher per platform
     
  49. taumel

    taumel

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2005
    Posts:
    5,293
    So, how many licences are you going to order?

    I see this only working for bigger budgeted projects but maybe that's what they are after.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2012
  50. dkozar

    dkozar

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2009
    Posts:
    1,410
    Hoping it's not off-topic, but there's a new framework which allows you to stay completely inside Unity (instead of pushing messaging to GUI via a tiny channel); also no additional tools needed like with Scaleform (just Unity + VS Express/Mono Develop): http://edrivenunity.com/gui-hello-world

    I started the thread here - thanks for Your valuable comments.