DMsGuild Classic
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  1. #1

    So...Unity? Why?

    Ok, so I've been reading a lot on the forums. Been looking at different sites too.
    Now, I will admit I am the least bit tech-savvy in programming and such. Only really know how to use software, not debug to anything, nor really play video games that much.

    I've read that "Unity" is some sort of game programing language as well, but don't understand what is good about it. Why the upgrade when there are fewer features?

    But, with features that have been removed from Classic to Unity; night/day icons and lighting effects of darkvision, torches, so on; why did FG move to a new version?
    Last edited by Poe the Homunculus; May 5th, 2021 at 08:06.
    The beginning of any story is a happy accident; the end, a tragic fate.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Poe the Homunculus View Post
    Ok, so I've been reading a lot on the forums and such. Been looking at different sites too.
    Now, I will admit I am the least bit tech-savvy in programming and such. Only really know how to use software, not debug to anything, nor really play video games that much.

    I've read that "Unity" is some sort of game programing language as well, but don't understand what is good about it. Why the upgrade when there are fewer features?

    But, with so many features that have been removed from Classic to Unity; night/day icons and lighting effects of darkvision, torches, so on; why did FG move to a new version?
    Fantasy Grounds Classic has been showing his age and it was lacking modern VTT features such as visual effects, line of sight, dynamic lighting and etc. Unity came to help and it is one of the widely used platform by many game studios. It is not bad choice, though heavier on the machine than FGC, which ran on potato computers blazing fast. Unity is game engine and as such provides a lot of options for developers and readily-available libraries. There is no Unity programming language, as far as I am aware the main language to use is C#, its Mono cross-platform implementation. Benefits of using supported game engine are a lot, depending which version is licensed to SW there might be more or less drawbacks.

    The Unity version of the program does not have fewer feature. On the contrary - it has much more. What you listed as removed features is not correct at all. Only the night/day options was ditched. You now have true map tools where you stitch map tiles together (so you no longer have to go to external program) but it has various tools to further enhance the maps. Also there are layers, effects, line of sight, dynamic lights and the potential of Unity will allow in future to have dynamic maps and GIFs probably.

    So, a lot of reasons to go to Unity. It will ensure the future of the platform, compared to the two main web-based competitors.
    The past is a rudder to guide us, not an anchor to hold us back.

  3. #3
    LordEntrails's Avatar
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    First, FGU has MORE features than FGC, not fewer. There are a couple of things, like mood lighting, that are done differently now, and probably even a few things that FGC has that are not in FGU, but FGU has numerous/many/lots of features that FGC does not have.

    So, FGC core that processes and does the behind the scenes work is a proprietary program. Only the FG developer have access to it, and only they can upgrade it. It was written for 32-bit Windows operating system. And therefore could only run on other platforms (like Mac, Linux, tablets and phones, etc) with unreliable third party emulators. 32-bit computers are no longer sold, and in many cases are no longer supported. Converting FGC to a 64-bit platform is a huge amount of work. It's basically re-writing everything from the ground up. Many programs simple chose to become obsolete rather than do so.

    With the choice to either upgrade to a 64 bit platform or go obsolete, SmiteWorks chose to upgrade to 64. If they were doing so, they had a a few choices; write another completely proprietary core program from scratch, or pick one of several "engines" that are developed by others, and have 'libraries' of functions you can use (things like networking, graphics processing, databases, etc).

    SW chose the Unity Engine. I don't know enough about the various platforms/engines to know why, but some of the advantages (not unique to Unity) include;
    - a larger pool of potential developers, i.e. as they have hired developers, they can hire those that already know Unity and therefore can become productive with developing for FG quicker (i.e. short learning curve)
    - ready to use (purchase) libraries and functionalities. These effectively increase their active developers, since they can use pre-developed parts of the program. These may also allow easier development of radical new features, like 3D and AR/VR in the future.
    - access to core engine updates (i.e. they don't have to solve every problem, they can submit support tickets to Unity and let those developers solve core engine problems)
    - native cross-platform support, Unity provide the ability to 'publish' their code to native o/s versions, like Mac, Linux, etc (and is what may allow a phone or tablet versions in the future)
    Last edited by LordEntrails; May 5th, 2021 at 06:56.

  4. #4
    Thank you for the replies. I admit that I don't understand how programming works, just an end-user of the program trying to make maps for the game.
    I just I'm referring to the ability to make the day/night function on the map and doing the light spell. I've seen the "lightbulb" in screenshots which I assume is Classic. I am not sure what features those are called when players can only see as far as their light spell or torch allows.
    What is the advantage of having that not in Unity?
    The beginning of any story is a happy accident; the end, a tragic fate.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Poe the Homunculus View Post
    Thank you for the replies. I admit that I don't understand how programming works, just an end-user of the program trying to make maps for the game.
    I just I'm referring to the ability to make the day/night function on the map and doing the light spell. I've seen the "lightbulb" in screenshots which I assume is Classic. I am not sure what features those are called when players can only see as far as their light spell or torch allows.
    What is the advantage of having that not in Unity?
    The light bulb in screenshot is from the next version of Unity that will be released in the following weeks/month probably. It is from BETA client where players can help SW test the dynamic line of sight and dynamic lighting. So, you see the new feature of the Unity client, not something from Classic.

    So, Classic has significantly less features than Unity. Also, Smite Works stated that Classic will no longer be updated and only critical fixes will be implemented until it is end of life and permanently dropped as supported product.
    The past is a rudder to guide us, not an anchor to hold us back.

  6. #6
    damned's Avatar
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    I dont know that Classic wont be updated - it certainly wont keep feature parity.
    But many ruleset features will still appear in Classic.

    Classic does not work on 64bit only OS like new Macs.
    Unity will not work on 32bit computers and may not work on W7 or W8.

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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by damned View Post
    Unity will not work on 32bit computers and may not work on W7 or W8.
    Hi damned, I can confirm that Unity does currently work on Win8.1, can’t guarantee the future though.

  8. #8
    damned's Avatar
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    It does work on your W8 but neither Microsoft nor Unity officially support W8 anymore.
    There have been 2 (that I can recall) people using older Windows that have not been able to get FGU to install as some other Microsoft dependancy didnt work.
    The likelihood is that most can use it - but if it doesnt work no one is going to spend too much time on trying to get it to work...

    You should consider doing the W10 upgrade - it works pretty well most of the time

    MoreCore - Generic Ruleset
    --- Projects ---
    Extensions | Tutorials | MoreCore | MoreCore Themes | Call of Cthulhu | Maelstrom | FG Con

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Poe the Homunculus View Post
    Ok, so I've been reading a lot on the forums. Been looking at different sites too.
    Now, I will admit I am the least bit tech-savvy in programming and such. Only really know how to use software, not debug to anything, nor really play video games that much.

    I've read that "Unity" is some sort of game programing language as well, but don't understand what is good about it. Why the upgrade when there are fewer features?

    But, with features that have been removed from Classic to Unity; night/day icons and lighting effects of darkvision, torches, so on; why did FG move to a new version?
    Unity does more than Classic. Classic doesn't have lighting. It has a mood lighting feature to alter the colour of the desktop for night, day, campfire... but that was it.

    Unity is a game engine framework.

    There are more feature in Unity and more coming, not fewer so I don't understand why understand what you mean by that. Are talking about an extension that works differently in Unity?

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jiminimonka View Post
    Unity does more than Classic. Classic doesn't have lighting. It has a mood lighting feature to alter the colour of the desktop for night, day, campfire... but that was it.

    Unity is a game engine framework.

    There are more feature in Unity and more coming, not fewer so I don't understand why understand what you mean by that. Are talking about an extension that works differently in Unity?
    I'm confused because I thought all the test features with lighting were just what Classic had. I think what @Valyar and @LordEntrails are helping to clear up what I was confused about.
    I still don't understand about Unity being an engine or language or what, I'm not a full computer program writer, but you all are saying it is easier to write extensions, I believe it.
    The beginning of any story is a happy accident; the end, a tragic fate.

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