On the Unity Front23 May 2016
So, I've been playing with Unity again. I've played with it before — I did some performance testing on an iPad2 once upon a time to see how TSC2 might go if I switched engines, but other than that and a couple random tutorials to get the lay of the land, that was about it. For the record, the conclusion I came to was that the Unity3D API drew lines much faster than Cocoa, but mainly because it doesn't draw them nearly as nicely (i.e., Cocoa has very nice antialiasing and such). By the time you add back in the effects to make look as nice, well, I'm guessing it'll probably be closer to a wash, but we'll probably see soon enough.
To be honest, so far I haven't gotten a whole lot farther into Unity this time than I did then (more on that below), but my opinion of it hasn't changed much. It's... Not exactly great? But if you really want to go cross-platform (in particular, for any definition of "cross-platform" that includes mobile) there just aren't really any better options. The problem for me is that it adds so much cruft with so little benefit; it's heavy and awkward for simple things, it's way too oriented towards people who are scared of code or something, and the 3D stuff is almost a complete and utter waste of time for me (I mean, all I need is a GUI and basic line drawing — okay, maybe some fills, but still all basic 2D operations for vector icons and maps and labels and such for every game I've done so far, and probably for at least the next three as well). I'd much prefer something like a naked API and some sort of cross-platform bundler to the... IDE thing? (What do you call that thing? It's not an IDE.) But there it is. At least the GUI stuff does seem markedly improved in this version from when I was playing with it before (I guess that was Unity 4 onGui stuff or something? I don't really remember, but it was a weird model to say the least). The bottom line is, it's not exactly an ideal tool for what I need, but it's not completely intolerable or anything, and I'm stuck with it under the circumstances.
So mostly I shrug. It's sort of like the F-35 of development frameworks (keep it out of actual dogfights and it'll be fine?), only with a much more reasonable budget.
Anyway, I'm not as far along by this point as I'd hoped I'd be. Partly because I'd been having trouble getting any momentum going, but I wasn't really that worried about that, since I did also need some time to unwind, and I felt reasonably comfortable giving myself a month or so there. But when I was finally done with all that and ready to go, several frustrating things dropped in my lap and derailed everything.
Some stuff I'm not going to go into depth about — gah, mad scrambling to deal with a particularly broken health insurance situation, 'nuff said — and some other dumb stuff, too. Like... It's a good thing I bought my old laptop from the old job, because four-year-old personal laptop decided to just start randomly crapping out on me (random still-not-frequent but worrisome crashes), which resulted in a few days migrating all my data off of it (i.e., transferring a few hundred GB of data and credentials and such for personal email and music collections and all the other things I'd used it for. And I'm nowhere near done dealing with that, because I just dumped everything on my new laptop for now to deal with later, but... the important stuff is moved and/or transferred and set up and I can deal with the rest when I'm ready). So, here I am, somewhat ironically buying back (for myself) the laptop I just bought for Lensflare (from the old company I worked for). So, RIP Loki, hello Heimdall, so much for keeping things focused and specialized, please handle all the things, let's try to keep it all a bit more organized than last time when everything was on Loki, kthxbye.
The other big thing is that I'm slowly shifting my schedule to CEST (Central European Summer Time... Everybody knows that, right? Right?) for a trip to Europe soon. I'm not super happy about going to Europe this year (who complains about going to Europe? That's right, this guy!), but it's a family obligation (sister-in-law is marrying a Dutchman, who flies about as much as you'd expect for a Dutchman who is currently living in Hong Kong to fly), so off I go. But jet lag is a real BFD for me (about an hour a day shift is the most I can manage even when circumstances are ideal — and going east is just the worst), so I've started shifting my schedule early because it's better to be less than 100% functional now when I'm at home and can deal with it, rather than when I'm trying to navigate the trains in a country where I've been all of once before (and just passing through at that, hello Belgium!) and working my way to my final destination. Or at least that was the theory, the last few days I've been pretty exhausted as I transition into what's effectively jet lag in situ, and the last couple of days in particular my sleep's been quite badly disrupted. And sleep is a thing, so... Well.
Still, it's probably the right decision to do it this way (and a bit too late to change my mind anyway), so hopefully I'm through the worst. I guess we'll see. On the bright side, I'll be in Köln and Maastricht and such soon, which doesn't really suck (all things being equal — which, of course, they aren't... Man, air travel sure is shit, isn't it? Especially long-haul air travel).
But... Could be a lot worse. And I'm starting to make some progress with Unity now, so there's that.
 As an aside, I soooo love getting advice from people who don't get meaningful jet lag on how to deal with it. Oh, yeah? You don't really get jet lag, that's really great for you. Yeah, I'll just stay up until I'm over it — staying awake continuously for, oh, two weeks? Yes, that's very practical, thank you! Now shut up and go away and maybe go make yourself useful by giving somebody some advice on how to just get over cancer or something.
These are Doug's bloggish thoughts on game development, specifically on the games he's writing for Lensflare, or on Lensflare-related topics more generally. Or whatever he wants to write here, really, but those are the sorts of things to expect. Doug has strong opinions (loosely held) about many things — he could claim that he doesn't speak for Lensflare Games, but that'd be silly considering that (for all practical purposes) he is Lensflare Games. Still (for what little it matters) he's not always wearing that hat here. And yes, this is an actual picture of Doug (okay, not really, but the story behind it is too long to go into right now).
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