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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mol3rs View Post
    It's a third party product, totally optional I think It's a great way for the less programmatically minded to get into game development, and with unity being free there are a lot more people using it who don't come from a programming background. I don't think this totally replaces the need for code, but it's a great starting point for anyone who wants to learn the basic principles of coding. I see it as a more versatile version of Unreals Kismet. All I'd use it for is scripting level events, but it has the power to do much more I think it could be a great tool for speeding up your workflow.
    I figured as much that it would be optional. And I agree with you that it will be very useful for non-programmers (and maybe programmers too). I just wanted to rant about yet another visual programming tool. I really dislike them. Was forced to use a few back in the day and while they can be useful in a lot of ways I tended to have to do things which they didn't support so my hands were always tied. Have complete freedom with code, though.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by smjones View Post
    I figured as much that it would be optional. And I agree with you that it will be very useful for non-programmers (and maybe programmers too). I just wanted to rant about yet another visual programming tool. I really dislike them. Was forced to use a few back in the day and while they can be useful in a lot of ways I tended to have to do things which they didn't support so my hands were always tied. Have complete freedom with code, though.
    That could be an argument against even using Unity at all.

    This doesn't stop you coding at all, even using it doesn't replace the ability to script etc. But it's great for very rapid prototyping etc. Personally I find coding a chore, my brain visualises stuff very much like flow charts etc, I'd rather not get bogged down with syntax, typos etc.
    Last edited by darkmobius; 04-18-2011 at 07:11 PM.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkmobius View Post
    That could be an argument against even using Unity at all.

    This doesn't stop you coding at all, even using it doesn't replace the ability to script etc. But it's great for very rapid prototyping etc. Personally I find coding a chore, my brain visualises stuff very much like flow charts etc, I'd rather not get bogged down with syntax, typos etc.
    No, actually having coded a few engines myself I have enough appreciation for the huge amount of work and therefore huge amount of time it takes to do it right. That's why I am playing with Unity. I decided that I wanted to make games instead of forever coding the engines. Seems they are never done and being a perfectionist the word "never" is even multiplied 100x over.

    My biggest hang up in the past was not having or not creating a very good level editor. This chore is now done by Unity. I'm a happy camper now! And since you need to code in Unity in order create even a simple game, I am again happy that I have control. Yes, coders are control freaks, at least I am.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by smjones View Post
    No, actually having coded a few engines myself I have enough appreciation for the huge amount of work and therefore huge amount of time it takes to do it right. That's why I am playing with Unity. I decided that I wanted to make games instead of forever coding the engines. Seems they are never done and being a perfectionist the word "never" is even multiplied 100x over.

    My biggest hang up in the past was not having or not creating a very good level editor. This chore is now done by Unity. I'm a happy camper now! And since you need to code in Unity in order create even a simple game, I am again happy that I have control. Yes, coders are control freaks, at least I am.
    Absolutely, I think here it really is getting the best of both worlds. I've previously worked with Quest3D and produced an actual product for a client within a couple of weeks without having any previous 3D Realtime experience. And I loved the fact it was all visual programming but so long as there were "channels" that would do what you want. Of course you could create your own and there was some scripting flexibility but it was such a huge difference and gigantic leap between the visual programming and then using SDK for your own channels or using the native Lua scripting (which didn't seem great and I never actually used it) that I know if it had come to it, with anything more complex it would have slowed my productivity right down. With Unity I can use both the speed of visual programming using theses 3rd party tools and the flexibility of JS/C# if I need to. I certainly want to improve my C# knowledge and skills as they're extremely basic at the moment but being very lazy I also want the motivation of being able to represent my ideas and logic quickly.

  5. #15
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    I'm a serious programmer, but I still like the idea of visual scripting. I'm not interested in job protection for programmers as I believe there will always be enough work to go round - we've only scratched the surface of what can be achieved with technology - and I'm happy to help more non-programmers either learn to program or help them perform programming-like tasks using less complex tools.

    The trouble is with this system, like Kismet, is that it's fine for scripting the simple Doom-like interactions with switches, lifts, zones, etc., but doesn't help much with more complex stuff like enemy AI. With these node and wire based systems, by the time you've made something suficiently complex to be useful, you've got wires and nodes everywhere and it's such a mess, it's harder to see what's going on than a it would be to to read normal script. What I want to see is visual support for Statecharts (they're like Finite State Machines, but support heirarchies and parallelism) and Decision Trees in an engine. They embody the complexity you need for game AI (and user-interface AI in the case of Statecharts), but without the visual clutter.

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rhm View Post
    The trouble is with this system, like Kismet, is that it's fine for scripting the simple Doom-like interactions with switches, lifts, zones, etc., but doesn't help much with more complex stuff like enemy AI. With these node and wire based systems, by the time you've made something suficiently complex to be useful, you've got wires and nodes everywhere and it's such a mess, it's harder to see what's going on than a it would be to to read normal script. What I want to see is visual support for Statecharts (they're like Finite State Machines, but support heirarchies and parallelism) and Decision Trees in an engine. They embody the complexity you need for game AI (and user-interface AI in the case of Statecharts), but without the visual clutter.
    I agree that it depends on what you're doing. With Quest3D there was a specialised FSM channel which was another interface unto itself. I believe PlayMaker reaches far more into the FSM area although I've yet to properly try it. But hopefully there's nothing to stop using combinations of the tools. Not to mention this is very early (and exciting) days for Unity and these tools. Remember that uScript isn't even in open beta yet! I think Statecharts by their nature would lend themselves well to visual programming. Actual coding is a nightmare in my experience in trying to keep track of states and I'm normally drawing up the charts anyway.

  7. #17
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    you've got wires and nodes everywhere and it's such a mess, it's harder to see what's going on than a it would be to to read normal script.
    Precisely why I had problems with other visual programmers. I used some pretty old ones so granted things have changed, hopefully for the better, I'm sure. Unfortunately the "hooks" to provide your own code to surpass the limitations of the system were either non-existent or very limiting themselves.

    I agree with you darkmobius, on finite state machines or state charts being good candidates for visual programming, at least for the basic states and sub states nodes and perhaps transitions. When I was a manufacturing software engineer for a large, popular printer company (erm, you probably know the one!) we did FSM all day basically. Finally someone in our group got smart and wrote a simple visual editor that allowed you to set up the major states and connect them with transition branches. It then crunched out the source code to be compiled into the final EXE. It was nice but it definitely did not replace the coding which is the part I liked.

    In the end you use what you are comfortable with or have the greatest knowledge about. I can totally understand why many non-coder types would like visual programmers. Its the same reason I would like to have "helpers" help me with my feeble attempts at 3D modeling.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by smjones View Post
    Precisely why I had problems with other visual programmers. I used some pretty old ones so granted things have changed, hopefully for the better, I'm sure. Unfortunately the "hooks" to provide your own code to surpass the limitations of the system were either non-existent or very limiting themselves.

    I agree with you darkmobius, on finite state machines or state charts being good candidates for visual programming, at least for the basic states and sub states nodes and perhaps transitions. When I was a manufacturing software engineer for a large, popular printer company (erm, you probably know the one!) we did FSM all day basically. Finally someone in our group got smart and wrote a simple visual editor that allowed you to set up the major states and connect them with transition branches. It then crunched out the source code to be compiled into the final EXE. It was nice but it definitely did not replace the coding which is the part I liked.

    In the end you use what you are comfortable with or have the greatest knowledge about. I can totally understand why many non-coder types would like visual programmers. Its the same reason I would like to have "helpers" help me with my feeble attempts at 3D modeling.
    I come from an electronic (and general) engineering background so maybe that's why I prefer a diagrammatic approach. Of course I did some software engineering and down to assembly language etc, but sometimes the coding gets in the way for me. But then I'm changing hats so often maybe I don't have a chance to reach the limitations of one specific thing.

    Of course it means I need helpers with both the coding and 3D modelling.

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