Posts Tagged ‘Editor’
Many Unity developers are using Tasharen Entertainment’s NGUI as a UI solution, and quite sensibly in my opinion; it’s much better than the built-in GUI framework in many ways and I don’t think there’s anything better on the asset store either. I recently got it working with the dual-camera rendering of the Rift; here’s the method I used.
NGUI uses its own camera to render everything on the UI layer(s) you specify. That’s a pretty convenient approach for Rift development as it turns out, thanks to a built-in Unity feature. We’ll be rendering to a texture and then displaying that rather than allowing the UI to render directly to the screen. If you’ve snooped around the Tuscany demo scene a bit, you might recognize this as the same approach the supplied
Create a render texture in your project; you’ll probably want it to be 1024×1024 or 2048×2048 for UI use. Point the NGUI camera’s “Target texture” field at your render texture. You’ll need to create a new material that uses the render texture as a source, so do that – set the shader as “Unlit/Texture” right now. We’ll be coming back to shaders in a moment.
Next, create a plane (if you’re reading this IN THE FUTURE, Unity are supposed to be implementing a two-triangle optimized plane object; if that’s available, use it instead of the standard 400-poly beast we have now). Parent it to the
CameraRight camera object inside the
OVRCameraController. Note that this will give you a UI which is locked to the player’s view, no matter where they are looking; if you want a non view-locked UI that the user can look around, you might want to attach the plane object to the player object instead of directly to the camera. Position the plane in front of your player object, and orient it so that the top surface is facing the player. The position you choose is relevant, by the way; the Z distance from the player will affect the size of the UI onscreen.
Now set the material on the plane to be the render texture material you created before. If you have widgets set up in your UI, you should see them render in the scene view at this point, though the background of the UI will be a solid colour. Let’s fix that!
We need to make a new shader to have things render correctly when using a render texture. We want the NGUI widgets to be rendered with an alpha channel. If you’re not used to shader programming, don’t worry! This is a pretty simple thing to pull off.
NGUI holds its shaders in the folder “Assets/NGUI/Resources/Shaders”. Open this path in Windows Explorer (or Finder or whatever other strange OS you might be using!). Find the “Unlit – Transparent Colored” shader and copy it. We’ll keep the original shader so we can reuse it, of course. Rename the copy to “Unlit – Transparent Colored RTT” (RTT being “Render To Texture” if it’s not obvious). Now open the new shader in your favourite text editor (I like Sublime Text!). First, change the name at the top to “Unlit/Transparent Coloured RTT”. Next, find the line with the text “ColorMask RGB”, and delete it. That’s all there is to it! “ColorMask RGB” tells the renderer to write only RGB values and ignore the alpha channel, and by deleting it the shader will default to writing all the info we need.
Save the shader, and find your NGUI atlas in your project view inside Unity. Specifically, you want the material that it’s using, which is always stored alongside the atlas object and texture with the same name. Edit it, and change the shader to the one we just created. Now, head back to your rendering plane under the CameraRight object, and change the shader on the render texture material you created to be “Unlit/Transparent Colored”. There you go – your widgets should be rendering just how you expect them.
If you don’t see your UI, it’s time to troubleshoot!
- Is the NGUI camera pointing to a valid render texture?
- Is the render plane oriented correctly? Neither the plane nor the material is double-sided so it will be invisible from the wrong viewing angle.
- Is the render plane using the correct material?
- Is the material using the correct shader?
- Is everything on your UI in the correct layer, and the camera culling mask is set up to include that layer?
As you can see there are a few potential points of failure so make sure to double-check everything as you go along.
Dealing With Clipping
One extra feature you might want is the ability for the UI plane to render over the environment, even if it would ordinarily be obscured by it. If you can stand to set up another shader we can fix that too!
In the NGUI shader folder, again copy “Unlit – Transparent Colored.shader” and rename the copy to “Unlit – Transparent Colored NoClip”. Edit the shader, change the name at the top to add the NoClip extension, and now look for the “Queue” line in the “Tags” group.. Change “Transparent” to “Overlay” – this tells the Unity render queue to render this object in the final group, after everything else in the world. Then find the “ZWrite Off” line, and right underneath that add “ZTest Always”. This means to always draw this material regardless of what else happens to be at that point onscreen.
Now change your render texture material (used on the plane object) to use this shader, and your UI will render on top of everything in the world. I suppose you might run into issues if you’re using fullscreen effects as they use the Overlay render queue too; I haven’t tried that out yet. Otherwise, you should have a nice-looking NGUI UI in your Rift!
I was wondering recently why the Unity console window is so… spare. It lacks a lot of features you’d find in most modern logging implementations. Having some time on my hands at the moment, I thought I’d look into making a replacement. It’s maybe not the sexiest project, and I’m sure there are others out there (I haven’t looked) but it seemed like a good opportunity to dig into a deeper bit of editor scripting than I’ve done in the past.
My new console window has user-configurable channels, string filtering, Unity Debug.Log capturing and reporting, saving to a file and so on. As usual, pulling this off required a significant amount of time digging around with Google in forums, answers, random blogs etc. It might benefit someone to collect all of that in one place. So I won’t talk about feature design unless it overlaps with an interesting piece of Unity lore!
The ConsoleX class (the X standing for Xtension or possibly Xtreme depending on your current caffeine levels) is derived from
EditorWindow, and the script is placed in the Editor folder. Interesting note – it doesn’t have to be “Assets/Editor”, but any subfolder of Assets called Editor works too – Assets/MySubFolder/Editor, for instance.
The window is opened by the user from a menu option, so I have an Init function tied to a MenuItem attribute:
static void Init()
Next, the window needs to initialize a few things. The best place to do that turns out to be the
OnEnable function, which is called after
Init whenever the window is reinitialized. This happens more often than you’d expect – the most common case is when play mode is ended.
if (channels == null)
channels = new List();
if (logs == null)
logs = new List();
Notice that I’m checking for null objects in that snippet – I’ll explain why in the next section.
When working with editor scripting, proper serialization of your objects is critical. The lack of it is the reason why, after going into and out of play mode, your shiny, incredibly useful new EditorWindow all of a sudden clears its data and starts spewing errors everywhere.
The first part of fixing this problem is of course understanding what is actually happening. It took me longer than it should have to find this essential blog post on the subject by Tim Cooper, but luckily it’s very thorough and I had my objects serializing within minutes. One thing to bear in mind that isn’t called out in that post is that static variables aren’t serialized. Public variables are serialized automatically, protected/private fields need the
[SerializeField] attribute, but static vars aren’t serialized at all. That’s because serialization works on instantiated objects; static fields are not instanced. Something to keep in mind for your editor class data design.
Serialization is the reason we check for nulls in the
OnEnable function – data is reserialized back into the class before
OnEnable is called, so those fields may in fact be initialized with valid data at that point.
Laying out your EditorWindow GUI is mostly straightforward, but as soon as you want to do something a bit off the beaten path it can be tricky to get the controls looking exactly like you want them to.
You’ll probably need to use most or all of the following classes:
GUIStyle– Styles can be supplied per control, and determine exactly how the control will look.
GUI– Methods to add controls manually; that is, without any automatic placement.
GUILayout– Methods to add controls which are automatically positioned, and specify how they’re sized.
EditorGUI– Editor-focused version of the GUI class.
EditorGUILayout– Editor-focused version of the GUILayout class. This is the GUI control class I used the most.
EditorGUIUtility– Less frequently-used but still vital layout controls.
EditorUtility– Utility class used for a lot of miscellaneous functionality.
These classes all interrelate somewhat and you need to use most of them together. You usually won’t mix layout with non-layout classes though; in other words you’ll probably use
EditorGUI together, or
A good case study here would be my log lines themselves. I wanted to add icons before the text in some cases:
It turns out there are several ways to do that!
The first thing I tried was using an
EditorGUILayout.LabelField, a function which has many different versions and has two different ways to achieve my goal: you can use a
GUIContent object and populate it with both an image and text, or you can pass two labels into the function at one time, either
GUIContent or plain strings.
Using a single composite
GUIContent object gave me a problem with long strings; the image part of the
GUIContent would no longer be drawn when the text was longer than the width of the label. The second method of passing in two labels had several problems. First, you can only have one
GUIStyle for both items. A pain, but in this case not a deal-breaker. Next, the gap between the first and second labels looks like this by default:
It took a LOT of searching before I found the solution to that:
EditorGUIUtility has a function called
LookLikeControls which allows the prefix label width to be set:
The final problem was annoying: I’m using a ScrollArea through
EditorGUILayout to hold the log messages, and for some reason using
EditorGUILayout.LabelField didn’t give me a horizontal scrollbar for long strings. This can be fixed using
CalcSize on the style to find the desired width of the label, and a
GUILayout option to properly size it (
GUILayout options can be passed into all control functions):
Vector2 textSize = labelStyle.CalcSize(textContent);
EditorGUILayout.LabelField(iconContent, textContent, labelStyle,
GUILayout.MinWidth(kIconColumnWidth + textSize.x));
So after figuring all of that out, I decided I wanted a separate
GUIStyle for the icons after all, and threw most of it away! This is what I ended up with:
Rect labelRect = EditorGUILayout.BeginHorizontal();
EditorGUILayout.PrefixLabel(logs[i].logIcon, logStyle, iconStyle);
GUILayout.Label automatically sizes the label correctly so there’s no need to manually calculate and specify the control width. And using the separate
PrefixLabel call allows me to specify a unique style for the icons. Done!
Transferring data between the game and the editor
Getting data from the editor to the game is trivial – editor classes can access game classes directly. Going the other way is a little more tricky as the inverse is not true.
My first solution was to log my data into a static buffer provided by a game-side class, and use
OnInspectorUpdate polling to check the buffer and pull anything new over into the ConsoleX log. This worked fine, but
OnInspectorUpdate is called ten times a second and is therefore introducing unnecessary overhead.
My friend Jodon (who runs his own company Coding Jar, check him out if you need any contracting work done!) suggested using C#’s events instead of polling. This works just as well and is much more efficient. I still need a game-side class, but now I define a delegate and an event in it. The main
EditorWindow ConsoleX class uses another event (
EditorApplication.playmodeStateChanged) to detect when the user enters play mode, then adds its own handler function to the game-side’s event.
The game-side class, ConsoleXLog:
public class ConsoleXLog : MonoBehaviour
public delegate void ConsoleXEventHandler(ConsoleXLogEntry newLog);
public static event ConsoleXEventHandler ConsoleXLogAdded;
…and in the editor class ConsoleX:
ConsoleXLog.ConsoleXLogAdded += LogAddedListener;
It seems to take a few frames before the event is setup. If logs come in during that time, helpfully the
ConsoleXLogAdded event reports as being null, and I can check that and store the logs locally on the game side until the editor class has added its handler.
I’ve still got some things to talk about – editor resources, EditorPrefs, and more – but I’ll leave that for another post. Hope this helps someone, someday!