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BlueApple
03-29-2008, 06:59 AM
Director just released version 11 to limited fanfare. I have been using version MX2004 for a bit now, and never really liked it. Coming from a Flash background I found the transition a bit rough, despite the (limited) JavaScript support in Director.

Now we're thinking of upgrading to Director 11 but I am wondering if something like Unity may be a better solution. What we need is an application that a novice coder (me) can use to prototype real-time 3D games.

If anyone with experience using both Director and Unity (or something else) could share their thoughts I'd appreciate it.

-Adam

walfridson
03-29-2008, 07:22 AM
petterms on this forum uses Unity.

You run bootcamp?

http://www.dxstudio.com/ looked at this? It has .lwo support. Cheap too
http://www.xna.com/ is free. Not as easy as director but free.

Chilton
03-29-2008, 07:59 AM
Unity is freakin' amazing. Their web client plug-in is exceptional, as is their Dashboard widget. And their Mac front-end to the environment is very... Mac-like.

Another popular platform for game creation is the Torque game engine, from Garage Games.

Both can generate high quality games, and are used for commercial game development.

I'd go with either of those over Director for game prototyping, because either could be easily used for the final game. I've seen a *few* 3D games done in Director, but I've seen some really quality stuff done in Torque and Unity.

-Chilton

Scazzino
03-29-2008, 08:03 AM
I'm a loooong time Director developer (I even used to beta test Director) and I am thrilled that Adobe is continuing Director with the first new release in a long time. I really thought they would kill Director so I had moved my studio from focusing on Director development to focus on 3D animation instead. Now I'll need to focus on both... ;-)

I never really warmed to Flash, coming from Director... I've never tried Unity...

Here's an old 3D interactive character project I did 10 years ago that used Director and LightWave (as well as Electric Image and Form-Z). Quipples: The Internet Game Show of Satirical Riddles.
http://dreamlight.com/cdrom/quipples.html

And here are some of my old Director Developer resources and utilities, that I'll now need to find the time to update for the brand new D11...

DreamLight Director Talisman:
http://dreamlight.com/insights/07

DreamLight Director Developer Utilities: RAMLight, NetLab, SoundStrip, Catagent/DreamObjects OOP framework: (Scroll down to software utils)
http://dreamlight.com/webshop/welcome.html

Sorry for drifting off topic, but I'm really thrilled that Director has a new lease on life!

:dance:

Scazzino
03-29-2008, 08:17 AM
Back on topic...

Though I'm a long time Director user, from when it was called VideoWorks... I'd say that if your main focus is 3D realtime games, then a dedicated 3D realtime game engine would probably be your best bet.

I use Director for general interactive multimedia authoring, which sometimes includes 3D, but my main focus hasn't really been 3D realtime games... (at least not so far... ;-)

BlueApple
03-29-2008, 08:24 AM
walfridson and chilton-

Thanks for the quick responses. I don't run bootcamp on my Mac. This is something I need for my "real" job where we use PCs. If we went with Unity (Mac only I think) I'd probably bring in a Mac laptop.

I'll check out DXStudio, Torque and XNA. Unity and Revolution Studio were the only Director alternatives I had previously heard of. Revolution is a bit of a turn off given the language used stirs Lingo nightmares in my head.

particledecay
03-29-2008, 08:37 AM
I've been using Unity for a few months now and I would recommend you take a look at it. I also come from a Flash background but I do have some limited experience with Director MX and Torque.

I think the two products have two very different learning curves. I think Unity's ease-of-use and facilitation of the design process is hard to match. As a designer and a Mac user I found Unity inviting and fun to use. I am also very impressed with how efficiently my Unity demos run on both PC and Mac even with my un-optimized "prototype" code, and how amazingly small the web player files can be. I'm afraid I can't say the same for Director / Shockwave realtime 3D, although perhaps I didn't give it as much of a chance as I didn't like the results I got from it and it didn't suit my requirements.

Unity has a superb art workflow via FBX and Photoshop - no recompiling or reloading assets which really frees you up to experiment. I think this sums up the essence of Unity. If you look under the bonnet it has a serious Javascript and C# structure but you can make so many great looking things with creative play. A joy to use.

I found the lack of "undo" with Unity a shock at first, as there are many operations that cannot be undone and many more where changes are made instantly to your project files. Good iterative saving habits and regular manual project backups are essential - you don't get many tools to help you in that regard.

I've been testing Lightwave 9.5 integration with Unity recently and have no issues to report, it seems a few gripes I've had with the LW>FBX>Unity pipeline in the past have been addressed with this latest version. Character animation rigs with bones all work well although you do have to get in the habit of saving baked versions of IK scenes. Meshes and UV maps work fine. I'll be testing light mapping techniques next week, early experiments indicate that LW surface baker camera is doing the job very well indeed.

BlueApple
03-29-2008, 08:40 AM
Scazzino-

That "insights" link is great- some very nice reading there.

I was excited for the new release of Director too, it just lacked some of the polish that I expected. Haven't written it off yet; perhaps there will be some point upgrades that add some of the elements I wanted to see.

particledecay
03-29-2008, 08:59 AM
Re: Torque vs Unity. I found Torque to be a very different user experience to the design-centric Unity. My impression of Torque is that it's not as flexible as Unity out of the box, and it can be very difficult to prototype a creative vision. If you want to make anything that's a significant departure from one of the Torque demo projects, you'll need to brave modifying and recompiling the C engine itself. Not for the faint hearted. As a footnote it may be worth mentioning that last time I checked the advanced Torque engine (modernized graphic features) is DirectX only, not cross platform.

Chilton
03-29-2008, 09:19 AM
I have *extreme* biases against some of the things mentioned here, so I'm staying the heck out of it.

But I'd go with Unity or Torque before I even consider the others. Both can build Mac and PC versions, and both have very active dev teams. The 1.5 release of Torque includes a massive rewrite on the Mac side, and Unity is Mac-centric to start with. I love them both. I personally have a game about half finished in Torque, but if I had to choose one over the other now, it would be a real toss-up.

-Chilton

Scazzino
03-29-2008, 09:20 AM
Scazzino-

That "insights" link is great- some very nice reading there.

I was excited for the new release of Director too, it just lacked some of the polish that I expected. Haven't written it off yet; perhaps there will be some point upgrades that add some of the elements I wanted to see.

Thanks BlueApple :thumbsup:

Now I'll have to find the time to dust-off and update a lot of my old Director content which hasn't been updated in years...

If your primary focus will be 3D realtime games, then one of those 3D realtime game engines is probably your best bet. If you primary focus is more general purpose interactive multimedia, with some limited realtime 3D, then Director's hard to beat.

Scazzino
03-31-2008, 02:16 PM
Looks like Unity is coming to the iPhone too...
http://unity3d.com/company/news/iphone-press

BlueApple
04-07-2008, 09:23 AM
Particledecay, thanks for your thoughts. I am more of a designer than a programmer, so your insights into Unity are very helpful to me.

Chilton, I would love to hear some of your *extreme* biases. Are you reading things that are inaccurate here, or do you just have some personal preferences that differ from others in this thread? Either way, it would be valuable to me if you shared.

There will be a big difference between me suggesting my boss spend a few hundred to upgrade Director versus purchasing a new Mac system and a full copy of Unity.

Chilton
04-08-2008, 02:28 PM
Chilton, I would love to hear some of your *extreme* biases. Are you reading things that are inaccurate here, or do you just have some personal preferences that differ from others in this thread? Either way, it would be valuable to me if you shared.


Valuable? Probably not. I was 'there' at several crossroads in these products' lives, and know a lot of the people behind the scenes when these events happened. And today, I still know a few people behind the scenes at some of the companies. All of the mentioned products are good, I'm just not a fan of the people behind them. And that's about all I'm going to say there :devil:

-Chilton

BlueApple
04-08-2008, 02:34 PM
Fair enough, Chilton :)

I have downloaded and started playing with Unity, and just from a glance it feels more polished than both Director 11 and MX2004. It'd be nice if that level of shine extends under the hood as well. I'm hoping it will quickly win me over so I can quit spinning my wheels in Director.

Chilton
04-08-2008, 04:11 PM
Bah!


All of the mentioned products are good, I'm just not a fan of the people behind them.

I meant, all of the mentioned products are good, I'm just not a fan of ***SOME*** of the people behind them.

The Torque and Unity guys have my full and utter respect. :rock:

-Chilton

Steamthrower
04-08-2008, 04:19 PM
I've gotten excellent responses and a lot of good information from David Helgason, the chief guy at Unity. I was really impressed with their service, versus Torque, which I really didn't like.

It's ultimately down to the size of the company that decides a purchase for me, unless the company already has a software standard that I have to use. With Lightwave, I get support from a small, personal team. With Unity, I get support from a small, personal team. Try getting support for a Microsoft, Adobe, or Autodesk product.

calilifestyle
04-08-2008, 04:25 PM
So can you import lwo files into unity


nvm yes it can

i was wrong it says fbx not lwo

trentonia
04-09-2008, 12:14 PM
I have also been using Director since the beginning. It's a powerful tool. There are a lot of things you can do with Director that you can't do with other programs. http://www.adobe.com/products/director/ Check out some of the case studies and other things people have been doing in the past.