Monday, December 9, 2013

Version 7: Upgraded!!!

Version 7.0 is, at long last, online!!!!

And the downloadble version is ready too.  Get it HERE.

I am painfully aware that it has taken almost 15 months for this update to finally arrive.  And I'm prepared for some of you to see it and say, "THIS took over a year?"  The reality is that only 1 scene has been updated and that is the outdoors scene.  The short story about why this took so long is:

1.  My professional and personal life got about 150% busier in this past year.  This project was much easier to make progress on when I had little or no life and a job with tons of downtime / boredom.  That is no longer the case (which is good for me).

2.  This update represents a change from Unity Free version 3.x to Unity Pro 4.x.  I was not prepared for what a massive change in how everything works this would be.  Nearly every band-aid or sloppy "new guy" modeling mistake I made in the previous 2 years of work was suddenly exposed in all sorts of horrible ways.  Almost nothing worked right anymore and everything got WAY uglier.  And for every fix I made, at least 2 other things broke.  I had to rebuild a whole lot of things from scratch just to get them back to where they started.

3.  In the past year, this kind of simulation and technology has actually become a part of my real job.  Most of my "R&D" time has been spent doing this on real projects that I can probably show you in about 2 to 5 years.  :-)

The longer story of what has been happening can be found HERE.

So what's new?

- A lot of clean-up, bug fixes, performance upgrades, and do-overs.  Many of these are invisible.

- Lighting!  The lighting and shadows are so much better now.  And there is actual lighting in the lobbies now instead of sunlight just pouring in through the walls.

- Special FX!  New reflective water is probably the most obvious.  I'm continuing to tweak this and the fountain fx so I expect these will get really nice looking as time goes on.

- Occlusion culling.  Look it up if you care, but this should improve performance greatly.

- New textures in many places.  Thanks to the wonders of bump maps, the concrete surfaces look more like concrete now.

- It's been over a year, I can't remember what else.

There are a couple of new bugs in there, so watch out.  The walking part of the ride scene may be turned sideways sometimes and if you try to enter the Image Works before the scene loads, you'll fall into oblivion.  Sorry.  Will fix these shortly.  

Hope it is and continues to be worth the wait.  Thanks for your patience and support!  :-)