Upgrading MUD to Unity 5
Those of us who were around back in the day all remember M.U.Ds. Multiplayer realtime fantasy worlds that, at any rate initially, had to be text-based.
MUD is a modern take on the M.U.D. genre. A sandbox game with procedurally generated environments, some sophisticated AI and some mud. Yes, actual mud, because, in MUD, survival involves digging around in the the craft ‘n’ build fashion that we’re all familiar with from another game.
MUD has been under development by a team of eleven or so from Pure Bang Games since the turn of the year, and there’s already a playable. The goal is to launch an early access game around the beginning of next year.
It took the Pure Bang team a couple of days to upgrade MUD from Unity 4 to Unity 5. Here’s how they got on.
First things first. Shaders. The team had to do about a day’s worth of shader debugging, something that General Programmer Jonathan laughingly described as “an enduring process.” He didn’t find it difficult, however.
Script updating was painless. Jonathan says: “If you’ve designed your code in the correct way and you’re not relying on specific features other than where you need them to fetch the correct references at initialization, it’s a breeze.”
He further describes the integration with PhysX 3.3 as “seamless,” and notes that it’s given the game a significant performance boost.
All in all it took about two days to get MUD to the point where it would compile and run in Unity 5. Then, the more enjoyable task of making things look better began – changing the ambient light, the sunlight and so on.
Technical Artist Drew has a lot of praise for the new skybox feature:
“It’s something that I’ve been particularly happy with. I spent a couple of days just playing with all the different things you can do with new procedural skyboxes – adding little bits and pieces on top of them and making the light slowly change during sunrise and sunset.”
“We have a day-night cycle in our game and you can get these really nice colors across the horizon if you do it right. I’m just super happy with how everything’s looking.”
Generally, the team was very pleased with what they were able to achieve in a short space of time. By using the Unity 5 Upgrade Guide they could quickly identify all the areas of their game that needed attention.
To their relief, the major plugins MUD relies on were already Unity 5 compatible at launch, so all that was needed was a simple update and replace.
The team use NGUI (which they’ve gotten so used to that they’ve continued to use it), Sunshine! (for volumetric lighting and dynamic shadows) and Sky Master Ultimate amongst other packages. They’ve also bought a number of models from the Asset Store for prototyping purposes, and they’ve grown so attached to some of them that they’re still in the game – they’ll get replaced eventually (promise).
We look forward to following the progress of MUD, and to delving and duelling when the game launches!
Pure Bang Games is a small studio with a big history. It’s been around since 2010. The studio’s first release My Pet Rock launched on Facebook in 2011 and gained an avid following.