New blog

As mentioned in the previous post, I have been working on getting a blog on the new website. It is now live and it is much better than this one.

This blog will stay up for a while, but it won't get updated anymore, this post will stay on top for the time being to redirect people. It has served me well over the years, and now it's time to move on to something better.


New website

Over the last few months I have been busy redesigning the website and we are finally live now. Check it out:

The new website has been rewritten from scratch, but all the old links are still valid. It is now a modern site that looks good on desktops, on tablets, on phones and even in text mode. All content is static and the site works fine with and without JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Showcase your work

Judging by the five-star reviews you all seem to like Grid Framework, but what are you using it for? I want to have a showcase page on the website where I can show off some of the games made using Grid Framework. If you want your game featured drop me a line, include a screenshot (or give me permission to pick one myself) and a few sentences about your game and what you used Grid Framework for. I'm looking forward to seeing all the cool uses you came up with.

About the new website

The original website was made from hand-written HTML and CSS. While I like the pure hands-on approach it became quickly apparent that that wouldn't cut it in the long run. Take for example the navigation bar: It has to appear on every page, it has to be the same everywhere and the currently active item has to be highlighted. HTML has no interactive elements and no way to include snippets. I could have used JavaScript, but then the site would break down it people don't have JavaScript enabled.

I was looking into different solutions and settled for Pelican. Pelican is a static site generator, meaning you write template HTML pages with placeholders and you write your content separately. Pelican then generates the finished website from your template, content and a number of settings. This has all the benefits of being static while being easy to maintain.

For the actual website I decided instead of reinventing the wheel I would just leverage the work of people who know more about web development than me. I use Bootstrap as my CSS framework and jQuery for light JavaScript decoration. I also now have a proper gallery using Pretty Photo library. You can find a list of all components on the about page.

One final note about JavaScript if you are concerned about proprietary code: all the foreign code is free software and the code I have written is free as well (MIT licensed), no need to worry.

What is still missing is the blog. Because I intend the Workshop to be home to all my projects it would be a bad idea to lump all news into the same blog. Pelican has no capability of producing multiple blogs, I will have to write a multiblog plugin instead. Until then this blog stays the news site.


Grid Framework version 1.8.0 released

Version 1.8.0 of Grid Framework has been approved by the Asset Store team. This release introduces a new rendering shape for hex grid: the circle. Of course, like with polar grids, just because it's called a circle that does not mean you are limited to just circles, you can decide on the start and end "angle" or have a hole in the centre to create a ring.
The shape can be drawn around any hex, not just the origin. Here is the full changelog:
Introducing a new rendering shape for hex grids.
  • New: Hex grids can render in a circular shape.
  • New: `renderAround` property on hex grids for the new shape.
  • Fixed: Size and rendering range not showing up properly in the inspector.


Grid Framework version 1.7.4 released

Grid Framework version 1.7.4 has been approved by the Asset Store team. This release brings official support for Unity 5, so feel free to upgrade. Unity 4 is still supported, thanks to the changes to the Asset Store I can now upload separate packages for different versions of Unity.

There are no API changes, so it doesn't matter whether you want to use Unity 4 or 5. The only real difference between packages are the example scenes. The formats Unity 5 uses are different from 4, so a package created in Unity 5 would appear broken in 4.


Playable examples

I have added playable builds of the examples to the website, now you can click the title of an example and try the result out in the Web Player. To get back click on the Grid Framework examples label above the player. Just remember that you have to click into the player to get it to accept input.

Check out the web pages:


Grid Framework version 1.7.2 released

Version 1.7.2 of Grid Framework has been approved by the Asset Store team. This release and the previous one provide bugfixes:

  • Fixed: Null exception on polar grids when getting Vectrosity points if the grid is not being rendered.

For version 1.7.1:

  • Fixed: The grid align panel now correctly respect or ignores rotation when auto-snapping.


A homepage for Grid Framework

Grid Framework now has its own homepage:

I have been running this blog now for almost three years, which is way too long to go without a proper website. Back when I had just started out I didn't know if Grid Framework would ever take off, so I organised everything in a quick&simple manner, but I think it's finally time to step up my presentation.

The site is hosted on GitHub, so you can browse the source code if you wish, it's all handwritten in HTML and CSS, nothing fancy. There are still a few things I would like to overhaul, like a proper screenshot gallery, playable examples and redo the videos. But for now the site is at least presentable.

If you have any suggestions or find display errors on some devices please let me know.


Goodbye MonoDevelop, hello Vim

One thing that has been getting on my nerves ever since I started working with Unity has been MonoDevelop. While it is a good IDE for the most part it suffered from a number of annoying issues, such as folds randomly opening, poor performance, and auto completion randomly not working. Your mileage may vary, and for the most parts it was doing its job, but the annoying hiccups kept happening all the time.

I tried out the official Xamarin Studio, but that one didn't fare better and on top of that always threw up error messages when opening a file. I was looking into alternate editors, but they didn't offer the rich C#-focused feature set of MonoDevelop, so I was stuck with it.

Eventually I was so fed up, I decided to go all the way back: no fancy IDEs, no GUIs, back to to bare basics: Vim. The cool thing about Vim is that's it's a very simple barebones editor that can be extended and customised to your liking. Vanilla Vim is nice, but you have not really used Vim until you have tailored every aspect to your personal liking. That's a gradual process that will take years of experience, but I do already feel very comfortable outside of the hand-holding restrictions of the IDE.

For an ideal Unity setup you will want a GUI client of Vim, such as MacVim. That doesn't mean that Vim will get all those fancy buttons and menus, although you can enable those if you want to, but the main advantage is that it can be launched like any other application instead of through the terminal. MacVim has also better mouse support (it's faster to resize windows with the mouse) and the character cursor looks different in insert mode.

The next thing you want is support for .Net and C# features. The plugin for that is Omnisharp:
Omnisharp will add pretty much all features that you have come to love from MonoDevelop, without the headache. Omnisharp also provides an interface for other plugins, for example you can use it with YouCompleteMe to get automatic code-completion:

There is a ton of other useful plugins out there as well and some are listed on Omnisharp's page. Another advantage of Vim is that it's not restricted to one particular language or framework. You can easily write your essay or design your HTML web page in it. Customisations can be set for each file type differently or you can use them over multiple types. Since it's all one editor you don't have to learn a new IDE for every project.

In fact, I have been designing my new upcoming website in Vim as well, the same editor I use for writing Grid Framework. How cool is that? Here is a video I found on YouTube of someone using Vim to edit text with the speed of though: