Cooking on Gas, or Unity!

I am so happy to find out that I can install Unity on Ubuntu, without the aid of even Wine. I guess it’s probably been like this for a while, but it makes a massive difference to teaching computer science or media production, if you can access the tools used in industry natively.

Unity Hub comes as a Beta AppImage, but when I tried to run it, was met with frustration (first you need to ensure the AppImage file is executable) because the AppImage would start to open Unity Hub, but then after trying to login, the browser wouldn’t speak to the application to tell it I was authorised.

Thankfully all it took was a few lines in Bash / Terminal to change the INSTALL.sh to executable and then it ran perfectly, minutes later I was downloading and installing the Unity Editor.

After the first installation of Unity Editor, I was happy about being able to get it running and so very excited at the prospect of exploring the tutorials; its been a while since I last used Unity and so rusty doesn’t even begin to describe where I am currently with that.

Unfortunately, I immediately hit upon issues, which are currently unresolved; I am going to put them down to my aging (read near death) hardware, rather than actual bugs for now. The tutorials panel loaded fine and I selected one of the templates to follow, but I couldn’t see the Scene or the Game windows, instead only a white box appeared. To fix this I then went to Window and reset the layout to default, which was great – I could work with both the Game and Scene windows, so have found a different way of learning to go with this quirk. In testing, the games seemed a bit jerky for me again old hardware to blame really, but the frame rate I was supposedly getting was impressive.

I am now starting to think about whether it is time to get a new system running, and how to bank roll it; but the first thought is that I want my next system to be a comprehensive workstation, running a Linux Distro as my main OS. Probably Ubuntu or Lubuntu as my starting point, but I am now interested in exploring outside my comfort zone with a view to finding distributions that are good for development.

The fact that Unity 3D is running a native editor on Linux is a massive plus for me, a genuinely important step towards a windowless world, can’t wait to get working through some of the tutorials. But, Unity aren’t the only one’s facilitating the future – Unreal Engine 4 can also be downloaded and compiled on a Linux distro. This is great news for developers and for those who want to be able to play more games on Linux systems, there’s a lot to like about the direction things are going now – I even have students who come to college running Ubuntu on their laptops, which I think is becoming increasingly more commonplace (perhaps they pick-up on my love for Open Source and feel that their distros are welcomed where once they might have been frowned upon?)

So the upshot is, in planning for next year’s curriculum, we’re seriously considering dual booting Ubuntu and I’ll be aiming to teach both the basics of Bash and introduction to game development using Unity (or even Unreal) on Linux. Things are starting to come together slowly but surely….