Author Topic: Consistent updates?  (Read 3180 times)

It's been over a year now, updates have been sporadic and are quickly outdated. Is there any chance you all will begin updating the plugin like normal developers?

I'm deciding how to move forward and whether this plugin is worth it any longer. It has regularly crashed and always has difficulty moving to new Unity versions. For instance the fact many people have stated the problem with Unity 2.15f+ and it's still not fixed. Even when it is working, when you finally release a new version it typically requires a reset of Substances or will have another problem that takes 5 months to fix.

Teams like Amplify Creations regularly update their plugins and will fix them within a week of a bug report. Additionally, they know that Unity 'Preview' or 'Experimental' versions are just unity versions and might be in experimental for years so they will likely support them (see amplify shader editor + HDRP). The updates from you all have been pretty paltry, haven't addressed the major issues, and generally lacking. Most teams will test their product in Unity beta versions to stay ahead of their community, I'm assuming you don't do this.

As a long time user of allegorithmic products, this plugin has been a massive disappointment. I'm just wondering if we should continue to expect sub-par support or if there is a light at the end of this tunnel. Is there any chance there will be consistent updates? If you are going to continue with such slow support, is there any chance this could move to open source?

Sorry for the rant, I rant cause I care. I like substances. I really want to use Substances in my project, so I hope things turn around.

I'm with you here.  I don't think the plugin has ever worked for me without issues.  There has always been some big issue or workaround since they moved to a plugin.  I know Allegorithmic has their point of view that it's Unity's fault, but fact is every asset I have gives me hotfixes once a bug is reported.

I just had to remove the plugin this weekend because my project has moved onto needing nested prefabs so I'm on the 2018.3 release candidate.  All other plugins (that I rely on) fixed their issues with 2018.3 and released updates to the asset store well before the release candidate.

I'm now just planning on generating textures with painter and manually setting up materials.

 
Last Edit: December 09, 2018, 02:08:42 am

It seems that every couple of weeks I go through a crisis of confidence regarding whether I should be using Substance in Unity. My game it more than a year away from release, and I tell myself that will give Allegorithmic time to get the plugin working. But then I review the extremely slow pace of progress, and I question whether I just need to stop wasting cycles on this, and export textures out of Substance Designer, and forget about the Substance plugin entirely. I struggle to find new ways to express this concern.

Here's a quote from Wes on Unity's forums, dating back just about 11 months to the day: https://forum.unity.com/threads/an-update-on-substance-format-support-in-unity.509408/#post-3348995
Quote
...this will be a positive move for both Allegorithmic and Unity. Unity is a great partner and we are very excited about what we will be doing with the new 2018 substance support. The original integration has become old and we are now able to rework the entire plugin with our new framework as well as deploy timely updates to coincide with new Substance Engine features.

11 months later, we're still in beta, with weeks between updates, and a huge bug (the DynamicInvoke issue) that Allegorithmic does not see fit to release a hotfix for. (It will be fixed in 2.2, for which Wes can't offer an ETA.)

I've been really looking forward to Unity 2018.3, and issues like this make me wonder how many months it will be after 2018.3 is released before the plugin will support it. If they're this far behind supporting 2018.2's patch releases, 2018.3 feels like a distant target.

Wes has stated that Unity keeps changing things, making plugin development difficult. But is Allegorithmic actually doing something to confront this reality? Are sufficient resources being devoted to the Unity plugin development? Without sounding too much like a whining child, my overall feeling is that the burden of the plugin development has been shouldered by an intern or a single developer fresh out of school.

My overall feeling it that things are "not okay" right now with the state of the plugin. Allegorithmic should put sufficient resources on the project, to get it stable ASAP, or just give up. The current pace isn't working. No need to reply to this expressing how you're as frustrated as we are.


Hey Everyone,

As always, thanks very much for expressing these issues to us. First, I want to apologize for the issues you are experiencing with the plugin. We understand the frustrations and issues. I'm not going to post excuses as this is not what you guys need to hear or want to hear, but I do want to assure you that we hear you and we are listening to the feedback. I know that may sound empty as indeed here we are, still in beta after a full year. However, you should know that we take these posts very seriously. We listen and instantly meet to discuss what we need to address in order to improve the situation for users.

The plugin has indeed been very problematic for us and for you. In a post above, a comparison was mentioned regarding updates or hot fixes of our plugin to other content on the asset store. We need to provide updates to bugs more quickly and more frequently. That is a must. More on that in just a bit. For now, I want to explain our process, in an effort to be fully open about what we are doing, by explaining the differences we face with the development process.

When we created the original integration, we had full source code access. Our engine was fully integrated into Unity. Even with source code access, we had to do some "tricks" to get around some issues, but with source access we were able to do this. When the integration was removed from Unity, we lost the ability to handle many of the processes we developed for the original plugin. Not only did we have to start over from scratch, but we are still having to find ways around issues with a much less capable API. By less capable, I mean more restrictive than when we had full source access. This has presented us with many issues, some of which can not be resolved. Because of this, we have to invent new ways to handle processes using the C# API available to us. It's not a trivial process in regards to working with our Substance Engine. Our original plugin, which was fully integrated into Unity's source is much different than plugins created on the Asset Store.

I'm not writing this as an excuse and I know it doesn't solve the issues we have at hand. Here, I just want to try and explain the situation of why were are still in beta so that you have the full picture. As users, we don't want to have you left in the dark, wondering what we are doing.

Unfortunately, the fact is this is taking us a lot of time. There is no conspiracy or lack of will on our side. The issues are much more complicated than they appear, but the point is, we are not giving up. Our team is dedicated to Unity and constantly working on the plugin. We have dedicated resources to the Unity plugin and no, we did not leave this task to an intern : ) My goal with this reply is to reassure you that we are dedicated and we care very much about Unity and this plugin. I understand how you may feel we don't, but this is definitely not the case. If this comes across as empty words, I understand that and I apologize. That is not my intention. I just want to be real in my response as we care about you and we care about this plugin.

With that said, I now want to provide you with some action items instead of lip service. What we need to do is provide more frequent updates to address bugs that arise. We have bugs in our updates and we need to also be able to provide quick turnaround for the updates to Unity that are released. The 2018.3 update is a good example. We need to support these updates as quickly as possible. It's not that we don't care or don't look at it. What happened in this case was an API change that wasn't a simple patch. In our case, an API change in Unity can mean a major process we have coded in order to make our engine work within the plugin is no longer valid. We then need to spend time reworking this, which can sometimes mean inventing new processes. This is not an excuse, it's just what we are doing and why it takes time.

Our goal is to provide more frequent updates and we are actively taking new steps now to make this happen. It's not an issue of we didn't want to do this previously. We always wanted to have frequent updates, but in our case bugs that appeared end up being giant monsters that take much time and effort to slay. Something that seems trivial to patch, often ended up in a month long campaign. However, we are reevaluating processes and moving forward to make updates more frequently.

We are also preparing a survey to get more information on what the run-time engine means to you. Are you looking to use the scripting API or are you just wanting to have an iterative workflow in editor for changing textures. We want to make sure we fully support the main workflow users needs so that we can better reallocate resources.     

To be fully transparent, I can't give an ETA today on when you can begin to expect a more frequent update schedule. We have another big update planned for this year and going into 2019, we are looking to be more frequent on our schedule. Today I can say we hear the feedback, it's vital for us and we are working to improve.

I hope this post provides some clarity and doesn't come across as just PR lip service as that is not my intention. Any feedback you guys give us is always vital in our development. We hear it and we act on it. If you have concerns or suggestion, please continue to let us know.

Cheers,
Wes
Head of Substance Demo Art Team
the3dninja@adobe.com
Twitter: The3DNinja

@Wes: I appreciate the reply. I appreciate that you all seem dedicated to the plugin. It seems like your team for whatever reason won't be able to handle consistent updates. Unity regularly changes stuff and teams have to be agile enough to deal with the changes quickly. Unity will release something new then deprecate it one or two versions later, they're really bad about this. Even when Unity was stable and you all were in your early versions it would take you months to update even when obvious bugs were pointed out to you.

Unity 2018.3 is a good example of something you have to be ready for. It adds vital features like nested prefabs, new VFX workflow, HDRP upgrades, and more. Any team that regularly updates their project will immediately want to use these as they have been promised for a very long time and are now finally here. I would take your post with more consequence if you hadn't been saying these same things for a while now.

It's not reasonable to ask customers to wait around for a single plugin that may update 4 or 5 or 'Unknown ETA' months after an official Unity release.

@Jaran : I'm with you, this plugin is no longer worth it. I hope one day I can bring substances back into my project. I'll continue to support allegorithmic and buy allegorithmic products but this plugin has left a bad taste in my mouth.
Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 04:50:24 pm

@Wes: I appreciate the reply. I appreciate that you all seem dedicated to the plugin. It seems like your team for whatever reason won't be able to handle consistent updates. Unity regularly changes stuff and teams have to be agile enough to deal with the changes quickly. Unity will release something new then deprecate it one or two versions later, they're really bad about this. Even when Unity was stable and you all were in your early versions it would take you months to update even when obvious bugs were pointed out to you.

Unity 2018.3 is a good example of something you have to be ready for. It adds vital features like nested prefabs, new VFX workflow, HDRP upgrades, and more. Any team that regularly updates their project will immediately want to use these as they have been promised for a very long time and are now finally here. I would take your post with more consequence if you hadn't been saying these same things for a while now.

It's not reasonable to ask customers to wait around for a single plugin that may update 4 or 5 or 'Unknown ETA' months after an official Unity release.

@jaran : I'm with you, this plugin is no longer worth it. I hope one day I can bring substances back into my project. I'll continue to support allegorithmic and buy allegorithmic products but this plugin has left a bad taste in my mouth.

I completely understand how you feel and we agree that it's not reasonable to ask customers to wait around for a single plugin that may update 4 or 5 or 'Unknown ETA' months after an official Unity release. 

We've been saying the same things and even though it's always been our intention to release updates in a timely fashion,  we were not able to do that. We've been discussing all of the feedback and we are making changes to address the lack of updates. Indeed having several months without an update is not acceptable. I will not make any excuses for this.

For our action plan, we are now moving to monthly updates starting in January with our 2.2 release. Our users can expect monthly updates going forward from 2.2.

We are very sorry to hear that this plugin has given you a bad feeling about Substance. We completely understand your position and hope we will be able to change your mind in the future through our actions and in delivering for more frequent updates. For now, we are taking the steps to address the issues presented with updates and will be moving forward from there to greatly improve the plugin.

As always, thank you for your feedback.

Cheers,
Wes

 
Head of Substance Demo Art Team
the3dninja@adobe.com
Twitter: The3DNinja

Thanks for the reply Wes,  I am with Lavidimus.  We have had to stop using Substance in our 2018 projects and it's a really unfortunate situation.  I feel cheated, because I pay for a Substance license to use Painter and Designer, and while I can use painter and import textures into Unity, I find it increasingly difficult to take Substances which we work really hard on in Designer and implement them in Unity (which is our preferred method.)

Without that feature, Substance will most likely be plucked from our list of subscriptions and that makes me sad.

I find it hard to believe that Unity is not willing to work with software as vital as Substance to designers.  Maybe another option is jumping over to Unreal which has better integration.
Last Edit: December 13, 2018, 06:25:42 pm

Thanks for the reply Wes,  I am with Lavidimus.  We have had to stop using Substance in our 2018 projects and it's a really unfortunate situation.  I feel cheated, because I pay for a Substance license to use Painter and Designer, and while I can use painter and import textures into Unity, I find it increasingly difficult to take Substances which we work really hard on in Designer and implement them in Unity (which is our preferred method.)

Without that feature, Substance will most likely be plucked from our list of subscriptions and that makes me sad.

I find it hard to believe that Unity is not willing to work with software as vital as Substance to designers.  Maybe another option is jumping over to Unreal which has better integration.

I'm very sorry to hear you feel cheated by the plugin. I completely understand your situation and that our plugin has severely limited the way you want to work. That is not OK and we are going to work to address these issues.

We've had a lot of set backs on this integration and I think are largest fault has been not getting updates out regularly enough. Many of the setbacks we encountered were out of our hands. I know that sounds like an excuse, but I wanted to be able to explain to users the entire situation. I don't want you to think we just don't care and are not trying to resolve the issues. However, we are very sorry that we've passed the issues we have faced with the Unity integration on to our users.

The plugin is not the only way to work with Designer. You can also export textures from Designer with the ability to batch export on any graph change. This is actually a powerful feature of designer as it will export textures each time you update the graph. I use this feature often. There are many times were I will export my outputs from designer directly to my unity project or 3D app during my prototype/design phase. Then I work in Designer as normal and when I jump over to Unity, the textures are automatically imported. This saves me from doing a publish or export process. I wanted to share with you another way to work with designer since the plugin is not an option for you.

Designer -> Unity
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Dk0bQB5GfCmAM42rOCFpYaEDhrzn51pa/view?usp=sharing

Cheers,
Wes
Head of Substance Demo Art Team
the3dninja@adobe.com
Twitter: The3DNinja



Designer -> Unity
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Dk0bQB5GfCmAM42rOCFpYaEDhrzn51pa/view?usp=sharing

Cheers,
Wes

How do we combine the roughness in the metal alpha channel like unity expects using designer in this way?

I've removed Substance for Unity from my project. It's unfortunate. I cannot build my project on Unity 2018.2 (will not be going to 2018 for product for a while because of breaking changes from Unity).

I have reported that even with .net set to 3.5, the plugin crashes Unity on importing a substance file. Unity 2018.3.f2

I have a yearly subscription to Substance for 2 years already, but I could hardly use the plugin or its content. The only way I can use it is to load the substance file into Substance player and then export bitmaps manually. But the Substance Player doesn't have any texture packing feature, so I have to manually edit the maps in the photoshop to combine metal and gloss maps.

This is just... not acceptable.

Having said that, I am beginning to like Quixel more over Substance just for its pure easiness on working with it. Their mixer program and bridge seems to work really well in Unity. Their bridge plugin for Unity also had similar problem for Unity 2018.3 with .net being 4.0 but they quickly patched it so now I can use it. I know it is not fair to compare one product to another because they each have pros and cons. But at the end of the day, if I can't make use of the tool like how I wanted it to ( within what it say it does ) I just don't have any choice?

I am pretty sure that Allegorithmic has more "resources" than Quixel... so it is pretty hard to understand and keep the patient up.

I also wanted to say that Unity in general, does lack behind UE4 for almost every needed 3rd party asset support such as SpeedTree 8 as well. Probably for the similar reasons that Allegorithmic is facing. Then when you look at Unity, it focuses its efforts on non gaming development trying to gain its footage on other fields to increase their subscribers. Which is understandable given its business nature. But as for the core game dev community for Unity, I am pretty sure that everyone is feeling a bit (and more) feed up now...
Last Edit: December 31, 2018, 06:01:33 am

I have reported that even with .net set to 3.5, the plugin crashes Unity on importing a substance file. Unity 2018.3.f2

I have a yearly subscription to Substance for 2 years already, but I could hardly use the plugin or its content. The only way I can use it is to load the substance file into Substance player and then export bitmaps manually. But the Substance Player doesn't have any texture packing feature, so I have to manually edit the maps in the photoshop to combine metal and gloss maps.

This is just... not acceptable.

Having said that, I am beginning to like Quixel more over Substance just for its pure easiness on working with it. Their mixer program and bridge seems to work really well in Unity. Their bridge plugin for Unity also had similar problem for Unity 2018.3 with .net being 4.0 but they quickly patched it so now I can use it. I know it is not fair to compare one product to another because they each have pros and cons. But at the end of the day, if I can't make use of the tool like how I wanted it to ( within what it say it does ) I just don't have any choice?

I am pretty sure that Allegorithmic has more "resources" than Quixel... so it is pretty hard to understand and keep the patient up.

I also wanted to say that Unity in general, does lack behind UE4 for almost every needed 3rd party asset support such as SpeedTree 8 as well. Probably for the similar reasons that Allegorithmic is facing. Then when you look at Unity, it focuses its efforts on non gaming development trying to gain its footage on other fields to increase their subscribers. Which is understandable given its business nature. But as for the core game dev community for Unity, I am pretty sure that everyone is feeling a bit (and more) feed up now...

I definitely understand where you are coming from. I appreciate you being upfront with how this situation has affected your workflows. We are working to fully resolve the plugin issues and will be providing more frequent updates with a monthly release.

I honestly don't expect you to be patient and if you have to move on I don't blame you : ) You have to do what's best for your workflow and project. The issues you have faced is on us not you. It's on us to win you back : )

Instead of using Player, you can export maps directly from Designer with the export in background option. This lets you save your outputs to your Unity project directly. Then as you make changes in the graph, Designer is exporting outputs as you work. All you have to do is jump over to unity to get the updated content. This is much faster than publishing the sbsar to open in Player.

Cheers,
Wes
Head of Substance Demo Art Team
the3dninja@adobe.com
Twitter: The3DNinja



Designer -> Unity
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Dk0bQB5GfCmAM42rOCFpYaEDhrzn51pa/view?usp=sharing

Cheers,
Wes

How do we combine the roughness in the metal alpha channel like unity expects using designer in this way?

You can use the RGBA merge node. Take the metallic data and plug that into the RGB grayscale channels. Then, take the roughness, pipe that through an invert node to convert it to Unity smoothness. Take the invert node and add that to the alpha input of the RGBA merge.

I made a node of this process so all you need to do is add this sbs to your library and then drag this into your graph and plugin the metal and roughness maps.

Cheers,
Wes
Head of Substance Demo Art Team
the3dninja@adobe.com
Twitter: The3DNinja

Thanks for making that node Wes!

Thanks for making that node Wes!

No problem : ) My favorite thing about Designer is you can make your own tools and workflows.

Cheers,
Wes
Head of Substance Demo Art Team
the3dninja@adobe.com
Twitter: The3DNinja