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Messages - trilo

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Hooray, and thanks to you and everyone on the team for getting the beta process started.  My fingers are crossed that things go well and that the Unity-based VW I make content for is able to start moving forward testing and prepping for their next big update.

I look forward to good news at some point.

So, to be clear.... you will be releasing the new plugin alongside Unity 2018.1 official release.  However, what you are releasing at that time will "launch in open beta"?

I could totally understand it taking 5 months after getting surprise news if this was a plugin asset being made by an indie/individual asset developer, working in their spare time and without any experience doing these things... but Allegorithmic has staff that do this stuff for a living, and they provide .sbsar support through a plugin asset with another game engine... it seems crazy to me that with more resources, and some experience in the area, it still takes 5 full months just to get a first beta out.  And of course betas being betas, that could very well mean weeks or even months of things not being very stable.

I went from sympathizing with friends who were directly affected and being a little frustrated that I couldn't do any advance testing, to now being directly (and negatively) affected.  The Unity-based virtual world I make things for has put their 2018.1 development on hold specifically because of the lack of .sbsar support, and if they're not able to get something stable very soon they are considering changing course to 2017.4 for their next major update (in the fall, as it takes them a while to get everything ready), and likely no 2018.1 support until 2019.

I do appreciate the information, but hopefully you can understand my frustration.  The lack of openness and transparency hasn't helped, getting any info has been difficult and tough to swallow.

The ship has unfortunately long since sailed on the notion of a smooth migration.  Any artist or creator whose projects are working with Unity 2018.1 (which is now on beta 13, and a couple short weeks away from general release) has either had to halt production and development or manually replace hundreds/thousands of materials because even a rudimentary beta is not available.

For me, the lack of a beta is becoming a more significant problem as time goes on.  Back in January it was mostly just listening to the lamentation of friends whose work was directly impacted, and for me just testing that I couldn't do on the early beta releases... but now that we've gotten so far along with nothing at all from Allegorithmic, the project I spend the majority of my time with (a Unity-based virtual world) is looking at delaying their development by a period of weeks to months.  That really stinks, as they take their time with development and testing (it took them 6 months to finally get their 2017.2 compatibility rolled out to their live client)... so instead of them being able to roll into Unity 2018.1.x in early fall it may slip to the end of year or even beginning of next year.  I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that.

Here's what we know so far...

Unity said at GDC that they intend to ship 2018.1.0 in April (and recently released beta 13).

Allegorithmic had initially pledged to get a beta to developers/artists (so they could start testing their projects) by the end of February.  That came and went, with an apology and explanation that they felt the plugin was not stable enough for users.  A couple weeks ago Allegorithmic demonstrated the plugin at GDC, but even as the end of March came and went there's been no sign of a beta release. 

They were still claiming that the plugin will be ready in time for the general release of Unity 2018.1.0, though I'm beginning to suspect that will be a relatively untested beta.

I had read previously that a beta would be available by the end of last month.  Was that delayed, or am I looking in the wrong place for a download link?

Perhaps I had misread comments I'd read elsewhere on this board and on other sites in late spring and early summer of 2017 then.  Back when Substance Designer 6 had been released, but was not working properly with Unity, you guys were quick to tell us that you had written and prepared the code for updating the Unity integration, but that Unity were simply opting not to integrate that code into the editor (I think it took them until the 2017.2 beta 4 to finally get that in).  I believe comments were also made at that time to suggest that for Unreal Engine, Allegorithmic uses a separately downloaded plugin that they are in control of, and that if that was the case here then Allegorithmic users would have already had the update.

I'm not sure, but at that time I had heard that Allegorithmic was exploring other options for the future.  This seemed to make sense, not only because of the frustrating delays with Substance integration getting updated but also the Unity Live Link being released as a standalone plugin.

If I was wrong to think that Allegorithmic is involved in writing some of the code for Unity game engine integration, or to think that Unreal Engine integration is through a plugin that Allegorithmic is involved with making, or that Allegorithmic had wished for the ability to have a plugin that they could quickly update for Unity, then I apologize for my misunderstanding.

The picture you are painting makes it sound as if Allegorithmic had no involvement in the decision and learned of the plan to deprecate integrated support for Substances back in November during the 2017.3 beta cycle.  Even if that was the case, that's still several weeks to start working on a plugin so that when 2018.1 entered into beta in early January, at least a rough beta of the plugin would be available because Allegorithmic did not want to leave the artists, developers, and other creators who rely on their products out in the cold.  Even a week or two late would be understandable and forgivable in such a situation... but we're now on beta 7.

I apologize for being so frustrated, but after having spent a lot of time in the last year to learning how to use Substances in my projects, only to have all that content essentially dead in the 2018.1 beta is extremely stressful.  I had been really wanting to dive deeper into Substance Designer in 2017 so I could create my own materials in addition to remixing the substances I have), but I wanted to wait until SD6+ was working properly with Unity, and then things got busy in the fall.  And now that there's an opportunity to jump in again while working on testing things in 2018.1.... things are at a dead stop in that department.  Testing and development in the 2018.1 beta now currently involves using FPO art and then swapping things at some point in the future, or moving away from Substances.

It feels like the message Allegorithmic is sending to developers and artists is "use our products at your peril, we don't have your back and relying on our products could cripple your project."

If that was not the case, we would have either the plugin or a beta, as well as plenty of detailed information about the timeline.

I asked about this a year or so ago, and was given the brush-off, that replacing the outdated OpenGL graphics API with Metal (which has been around on Mac for a number of years now) was a big undertaking, and something that could not be done as a point release on then-Substance Painter 2.x.

Well, it's been a year, and it's been a major version upgrade (2017.x), and hopefully heading into another (2018.x).  Any sign of that support for Metal and the ability to do materials layering (the fire hydrant demo and subsequent shader are nice, but not so nice that it just doesn't work at all for Mac users).  The Foundry appears to have had materials layering in their Mari product for longer than Allegorithmic has had it in Painter, and their solution doesn't appear to have any issues with OSX.

@Rowlan, currently it means that any builds you have that use an .sbsar file are broken in the Unity 2018.1 beta.  They will remain that way until Allegorithmic puts out their standalone plugin, or at the very least a beta for it. 

With 6+ months to prepare for this transition, Allegorithmic appears to have chosen not to have the plugin available for testing during the 2018.1 beta testing phase, which puts artists and developers in a difficult spot.  Halt testing and development on projects that use .sbsar files and require testing on 2018.1 for however many weeks or months that it takes them to make something available, or find an alternative to using .sbsar in your project.

I'm glad to hear it, and very excited that you guys will finally "be in control of your own destiny" so to speak (the amount of time everyone had to wait for Substance Designer 6+ support was truly painful).

That said, PLEASE get that integration out as soon as possible, even in beta form.  If you're planning on waiting until the end of the 2018.1 cycle that might seem like a smooth transition on paper, but to the many designers, developers, and creators who test their stuff on Unity beta versions, it means a pretty significant disruption in Substance support.

My partner and I are just two independent artists and not some game studio with a full time staff, but with no plugin asset available we either are unable to develop and test on 2018.1 or must avoid using .sbsar on projects that require it.  To us, it feels like the ball has been dropped again (it's not like you guys didn't know this was coming).

It reportedly works in Unity 2017.2 beta 4 and later.  No word yet on if it will be back-ported to 2017.1 or earlier versions.

I'm guessing that it's some combination of being integrated into Unity (which means that updates need to be folded into and included in Unity releases), and the Unity dev team not realizing that there's a problem to begin with (based on the customer support agent'd initial response).

I kind of wish that .sbsar support was being done through a plugin or free asset available through the store, that way Allegorithmic could have more control over new or bugfix releases.

I filed a support ticket with Unity last week to find out what the status was, and was dismayed to finally hear back days later, only to learn that Unity Customer Support doesn't have a clue what the issue might be.  In fairness, it's a customer support request and not technical support, but you would think that after 4 months it would at least be on the radar.  The support engineer who responded not only didn't know what I was talking about, but said that in searching the Unity forums they were not able to find any info (really????)... They suggested that I post a thread on their forums, and if I didn't get a community response within 14 days I could contact support again and they'd check in with the technical team.

I replied back to provide links to discussions on Unity's forums as well as a link to this thread, fingers crossed they'll follow up and connect with the tech folks, and wherever things got disconnected they'll reconnect it really soon.

Aside from json file issues, Allegorithmic materials layering does not work properly for either mobile or Mac that I am aware of.  I understand that materials layering is flawless in Mari (from the Foundry), but a) it's another company's application and b) I have no idea how the layered materials work in game engines, or if Mari just bakes the layers out into textures/maps that would be imported separately.

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