It has been like… just two weeks? Oh boy that felt sooo much longer, rough days…
I just realized that I have to blog now and can’t run away from it anymore. It’s soo much harder than coding really. After all these years and so many posts, I still feel horrible at blogging and incredible nervous while writing… But anyway, I have lots of new stuff, two new layers, no wait three even; earth, places and pois, this time! New and better triangulation library, improved settings window, brand new UI visualization and lots of bug fixes. So let’s have a look;
-Let’s start small, well I added the earth layer… just because. It’s just a clone of landuse and water layers really, nothing interesting here. Admittedly I hardly even tested it. I believe it’s coming from Natural Earth api, remember Mapzen is OpenStreetMap + Natural Earth. It has some interesting features like cliff, ridge, valley but well, I’ve always been much more interested in cities so personally didn’t find it that useful.
-No worries, I have something better; places and poi (Point of interest) layers!
Places layers is like a list of populated places; cities, towns, neighbourhoods etc. It’s extremely useful for city/state/country names at low zoom levels and neighborhood names in high zoom levels. It looks great coupled with boundary layer as well.
Poi level is even more interesting, it’s a huge list of…. interesting points… yeah. It has lots of places like Apple Store, H&M, Walgreens categorized under so many different “types”. You can check the Mapzen documentation, it’s quite detailed and explains many new properties very well.
One important thing to note here though, both these layers use the screen space UI and not the 3D world like the others. Why? Well I initially created 3D markers, like pokestops in PokemonGo but they were extremely hard to use (overlapping with each other) and understand. And you probably already know how horrible is the Unity3D TextMesh component is. I also tried using icons on a billboard but sprites looked blurry and low quality as well. Instead I put an empty gameobject in the 3D world (as a marker) and an icon on UI which sticks to that empty gameobject on every update. It looks a lot better this way, easier to read text/icons and interact with them. If you want 3D objects though, you can still use those empty gameobject as well!
-OK what else? Hmm hmm hmm… Ah the UV mappings! I won’t go into too much detail with these as it’s tiny little bit complex and hard to explain but we have UVs now. Roads, landscape and water UV mapping was quite easy with repetitive textures really. Building UV mapping is a little harder and not really complete but if you’re interested, you can read our little discussion about it in this Github issue. You can see roads, park and building UVs in the image below.
-By the way, you probably noticed how almost every screenshot has a different style right? It’s all just tweaking settings and materials, I’m not keeping any code from you guys. You can achieve all those in like 5-10 minutes of work (after you have a grasp on the general structure). For example, I got bored a few nights ago and created this PokemonGo style in a few minutes; with roads, buildings and pokemons!
That being said, I’m well aware that it’s also quite hard to switch between styles and this is I’m planning to look into soon as well and you’ll probably be able to drag&drop different styles after that.
There are probably bunch of other stuff I’m forgetting at the moment but it’s getting late, I’m getting tired so I’ll just cut it here.
What’s next? Well I want to restructure the folder hierarchy first. Not sure exactly about this one yet but I want to switch to factory/layer focused hierarchy where everything related to a single layer rests under one folder. That way it’ll be easier to plug in/out layers into any project.
Then I want a slightly different factory/settings management system. Roman’s (kind gentlemen who wrote all the settings scripts) gonna kill me , I know but I have…some ideas. Yea that sounds bad… I just want to make it easier to use, plug stuff in/out, tweak, change styles etc etc. Unfortunately I’m horrible at editor scripts so might not be able to do this for a while.
Then maybe some improvements for the UI icons of poi and places layers. Or some road mesh improvements (smoother curves? pavements?) Oh and I’m planning to drop/change the running guy thing as it takes like the 90% of the package size. And he’s not even that handsome.
Anyway so yeah, I’ll keep working on it as much as I can. Please do keep posting me… whatever. I just love hearing from you guys. That’s pretty much what keeps me going.
MapzenGo Github Page
Download MapzenGo Part 8
(v8.1 @5.10.2016, removed unnecessary image effects folder)
(v8.2 @5.10.2016, fixed BasicLoader and DynamicLoader scenes)
(v8.3 @5.10.2016, fixed some default values and settings for Poi factory)
(v8.4 @15.10.2016, Mapzen Api v1 compatibility)