Creating a custom set

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Creating a custom set

Once you have the Flipside Creator Tools installed and set up, here are the steps to create a custom set for your Flipside shows.

Overview

Sets in Flipside start as scenes in the Unity game engine. You are free to use just about any Unity features in your sets, including custom 3D models, textures, materials, shaders, even automatically triggered animations and sounds.

Structure of a set

Sets have a specific scene hierarchy, which looks like this:

Set hierarchy

This is all that's technically needed for a set to work, but we'll go over several features that make it more useful for you.

Creating a new set

  1. Create a new scene in Unity by choosing File > New Scene.
  2. Add your basic set elements to your new scene. You can also wait and do this after these steps too.
  3. Save your scene file by choosing File > Save Scenes. The first time you save your scene you will be asked to choose a file name.
  4. Convert your scene into a Flipside set by choosing Flipside Creator Tools > Create Set From Current Scene.
  5. Save your scene again.

At this point, you should see the Custom Set wizard in Unity's Scene window. It contains some basic instructions about building and previewing your set, as well as a Build Set Bundle link.

Custom Set wizard

Building your set

When you're ready to build your set and test it out in Flipside itself, click the Build Set Bundle button and it will generate a bundle file that you can upload here in your Creator Dashboard.

After you've built your set bundle the first time, the Custom Set wizard options will change to Rebuild Set Bundle and Find Set Bundle File. This second button will locate your set bundle in Windows Explorer so you can more easily find it when uploading it to your Creator Dashboard.

Custom Set wizard

Customizing your set

There are several aspects of customizing a set, which are broken down into the following sections:

Set name and attribution

Click on the root object of your set in the Hierarchy window and over in the Inspector window you'll see the Set Info component. Here you can change the name of your set, as well as settings like attribution and lighting. The set name and attribution fields are displayed on the set's card in the Sets palette in Flipside Studio.

Teleport area

Flipside defines where you can teleport within your set using Unity's NavMesh feature. If you look at the Contents object in your scene hierarchy, you'll see it has a Nav Mesh Surface component attached to it in the Inspector window.

When you want to make changes to your teleport area, and you want to preview your changes, click on your Contents object and in the Inspector window, click the Bake button. When it's done baking your NavMesh changes, you should see the teleport area highlighted in a light blue color.

To exclude an object from the teleport area, add a Nav Mesh Modifier component to that object in the Inspector window and make sure the Ignore From Build checkbox is checked. Make sure to re-bake the NavMesh changes in order to see the change applied.

NavMesh modifier

You can read all about Unity's NavMesh feature here.

For more info, see setting up your teleporter area.

Static elements

The Flipside Creator Tools let you specify certain non-moving, or static, elements of your set. This helps Flipside's Set Builder understand how to work with your set, and are completely optional.

StaticElement component

To mark an object as a static element, add a Static Element component to it in the Inspector window, then choose the type of element that it is. There are four static element types you can choose:

  1. Floor
  2. Wall
  3. Ceiling
  4. Seat

Prop elements

The Flipside Creator Tools also let you specify certain movable elements of your set. These act like props that are built right into your set.

To mark an object as a prop element, add a Prop Element component to it in the Inspector window. Here you can choose whether your prop is affected by gravity or not, and also assign custom Unity events to be triggered when the following interactions happen:

PropElement component

  • On Begin Interaction - A user grabbed the prop.
  • On End Interaction - A user let go of the prop.
  • On Use Button Down - A user pressed the trigger while holding the prop.
  • On Use Button Up - A user released the trigger while holding the prop.

You'll also notice that when you add a Prop Element component, a Nav Mesh Modifier is also added for you automatically with its Ignore From Build setting checked. This ensures that props won't accidentally be included in your teleport area.

Note: Props brought in as part of a set behave a little differently than props imported on their own. They don't appear in the Set Builder palette, but rather where you placed them in the set itself, however you can move them around in the Set Builder within Flipside Studio and it will remember their new location. But you can't remove them from the set, or add more instances of them like you can with imported props. This may change in a future update.

Cameras

Cameras that you add to a custom set will be imported as camera positions in Flipside's camera switcher. What makes this really cool is that if a camera has an animation attached, that animation will still control that camera in Flipside too. This means you can create pretty much any camera move imaginable and import it into Flipside as part of your custom sets.

To preview your camera positions, press Play in Unity then press the number keys (1, 2, 3, etc.) to switch between camera positions. Press 0 to switch back to mirroring what you're seeing in VR.

You can also attach a Camera Element component to your Unity cmaeras, which add two Unity events that will get triggered when a camera position is activated or deactivated:

CameraElement component

  • On Camera Activated - Fired just before transitioning to a camera position.
  • On Camera Deactivated - Fired just before transitioning away from a camera position.

These events let you do things like play an animated sequence as your show opening whenever you cut to the associated camera position.

Audience

Sets in Flipside include an Audience object that marks where your in-VR audience will appear when that feature of Flipside Studio is added. You can adjust its position to appear anywhere on set, but you can only rotate it so it remains upright in order to maintain audience comfort. You can also adjust its scale so the audience can be larger or smaller than the set, creating an interesting effect for your viewers.

Lighting and sky

Lighting is a complex topic that's too big to cover here, but we will go over the available lighting options in the Flipside Creator Tools. You are free to use Unity's baked lighting to control how your sets look to a great degree, but not every lighting setting will import into Flipside just yet.

Here are the lighting settings, found on the Set Info component on the root set object in your scene hierarchy:

SetInfo component

Sky ID

Skies in Flipside are separated from sets so that you can do things like change from day to night on the same physical set. The Sky ID field sets the default sky to use when first loading the set.

You can find the ID for each of your custom skies, as well as Flipside's built-in skies, on the skies page of your Creator Dashboard.

Lighting mode

There are three supported options for Lighting Mode, which determine the scene's ambient lighting source:

  1. Flat - A single flat color affects the ambient lighting.
  2. Trilight - Three colors that make up the sky, equator, and ground affect the ambient lighting.
  3. Skybox - The current sky affects the ambient lighting.

The next section, Flat Ambient Light Color, lets you set the flat color value, which will only affect your set if Lighting Mode is set to Flat.

The Triling Ambient Colors section lets you specify your sky, equator, and ground colors, and will also only affect your set if Lighting Mode is set to Trilight.

Lastly, there is an Ambient Intensity setting, which can contain any value from 0 to 1. This affects how intense the ambient lighting should appear.

Note: Unity has its own lighting settings in the Lighting window, but the settings above will automatically override the settings found in the Lighting window on import into Flipside Studio, and when you press Play to preview your set.

Showing objects to actors but not to cameras

If you want to use an object as an invisible reference for actors that stays invisible to cameras, you can change its layer to be on the UI layer.

Note that if you show the Flipside UI in your camera output, your invisible objects will be shown too.


Next: Setting up your teleporter area

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This documentation was generated by the Flipside Documentation. We're always open to new contributions *wink* *wink*