lesson 7: Playmaker Drop Down
In this lesson we’ll look at the options presented by the PlayMaker drop-down menu. We’ll learn some important terms and manipulate the Views to create a Layout conducive to PlayMaker’s use. You’re free to create your own Layout of course, but the following is optimal for the purpose of following along with the course.
Fig. 7.1 Shows the Playmaker drop-down menu
Having imported the PlayMaker Package in lesson 4, there now appears the word PlayMaker along the Main Menu Bar. Expanding the PlayMaker window elicits many options, though the majority of PlayMaker’s functionality is more efficiently accessed in the PlayMaker Views. Speaking of which, the first option is PlayMaker Editor (aka Playmaker View). Where to place the Playmaker View is a matter of preference but this course will use the layout created as follows:
- Make room for PlayMaker by dragging and dropping the Project View tab so that it docks to the left of the Hierarchy View as a tab
- Select PlayMaker>Playmaker Editor
- The PlayMaker Editor View will float in the foreground as will the Welcome To PlayMaker window
- Choose whether or not the Welcome to PlayMaker window should Show at Startup and close the window
- Drag and drop the PlayMaker Editor View so that it docks to the left of the Console View as a tab
- If you haven’t already, download and import Ecosystem; select PlayMaker>Add-Ons>Ecosystem, follow the links, and then open the downloaded file with Unity
- Select PlayMaker>Add-Ons>Ecosystem>Ecosystem Browser (Alt+E)
- Drag and drop the Ecosystem View so that it docks to the right of the Console View
- Select PlayMaker>Editor Windows>Action Browser (aka Actions View)
- Note that sometimes Actions View will not appear unless PlayMaker View is selected first
- Drag and drop the Actions View so that it docks to the right of the Inspector View as a tab
- Select PlayMaker>Editor Windows>Global Variables (aka Globals View)
- Drag and drop the Globals View so that it docks to the right of the Actions View as a tab
- Click Window>Layouts>Save Layouts
- Dial down the slider in the right-hand panel of Project View so that the icons are of minimal size
- In the resulting window type in “playMakerLayout” and click on the Save button
Fig. 7.2 Shows the completed custom PlayMaker Layout
- You’ve just created a Layout!
After PlayMaker Editor, the next option is Editor Windows much of which has already been explored in the creation of our PlayMaker Layout. Template Brower. FSMs can be saved and shared (among Scenes, Projects, and people) as Templates. To save an FSM as a Template, select the GameObject that the FSM is applied to, and in the graph section of Playmaker View, right-click and select “Save FSM as Template.” Note that they should be saved to the default location for ease of retrieval. Importing a template simply involves moving/pasting the template to the template directory of the receiving Project (making it one more exception to the rule that you not move Project files about in the OS). Category and Description of the Template can be edited in the Templates View. This is, of course, also where Templates are loaded from. Templates can be assigned to GameObjects by first selecting the intended GameObject and in the graph section of the Playmaker View, right-click and select “Add Template,” then choose the desired Template. Keep in mind that these are Templates and not some sort of FSM clone. Once applied, many of the parameters will need updating.
The next option is Components. PlayMaker adds functionality to GameObjects much like a Component does. Components result from scripts and Playmaker Finite State Machines are an alternative to scripting/coding. It should be no surprise then that each PlayMaker Finite State Machine added to a GameObject shows up as a Component in the Inspector View.
Fig. 7.3 Shows an example FSM as an attached component
“Add FSM To Selected Objects” is the first step in creating a Finite State Machine that will make your GameObject go. FSMs are more efficiently added to GameObjects by selecting a GameObject, right-clicking in the PlayMaker View, and choosing Add FSM.
Playmaker simplifies GUI manipulation by adding its own Finite State Machine functionality. To work, however, PlayMakerGUI must be added to the scene. This can be accomplished by clicking Components>Add PlayMakerGUI to Scene.
The next option tree’s trunk is Tools. Export Globals and Import Globals allows you to import and export global variables to and from Projects. Custom Action Wizard allows programmers to create additional Actions for PlayMaker from scripts. Again, many users will post their home-grown Actions in the Hutong Games website’s forums so check there regularly for free stuff. Documentation Helpers allows Action authors to append helpful information to their submissions.
The next subset of options can be safely ignored; there’s very little cause to Update All Loaded FSMs or Update All FSMs in Build. The same holds true for Load All PlayMaker Prefabs In Project and Preprocess Prefab FSMs.
Pre-Update Check is a relatively new and eminently useful feature. Running a Unity update with an outmoded Playmaker install can destroy your entire Project; the converse is just as dangerous. Running Pre-Update Check is a good way to see if there are any troublesome conflicts between your version of Playmaker and your version of Unity. In any event, always create triply-redundant backups of your Project BEFORE UPDATING ANYTHING! Speaking of redundancies, Submit Bug Report makes its first, but not last, appearance here.
By now you’ve noticed that most of the Main Menu Bar options’ names explain their functionality. This is good practice and something to remember when it comes time to name Components, Variables, PlayMaker FSMs, and other Project parts. Case in point, Help will connect you to help. All of these options, Guided Tour, Online Manual, YouTube Channel, and PlayMaker Forums are meant to connect you with the resources you need to operate PlayMaker competently (though the best resource is already in your hands). As mentioned before, PlayMaker Forums in particular is useful; many Custom Actions can be found here generously donated by fellow PlayMakers. About elicits the standard fare for such a button: authors and contributors, the software version, release notes, and a link to the Hutong Game’s website.
Welcome Screen has been covered previously. If you’ve deselected Show at Startup and need to access the Welcome Screen window again, it is available here.
After the divisor is listed Addons. As previously noted, PlayMaker’s own extensibility manager, Ecosystem, is exposed here. While Ecosystem is accessed through Addons, any subsequent addons and their documentation are in turn accessed through Ecosystem. As currently configured, Assets and Ecosystem expose variations on concatenations which include the word “toggle.” Clicking these options has the same effect as closing or opening the corresponding tab.
The most important aspect of this lesson was the creation of our Custom Layout. Be aware of the options available through the PlayMaker drop-down menu. The most important aspects of PlayMaker, however, are amassed in the Views we’ve chosen to appear in the Layout. These will be covered in Section 2. The next lesson we’ve already delved into, briefly. It’s Windows!