Upgrading from Unity 5.4 to 5.6

Recently had the need to upgrade a couple of projects from Unity 5.4 to 5.6 and after much trial and error and scouring the net for solutions I finally managed it. My project uses two plugins which do not play well with Unity 5.6, these include:

  • TextMeshPro – Do not use the version that is currently on the asset store (Version: 1.0.55.0b11) or your project will explode, instead grab it from here. If you already have a version of TextMesh Pro installed into your project then delete it (backup fist!), then install the version this link
  • Chartboost – Update to version 6.6.4 as previous versions do not compile with Unity 5.6!

The Facebook SDK (I’m still using an old 7.8 in my project), I’m about to check out if that works, wish me luck :) .

From Unity 3D to Facebook Hosted!

So I decided to have a go at getting one of my mobile games up and running on Facebook’s site, chatting to other game developers they warned me to steer clear as its a pain and it will eventually break when they change to the next API release etc… Of course I didn’t heed their advice and went ahead and gave it a try. The main reason being that Facebook now host game content for you, so you no longer need to host it on your own web site using up your own meagre bandwidth and best of all you do not need to buy and manage SSL certificates, whats not to like.

Exporting to Unity WebGL

So the first thing I did was export a build to WebGL gave it a quick test. However I didn’t like the Unity logo, app name or full screen button at the bottom of the screen so I opened up the exported index.html and commented out the following lines of html to remove them and provide a clean clutter free view of my game:

      <div class="logo"></div>
      <div class="fullscreen"><img src="TemplateData/fullscreen.png" width="38" height="38" alt="Fullscreen" title="Fullscreen" onclick="SetFullscreen(1);" /></div>
      <div class="title">Tens Junior</div>
    <p class="footer">&laquo; created with <a href="http://unity3d.com/" title="Go to unity3d.com">Unity</a> &raquo;</p>

Set the screen resolution

Ok, I wasn’t happy with the default screen resolution that Unity exported my game at so I changed it, taking into account that my game will be shown in a frame on Facebook, so I changed the canvas width and height in the Unity WebGL export settings dialog to 480×800. Lovely, it now fits on a 1080 display.

Create a Facebook App for your game

So I now have an app that I can submit to Facebook and have it hosted by them, the next thing to do is to go and create a Facebook app. To do that head over to the Facebook Developer Site and create an app. When creating the app ensure that you add the Facebook Web Games platform and in settings ensure that you have WebGL and Simple Application Hosting enabled. In general settings also ensure that you at least provide App Name, Email Address, Privacy Policy URL, App Icon (1024×1024) and select the Games category.

Uploading your game to Facebook to be hosted

In the Facebook Web Games section, locate the Simple Application Hosting section, just beneath that there is a link named “uploaded assets”, click that link, a new browser tab will open which takes you to the Manage Hosted Asset section, click the add and setup button to the top right then under Hosting Type select Unity (WebGL).

Now go to your Unity exported WebGL folder and zip up all the files, this should include index.html, TemplateData and Release folders, ensure that index.html is in the root of the zip. Go back to Facebook Manage Hosted Assets section and click the Upload Version button, select the zip you just created then upload. The file will show up as processing, after a while this will change to Standby, at this point you can push your app to production by clicking on the small Move to Production button (If you want to later replace the build with a new version, simply move the build back to Standby by clicking the Move to Standby button, delete the build then re-upload a replacement.

Once the build is live you can visit your app url (see the Facebook Web Games Page URL in the Facebook Web Games section of your apps settings). Visit this URL and you will be able to test the game. Note that your game will not go live however until it is reviewed by Facebook and approved.

Getting reviewed

I am quite lucky with my game because I do not require any extra permissions. The game only logs into Facebook, uses the players profile picture and shares the players progress via the share dialog. To get the ball rolling you need to click the Add Products button to left hand side of the screen in app settings then select “App Centre”, fill out a bunch of info about the app including short / long description, app icons / screen shots etc. Once that is added you can submit for review. Note that if you need any additional permissions such as publish_action then you will need to provide additional info during submission.

Finally don’t forget to make your app public (go to the App Review section of the apps settings and click the button at the top of the screen, this will toggle your app between live and development mode).

The end result can be seen by taking a look at Tens Maths IQ Challenge on Facebook.

Facebook Share Dialog Borked!

Checked your games with Facebook integration lately? Noticed how they no longer share the title and descriptions that you so beautifully crafted?

Ok, there seem to have been some changes over at Facebook to the share dialog from what I understand you can no longer specify the contentTitle / contentDescription of the post being shared when you share a link, instead it is populated with Facebook scraped data. This is quite devastating for game developers that would like to share a custom story of the player doing something cool in their game. There does appear to be a way around it however, the link that you supply to the Facebook dialog is scraped by Facebook and any open graph tags (OG tags) are read and used to describe the content in the Facebook share dialog. Now using a simple server script we can generate a page with the tags in based on data passed to the URL via GET. A simple such script would look something like this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
<head>
    <meta charset='utf-8'>
	<meta property="og:type" content="article" />
<?php

	$title = $_GET["t"];
	$description = $_GET["d"];
	$icon = $_GET["i"];
	$title = htmlspecialchars($title);
	$description = htmlspecialchars($description);
	$icon = htmlspecialchars($icon);

	echo "    <meta property='og:title' content='" . $title . "' />\n";
	echo "    <meta property='og:description' content='" . $description ."' />\n";
	echo "    <meta property='og:image' content='" . $icon . "' />\n";
?>
</head>
<body>
</body>
</html>

You would obviously need to work this into some type of landing page or the page your user will be redirected to when they click the link in the shared post will be blank!

Booty5 HTML5 Game Maker 1.9.3b out now – Droidscript support added

It has been a long while since I released an update of Booty5, but at last it is here. A good fellow over at Droidscript got in touch to let me know that they had added a plugin for their awesome app (check it out to see what I mean by awesome) which enables developers to develop games using the Booty5 API directly on an Android device and / or via a desktop browser, which to me is coolness of a higher degree. I had planned a release of Booty5 to push out the latest changes to the engine as well as support for texture packer trimmed bitmaps amongst other things so I went ahead and interfaced the Booty5 editor directly with the Droidscript app allowing games to be sent directly to Droidscript and played on the device. This provides a very rapid development environment directly on device.

The changes for this release include:

  • By setting the host in project settings to the wifi address supplied to you by the Droidscript app and checking the Droidscript checkbox, you can run your projects directly on a connected Android device
  • Updated to the very latest Booty5 engine which includes support for features like tasks, events and smaller exported scene data
  • Open in IDE no longer opens in WebStorm by default, instead Visual Studio Code is used
  • Projects no longer deploy separate source files, instead booty5_debug.js or booty5_min.js are deployed
  • Socket.io can now be exported with projects
  • New export location added to project properties that allows you to specify where deployed files will go when running / testing
  • Host project property added which allows deployed projects to launch a specific host url when running / testing
  • Added two new canvas fit modes, Fit Greatest / Fit Smallest
  • Added Body and Head properties to project properties, additional html can be added here to be exported in the body and head sections of the html file
  • Added nodejs command prompt button
  • Fixed crash bug when creating a label with no font
  • Added animation sets to brushes
  • Removed animation frames, start frame and playback speed from actors, you now specify the animation name to play as default
  • Get actor size will now get brush size if no geometry attached

Note that the Booty5 plugin for Droidscript is currently in beta (see the beta group for more details.)

The manual and API documentation have also been updated so please don’t forget to view / grab them.

The changes to the Booty5 engine v1.5.2 include:

  • Added support for events and event notification (see b5.EventsManager)
  • Added support for tasks (see b5.TasksManager)
  • Added support to brushes for animation sets
  • Added support to actors for working with brush animation sets (see b5.Actor.playAnim)
  • Bitmap based actors now support trimmed atlas images
  • Image based actors that use an atlas will use the size of the atlas frame, can be overridden by setting ignore_atlas_size to true
  • Removed support for web Marmalade
  • All booty5 scene data is now loaded into the b5.data space instead of window
  • Xoml data property names have been minified to greatly cut down Xoml datas format storage size
  • Added polyfill for RequestAnimationFrame to support older browsers
  • Some examples have been updated to fix various issues

Booty5 is a free Javascript based HTML5 game engine available on Github and a fully fledged game / app editor available for free. See the Booty5 HTML5 game maker website for more details.

Happy coding, don’t forget to leave feedback and report issues on Facebook / Google+ etc…

Creating a Unity leaderboard using node.js and redis

I’ve recently added a new node.js based leaderboard system for Unity to Github. I’m going to use something like this in my next game which will feature global leaderboards as a major focus of the game.You can grab the code from Github.

Let start by taking a look at what the repo contains:

Node.js Server

The server side code is written in JavaScript using Node.js with Redis for super fast storage. To use this code you will need a web server that allows you to host your own node.js scripts. There are plenty of super cheap VPS providers around these days so if you go that route take a look at my article on installing node on your own VPS here. You will also need Redis, take a look at my article on installing Redis here.

Once you have everything installed and setup, run main.js located in the Server folder to set the leaderboards server off going:


node main.js

Once running, the server will be listening for connections from Unity on the default port which is set in server.js.

The entire leaderboards service consists of 3 files:

  • server.js – The web server which interacts with the Uniy app
  • leaderboard.js – The leaderboard code which communicates with Redis to store an retrieve persistent data
  • main.js – A main file to create the server and set it off running

The code in server,js is straight forward and much of it was already covered in this article here. The main changes include dealing with data hiding, we now pass the data base64 encoded via the d parameter:

var vars = body.split("=");
if (vars[0] == "d")
{
	var data = Buffer.from(vars[1], "base64");
	console.log("Data: " + data);
	this.processCommand(data.toString(), res);
}

Here we decode the base 64 string data then pass it on to be processed. This enables me to encrypt the data at the other end then decrypt it when it arrives at this end (not covered in this article), this will allow me to hide what is sent and minimise the chance that someone spams my leaderboards with fake data.

The next major change is to handle commands that are passed to the server, to allow the client to perform different actions such as submit a score or get the users rank etc..

leaderboard.js was added to take care of all actions that are related to dealing with the actual leaderboard data, such as chatting to Redis about what to do with the data. The leaderboard class handles all of this including pushing multiple commands to Redis in one go instead of sending them separately to speed things up. For example sending scores to multiple leaderboards at the same time:

setUserScores(userName, scores, cb)
{
	var multi = this.client.multi();
	for (var t = 1; t < this.MAX_BOARDS + 1; t++)
	{
		var name = this.boardName + ":" + t;
		if (scores[t - 1] > 0 && scores[t - 1] < this.MAX_SCORE)
			multi.zadd([name, scores[t - 1], userName]);
	}
	multi.exec((err, replies) =>
	{
		if (cb) cb(err);
	});
}

Here we issue many zadd commands to redis at the same time.

Unity Client

The Unity client code is implemented in Leaderboards.cs located in the Client folder. Lets take a quick look at the code:

using UnityEngine;
using UnityEngine.Networking;
using System.Collections;
using System;
using System.Text;

public class Leaderboards : MonoBehaviour
{
    public const int RANK_INVALID = -1; // The rank is invalid

    private static string _Url = "http://localhost";
    private static string _Port = "8080";

    // Submits users score to the server.
    //
    // @param which             Leaderboard index to submit score to
    // @param score             Score to submit
    // @param userName          Name of user to submit score for
    // @param OnScoreSubmitted  Callback to call when operation completes or fails, a bool is passed to the callback which
    //                          is true if an error occurred or false if not
    //
    public void SubmitScore(int which, int score, string userName, Action<bool> OnScoreSubmitted)
    {
        StartCoroutine(SubmitScoreToServer(which, score, userName, OnScoreSubmitted));
    }

    private IEnumerator SubmitScoreToServer(int which, int score, string userName, Action<bool> OnScoreSubmitted)
    {
        Debug.Log("Submitting score");

        // Create a form that will contain our data
        WWWForm form = new WWWForm();
        StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder("m=score");
        sb.Append("&w=");
        sb.Append(which.ToString());
        sb.Append("&s=");
        sb.Append(score.ToString());
        sb.Append("&n=");
        sb.Append(userName);
        byte[] bytes = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(sb.ToString());
        form.AddField("d", Convert.ToBase64String(bytes));

        // Create a POST web request with our form data
        UnityWebRequest www = UnityWebRequest.Post(_Url + ":" + _Port, form);
        // Send the request and yield until the send completes
        yield return www.Send();

        if (www.isError)
        {
            // There was an error
            Debug.Log(www.error);
            if (OnScoreSubmitted != null)
                OnScoreSubmitted(true);
        }
        else
        {
            if (www.responseCode == 200)
            {
                // Response code 200 signifies that the server had no issues with the data we sent
                Debug.Log("Score send complete!");
                Debug.Log("Response:" + www.downloadHandler.text);
                if (OnScoreSubmitted != null)
                    OnScoreSubmitted(false);
            }
            else
            {
                // Any other response signifies that there was an issue with the data we sent
                Debug.Log("Score send error response code:" + www.responseCode.ToString());
                if (OnScoreSubmitted != null)
                    OnScoreSubmitted(true);
            }
        }
    }

    // Submits a collection of scores to the server.
    //
    // @param scores            Scores to submit, once score per leaderboard
    // @param userName          Name of user to submit score for
    // @param OnScoresSubmitted Callback to call when operation completes or fails, a bool is passed to the callback which
    //                          is true if an error occurred or false if not
    //
    public void SubmitScores(int[] scores, string userName, Action<bool> OnScoresSubmitted)
    {
        StartCoroutine(SubmitScoresToServer(scores, userName, OnScoresSubmitted));
    }

    private IEnumerator SubmitScoresToServer(int[] scores, string userName, Action<bool> OnScoresSubmitted)
    {
        Debug.Log("Submitting scores");

        WWWForm form = new WWWForm();
        StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder("m=scores");
        sb.Append("&a=");
        for (int t = 0; t < scores.Length; t++)
        {
            sb.Append(scores[t].ToString());
            if (t < scores.Length - 1)
                sb.Append(",");
        }
        sb.Append("&n=");
        sb.Append(userName);
        byte[] bytes = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(sb.ToString());
        form.AddField("d", Convert.ToBase64String(bytes));

        UnityWebRequest www = UnityWebRequest.Post(_Url + ":" + _Port, form);
        yield return www.Send();

        if (www.isError)
        {
            Debug.Log(www.error);
            if (OnScoresSubmitted != null)
                OnScoresSubmitted(true);
        }
        else
        {
            if (www.responseCode == 200)
            {
                Debug.Log("Scores sent complete!");
                Debug.Log("Response:" + www.downloadHandler.text);
                if (OnScoresSubmitted != null)
                    OnScoresSubmitted(false);
            }
            else
            {
                Debug.Log("Scores sent error response code:" + www.responseCode.ToString());
                if (OnScoresSubmitted != null)
                    OnScoresSubmitted(true);
            }
        }
    }

    // Gets the user rank from the server.
    //
    // @param which             Leaderboard index to submit score to
    // @param score             Score to submit
    // @param userName          Name of user to submit score for
    // @param OnScoreSubmitted  Callback to call when operation completes or fails, an int is passed to the callback which
    //                          represents the users rank
    //
    public void GetRank(int which, string userName, Action<int> OnRankRetrieved)
    {
        StartCoroutine(GetRankFromServer(which, userName, OnRankRetrieved));
    }

    private IEnumerator GetRankFromServer(int which, string userName, Action<int> OnRankRetrieved)
    {
        Debug.Log("Getting rank");

        WWWForm form = new WWWForm();
        StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder("m=rank");
        sb.Append("&w=");
        sb.Append(which.ToString());
        sb.Append("&n=");
        sb.Append(userName);
        byte[] bytes = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(sb.ToString());
        form.AddField("d", Convert.ToBase64String(bytes));

        UnityWebRequest www = UnityWebRequest.Post(_Url + ":" + _Port, form);
        yield return www.Send();

        if (www.isError)
        {
            Debug.Log(www.error);
            if (OnRankRetrieved != null)
                OnRankRetrieved(RANK_INVALID);
        }
        else
        {
            if (www.responseCode == 200)
            {
                Debug.Log("Get rank complete!");
                Debug.Log("Response:" + www.downloadHandler.text);
                if (OnRankRetrieved != null)
                {
                    int rank = RANK_INVALID;
                    int.TryParse(www.downloadHandler.text, out rank);
                    OnRankRetrieved(rank);
                }
            }
            else
            {
                Debug.Log("Get rank error response code:" + www.responseCode.ToString());
                if (OnRankRetrieved != null)
                    OnRankRetrieved(RANK_INVALID);
            }
        }
    }

    // Gets the users ranks from the server.
    //
    // @param userName          Name of user to submit score for
    // @param OnRanksRetrieved  Callback to call when operation completes or fails, callback has an array of ints, with
    //                          each element representing a leaerboard rank
    //
    public void GetRanks(string userName, Action<int[]> OnRanksRetrieved)
    {
        StartCoroutine(GetRanksFromServer(userName, OnRanksRetrieved));
    }

    private IEnumerator GetRanksFromServer(string userName, Action<int[]> OnRanksRetrieved)
    {
        Debug.Log("Getting ranks");

        WWWForm form = new WWWForm();
        StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder("m=ranks");
        sb.Append("&n=");
        sb.Append(userName);
        byte[] bytes = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(sb.ToString());
        form.AddField("d", Convert.ToBase64String(bytes));

        UnityWebRequest www = UnityWebRequest.Post(_Url + ":" + _Port, form);
        yield return www.Send();

        if (www.isError)
        {
            Debug.Log(www.error);
            if (OnRanksRetrieved != null)
                OnRanksRetrieved(null);
        }
        else
        {
            if (www.responseCode == 200)
            {
                Debug.Log("Get ranks complete!");
                Debug.Log("Response:" + www.downloadHandler.text);
                if (OnRanksRetrieved != null)
                {
                    string[] sranks = www.downloadHandler.text.Split(',');
                    int[] ranks = new int[sranks.Length];
                    int i = 0;
                    foreach (string s in sranks)
                    {
                        ranks[i] = RANK_INVALID;
                        int.TryParse(sranks[i], out ranks[i]);
                        i++;
                    }
                    OnRanksRetrieved(ranks);
                }
            }
            else
            {
                Debug.Log("Get ranks error response code:" + www.responseCode.ToString());
                if (OnRanksRetrieved != null)
                    OnRanksRetrieved(null);
            }
        }
    }
}

This class contains four methods at present:

  • SubmitScore – Submits a score to the server
  • SubmitScores – Submits a collection of scores to the server
  • GetRank – Gets the users rank from the server
  • GetRanks – Gets all of the users ranks from the server

Internally each request to the server is called via a coroutine and the supplied callback that we pass is called when a response from the server comes in, e.g.:

Leaderboards lbds = GetComponent<Leaderboards>();
lbds.GetRank(which, (int rank) =>
{
    // Do something with the result
});

Its also worth mentioning that when we send data to the server we make some effort to hide it which makes it a little harder for someone to spam the server with false scores, e.g.:

// Create a form that will contain our data
WWWForm form = new WWWForm();
StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder("m=score");
sb.Append("&w=");
sb.Append(which.ToString());
sb.Append("&s=");
sb.Append(score.ToString());
sb.Append("&n=");
sb.Append(userName);
byte[] bytes = Encoding.UTF8.GetBytes(sb.ToString());
form.AddField("d", Convert.ToBase64String(bytes));

Note how we firstly encode the data to bytes then convert it to a base 64 string, this enables us to add a step between, where we can encrypt the byte data using whatever means we like.

Whats coming next….

I plan to extend the server to allow queries of the data, so I can for example view all of the leaderboards from a website and possibly on device.

Installing Redis to Windows / Linux

I recently began adding support for a global leaderboard system to my latest Unity game and decided that instead of the huge overhead related to going the RDBMS SQL route that i would have a crack at implementing back-end storage using a NoSQL database instead, which whilst much faster than traditional RDBMS is much more restrictive in terms of query. In fact Redis is for all intents and purposes almost impossible to query in any kind of depth. That said, I am not particularly interested in its relational query features but more in its ability to store and run basic queries on data very quickly, which Redis does extremely well.

Note that I am writing this article with a view to using Redis from Node.js, I will cover using Redis from .NET Core in a later article. If you missed my article on installing node.js then look here.

What is Redis

Redis is a fast in memory key/value store that can be used like a database. It differs aainly to SQL in that complex queries cannot be ran on the data, but if you do not need to carry out complex queries on the data (for example a persistent game world map or a leaderboard) then something like redis is ideal for storing the data.

Installing Redis

Windows

For Windows download the MSI release from here then install it. Redis will be installed as a service. You can take a look in Task Manager to ensure that Redis is running. To confirm the install open up command prompt and run Redis command line interface redis-cli.

Linux

Installing redis on Linux is not so easy because you need to build the latest stable release, firstly lets get the tools you are going to need to build Redis:


sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install build-essential
sudo apt-get install tcl8.5

Download and untar the latest stable build:


wget http://download.redis.io/releases/redis-stable.tar.gz
tar xzf redis-stable.tar.gz

Now lets build Redis:


cd redis-stable
make
make test
sudo make install

Run Redis as a background daemon (a script has been provided to do this), note that you will be asked to set some options, just choose the defaults for the moment:


cd utils
sudo ./install_server.sh

The above script creates a script in etc\init.d called redis_6379 (the numbers represent the port that you selected during install).

To get Redis to run automatically on boot:


sudo update-rc.d redis_6379 defaults

Installing Redis client library for Node.js

This is actually very simple, run the following:


npm install redis

We can now reference Redis from Node.js by importing Redis in our Node.js code:


var redis = require("redis");

Testing Redis with Node.js

Create a new file called redis_test.js and add the following code:


var redis = require("redis");

// Create the redis client
var client = redis.createClient();
client.on("error", function (err)
{
console.log("Redis error: " + err);
});

// Try out a simple command
client.set("my_key", "some value");

For more information on Redis see the Redis website

Getting Unity 3D and node.js talking

I’m working on a Unity 3D game at the moment that needs a global leaderboard system that works across platform and not tied into the likes of Google Play or Game Centre. After taking a look at various technologies including my old favourite .NET (specifically thew newish .NET Core) I decided to use node.js because a) I want to learn it and b) .NET is a bit of overkill I think.

So I installed node.js then wrote a small server:

"use strict";

var http = require("http");

class Server
{
	constructor()
	{
		this.port = 8080;
		this.ip = "localhost";

		this.start();
	}

	start()
	{
		this.server = http.createServer((req, res) =>
		{
			this.processRequest(req, res);
		});

		this.server.on("clientError", (err, socket) =>
		{
			socket.end("HTTP/1.1 400 Bad Request\r\n\r\n");
		});
		console.log("Server created");
	}

	listen()
	{
		this.server.listen(this.port, this.ip);
		console.log("Server listening for connections");
	}

	processRequest(req, res)
	{
		// Process the request from the client
		// We are only supporting POST
		if (req.method === "POST")
		{
			// Post data may be sent in chunks so need to build it up
			var body = "";
			req.on("data", (data) =>
			{
				body += data;
				// Prevent large files from benig posted
				if (body.length > 1024)
				{
					// Tell Unity that the data sent was too large
					res.writeHead(413, "Payload Too Large", {"Content-Type": "text/html"});
					res.end("Error 413");
				}
			});
			req.on("end", () =>
			{
				// Now that we have all data from the client, we process it
				console.log("Received data: " + body);
				// Split the key / pair values and print them out
				var vars = body.split("&");
				for (var t = 0; t < vars.length; t++)
				{
					var pair = vars[t].split("=");
					var key = decodeURIComponent(pair[0]);
					var val = decodeURIComponent(pair[1]);
					console.log(key + ":" + val);
				}
				// Tell Unity that we received the data OK
				res.writeHead(200, {"Content-Type": "text/plain"});
				res.end("OK");
			});
		}
		else
		{
			// Tell Unity that the HTTP method was not allowed
			res.writeHead(405, "Method Not Allowed", {"Content-Type": "text/html"});
			res.end("Error 405");
		}
	}

}

module.exports.Server = Server;

Create a file called server.js and add the above code.

Note that the above code is designed as a module so you can import it into your own code, e.g.:

var server = require('./server');

var httpServer = new server.Server();
httpServer.listen();

Create a file called main.js and add the above code. Run the server by running node main.js

In the server code we create an instance of a HTTP client then we begin listening for connections. When a connection comes in we read the POST data and print out the key / value pairs that are sent.

On the Unity side we write the following code to test out our mini server:

using UnityEngine;
using UnityEngine.Networking;
using System.Collections;

public class Leaderboards : MonoBehaviour
{
    private static string _Url = "http://localhost";
    private static string _Port = "8080";

    public void SubmitScore(int which, int score)
    {
        StartCoroutine(SubmitScoreToServer(which, score));
    }

    private IEnumerator SubmitScoreToServer(int which, int score)
    {
        Debug.Log("Submitting score");

        // Create a form that will contain our data
        WWWForm form = new WWWForm();
        form.AddField("which", which.ToString());
        form.AddField("score", score.ToString());

        // Create a POST web request with our form data
        UnityWebRequest www = UnityWebRequest.Post(_Url + ":" + _Port, form);
        // Send the request and yield until the send completes
        yield return www.Send();

        if (www.isError)
        {
            // There was an error
            Debug.Log(www.error);
        }
        else
        {
            if (www.responseCode == 200)
            {
                // Response code 200 signifies that the server had no issues with the data we went
                Debug.Log("Form sent complete!");
                Debug.Log("Response:" + www.downloadHandler.text);
            }
            else
            {
                // Any other response signifies that there was an issue with the data we sent
                Debug.Log("Error response code:" + www.responseCode.ToString());
            }
        }
    }
}

In the above code we create a form, add the data that we wish to send then create a web request (UnityWebRequest) to send the form to our test server. We send the request then yield the coroutine until the send completes. We finally test the response code to ensure that our data was sent ok,

To test, add the component to an object and then call SubmitScore(1, 100), you should see the following displayed from node:

Server created
Server listening for connections
Received data: which=1&score=100
which:1
score:100

And in the Unity console you should see:
Submitting score
Form sent complete!
Response:OK

At the moment this is still pretty much test code and doesn’t handle security other than to check for idiots sending really POST data. You should really encrypt the data sent to the server to prevent even bigger idiots from spamming your server with false information.

Next I will be looking at redis as a persistent store for my leaderboard data. I will be extending the node.js server code to include this functionality. I may do a blog on redis soon and then one another that includes details on how to use redis to create a leaderboard.

Installing and running Node.js on a VPS

Introduction

I recently had the requirement to implement a global none app store specific leaderboard system that can track scores and players for a mobile game that I am developing in Unity3D. After much investigation node.js seems to be the technology to use to create a server to handle it. I want it to be as quick as possible without having to resort to C++, plus I’ve been looking for an excuse to play with node.js in more detail. Ok, so I went to ovh.net and purchased one of their super cheap VPS (Virtual private server). I opted for Debian 8 LAMP (this is the Debian 8 Linux OS with, Apache web server, MySQL and PHP). After reading up the set up instructions, I managed to get logged into my VPS using PUTTY on Windows.

Installing node.js on a VPS

First thing to do is install node.js to the VPS. In the Putty terminal type the following:

Download and run the Nodesource PPA (personal package archive) installer script:

cd ~
curl -sL https://deb.nodesource.com/setup_6.x -o nodesource_setup.sh
sudo bash nodesource_setup.sh

Install node.js:

sudo apt-get install nodejs

Install the build essentials for some packages that require compilation

sudo apt-get install build-essential

Testing out the node.js installation

Ok, so now we have node.js installed, its time to create a hello world and run it to ensure that it works. In terminal create hello.js:

cd ~
nano hello.js

If you do not have the nano text editor installed then you can install it as follows:

sudo apt-get install nano

Once the file is open add the following code:

#!/usr/bin/env nodejs
var http = require('http');
http.createServer(function (req, res)
{
    res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});
    res.end('Hello World!\n');
}).listen(8080, 'localhost');
console.log('Server is running at http://localhost:8080/');

Make the script executable:

chmod +x ./hello.js

Run the script:

./hello.js

Note that the script is blocking because it is sat in an infinite loop waiting for connections, so you can no longer type anything into terminal. To test, run another instance of terminal (Putty on Windows) and enter the following to test the script:

curl http://localhost:8080

You should see “Hello World” printed out which is the response from the hello.js script.

Installing and using Process Manager (PM2) for node.js

The next issue we need to look at is how to make our script run in the background so it does not block. To do that we need install a tool called PM2 (process manager for node.js):

sudo npm install -g pm2

Once installed we can set our script off running as a background process with:
pm2 start hello.js

And to make PM2 re-run when the server reboots:

pm2 startup systemd

Note that when PM2 restarts it will restart all of its running processes.

Getting node.js to work with Apache

The general idea is to run the node.js server on a different port and forward requests to a specific url to this port using a reverse proxy. To do this we need to update an Apache config file httpd.conf. Note that if you do not find this file in the /etc/apache2/ directory then you will need to create it and add the following text:

ProxyPass /node http://localhost:8000/
LoadModule proxy_module modules/mod_proxy.so
LoadModule proxy_http_module modules/mod_proxy_http.so

And add the following line to /etc/apache2/apache2.conf to ensure that the file gets included

Include /etc/apache2/httpd.conf

Note that it is likely that the proxy module is not enabled on Apache, in which case enable it using:

a2enmod proxy_http

Now requests to http://www.yourdomain.com/node will be forwarded to localhost:8000, adjust the original hello world node.js script to listen on port 8000 and give it a test.