In this tutorial, I walk you through getting started with Unity and SineSpace. From creating accounts to installing and configuring your software. It is a long post, but I wanted to make sure to cover all the steps for people who may be completely unfamiliar with Unity. I organize the page with section headers, feel free to skip through anything you might already be familiar with.
To start creating content in SineSpace, you are going to need a couple user accounts: one as a SineSpace creator, and one for Unity.
The SineSpace Creator Part
If you have already signed up for the SineSpace creator program and your account has been activated, great! Don’t worry if you haven’t, or you aren’t sure what that means. This tutorial will point you in the right direction to get started with SineSpace.
In the SineSpace client, enter your account info, tick the Login to Preview Server checkbox and click the Login button. If that works, then you have an active creator account. If it returns an error, it means you don’t.
Click here to sign up for the creator program. The two options are pretty self-explanatory. If you already have an account for SineSpace, you just aren’t yet signed up for their creator program, click on the Login and Upgrade link. If you have not yet created an account and need to register, click the second link.
When you’re filling out that form, take care to double-check that your email address is correct. If you make a typo or junk the field, it will be a hassle to fix it later. After you fill out and submit the form, the site will send out an automated message to that address to verify that the email is correct. The email contains a link that you need to click on to activate your account. You should receive it almost immediately, if you don’t see it then check your spam folder.
Get the Preview Client
If you’ve only been using the client app that you downloaded from the main site, you may want to take a moment to download the latest preview client from this page. That lets you not only check out upcoming features, but test your stuff as well.
No Cost to Join, But Not Free
There is absolutely no cost to sign up, but that does not mean that the creator program is free. There are a few components to it, and it can be a little confusing, so I’ll try and break it down.
For a start, the house gets a 30% cut of your gold revenue. It’s sort of an app store model, but it also helps subsidize the land program (free basic region for all, low prices are affordably priced).
In addition, they charge a variable admin fee on chashouts. This one has been less clear, and Sine Wave has promised to provide more info on how the admin fees break out in the future. It’s a share of the cost of processing fees when users buy currency. That cost can vary depending on where they buy currency (in the dedicated app or web site versus an in-app purchase on a mobile app).
I think subsidizing the land program is super important. Those coming from Second Life had little in the way of fees, but renting virtual land was expensive. Users had to either pay to rent land, or pay a monthly subscription for access to a tiny plot. I think that kept a lot of people from ever becoming invested. Here, everyone gets a free basic region to start, and the costs for more space are relatively low. It’s a much lower bar for entry, which should mean more invested users and more customers in the long haul.
You can request a cashout at any time, but there is a 5000 gold ($50US) reserve in place. That’s fairly standard, it’s an amount held in reserve against return, fraud, or other issues. Basically it safeguards against somebody creating an account, sneaking a bunch of dodgy content past review and then taking the money and running.
Silver sales are a different story. Silver is a promotional currency with no real-world value. Since you can’t cash it out, any sales in the silver currency immediately show up in your in-world balance and the house does not take a cut.
That’s a basic summary of the program, you can click here to read the Payment EULA.
Make Sure Your SineSpace Creator Account Is Active
I see people occasionally posting in chat about how they think they signed up as a creator a while back, but they can’t log in and can’t remember if they activated their account. Don’t be one of those people!
If you just signed up, and you got that confirmation email and clicked the link, your account should be active. Making sure it’s active is super easy – just repeat that step from before. Launch the SineSpace client app, and tick the checkbox for Login to the Preview Server then click that Login button.
If it works, you’re good to go. If it doesn’t, then give this a shot. Go to the Curator section of the SineSpace site and log in. You may be prompted to accept the terms and conditions. Read through and accept them if necessary. Once you finish you will beable to see the Curator Dashboard (with tabs for Items, Transactions, Payout, etc) – you are finally all set.
The Unity Account Part
SineSpace runs on the Unity game engine. Content creators build and assemble content in the Unity Editor, and then upload it to the SineSpace servers. Getting started with Unity and SineSpace means that you will need an account with Unity.
In order to use the Unity Editor, you need to have an account. There are three different types of accounts to choose from. All of them give you the same Editor functions and basic content-creating capabilities. The personal account is free, and a great place to start out. Plus or pro accounts cost money but offer additional training and discounts on the asset store. Check out this page on Unity’s site comparing the plans, and choose whatever works best for your needs.
Once you set up a Unity account, the go here to download the software. Get the Unity Hub – see this post for more information about the great new version. That will let you install and manage different versions easily, trust me it will make your life easier in the long run.
Once you’ve downloaded, installed, and launched the Unity Hub (it will prompt you for your newly-created account info), click on the Installs tab. Your screen may look a little different than the screenshot above. As of Editor Pack 14, SineSpace allows you to use versions 2017.2.x up to 2018.4.x. As of this writing, Unity 2018.3.x and 2018.4.x still have a few issues that the SineSpace developers are working through (known issues are listed on this wiki page). If you don’t have existing projects or a reason you would need to run an older version, go with Unity 2018.2.x. If you’re feeling adventurous and are willing to put in the additional time to help test, then roll the dice on 2018.4.x.
Once you click the Download button, you’ll get a popup asking you to choose which components you want to install.
Assuming that you have storage space to spare (and you WILL want to have lots of storage space), make sure to tick the boxes for Android Build Support, iOS Build Support, Linux Build Support, WebGL Build Support, and Mac (or PC) Build Support if you see it listed. If you’re short on space you can get by without them, but adding them will give you the ability to set custom per-platform resolution overrides on your images (I’ll write up a separate blog post explaining that in the future). If the Standard Assets box is ticked by default, untick it – from my experience they cause more headaches than they’re worth.
Once you’ve ticked or unticked the relevant boxes, click Done and let the Unity Hub do its thing. It will install that version of Unity for you and manage the folder locations and details. It’s convenient for when you’re starting out and things are fairly straightforward, it is extremely helpful as you get more familiar with Unity and making content for SineSpace and want to juggle different versions of Unity installed on your computer for different projects.
Depending on your connection speed, installing Unity could take a few minutes. Once it finishes, click on the Projects tab and then click on the New button (circled in red above). In the dialog box that comes up, you can enter a filename for your project (I’m choosing Shiny for this tutorial, but you use whatever works for you). If you don’t like the default folder location, you can choose a location for your project – then click the Create Project button. The Unity Hub will do the rest, setting up your project folders and then launching the Unity Editor. Next time you launch the Hub, it will just show your project on the screen.
You Can Haz Unity!
There are tons and tons and tons of tutorials out there that can teach you the basics of using Unity. I am not going to try and cover that ground. In fact, if you are totally new to Unity I strongly encourage you to spend some time surfing the web to find some tutorials that teach you the basic stuff.
I’m here to get you through the stuff that’s specific to SineSpace. And you’re more than halfway there!
Before you go any further, you should take a moment to make sure that Unity did not automatically install its own Post Processing package. As of this writing it is not installed by default, but just in case that changes it’s worth double checking. If both are installed in the project you’ll get console errors and it’s a hassle you don’t need.
Installing the SineSpace Editor Pack
If you haven’t already installed Editor Pack 14, then now is the time to do so. You can get the download link from either the Unity Asset Store, the SineSpace wiki, or from the #betas channel of the SineSpace Discord server.
To install, click on the Assets menu, then choose Import Package -> Custom Package (as pictured above) and then navigate to your downloaded Editor Pack. After you chose to import it, the package will unpack and a separate dialog box will pop up. Click the Import button there and Unity will do the rest (the process will take several minutes).
You’re Getting There
This next step is optional, but I find that moving the console to its own panel helps me keep an eye on what Unity’s doing. It’s easy to do, just one simple step.
Click and drag the Console panel from its default location to the right side of the screen, as I’ve indicated with the red arrow in the picture above. It will attach itself to the side of the existing panel, giving you a separate view that looks like the picture below.
Don’t be put off by all those warnings and errors. Unity has a tendency to list every little potentially problematic thing it encounters. That can be a good thing, though it seems scary when you’re brand new and just trying to figure things out. Click on the Clear button at the top left of the Console panel, and you should see all those errors clear out. As long as console errors will clear for you, everything should be okay.
Install the Editor Pack Settings
With that out of the way, let’s install the Editor Pack Settings (and then double-check the work, since occasionally an Editor Pack build misses a step). Click on the brand new SineSpace menu in your Unity Editor, then click on the Install Editor Pack Settings… option.
Installing the Editor Pack Settings should set your Color Space to linear for you, but occasionally it doesn’t and so you should take a moment to make sure. The SineSpace client app uses the linear color space, so you should use that in your SineSpace project. Use the Edit menu and choose Project Settings, and then, as you see in the image above, choose Linear in the Color Space drop-down menu.
Next, let’s make sure that rendering is set to deferred. While you have the Project Settings panel open, click on the Graphics tab. You need to make sure that the Rendering Path is set to Deferred for Low (Tier 1), Medium (Tier 2), and High (Tier 3).
Mac Users Need One Extra Step
If you’re a Mac user, you will need to manually install the Native Mac Uploader (also known as the New Uploader). The extra step is a slight hassle, but it is far less of a hassle than the steps required to download and install the old uploader (which would occasionally get fussy).
This step is super easy. Click on the SineSpace menu, then choose Tools -> Install -> Native Mac Uploader.
It will take a second to download, unpack, and install the required stuff under the hood, but that is it! You should see a confirmation that everything worked. Now, whenever you’re uploading content and you get asked whether you want to use the old uploader or the new one, choose the new uploader!
Sign In to your Creator Account
With that part done, you can close the Project Settings panel by clicking the red button at the top right, and proceed to Sign In. Simply click on the SineSpace menu and choose Sign In.
That will bring up the Space Upload Settings in your Inspector panel.
This last step should be a piece of cake. Enter the same username (or email address) and password that you used up above when you successfully logged into the Preview Server. Since you already created your account and made sure it was active, you should just log right in and there shouldn’t be any surprises. Once you log in, your Unity Editor is connected to your Creator account, and everything you upload will be properly assigned to you.
Well, that’s it for this tutorial on getting started with Unity and SineSpace, anyway. You now have the software and utilities installed on your computer to get started in Unity and SineSpace. You can now use the Unity Editor to prepare and upload your creations to the SineSpace servers. Check the SineSpace Youtube channel for tutorials on a wide range of content, and watch this space for additional tutorials in the future!
If you have questions or comments, please post in the comments below! If you want personal help or private training, please see this post. Good luck with your projects!