Category Archives: Tech Tips

Got a Vive Pro – initial thoughts

Is it worth the money? How different is it?

So I broke down and got a Vive Pro despite its exorbitant price tag. Is it worth it?  Well… probably not, unless you’ve got money to burn.

I hate the idea of playing something like Skyrim VR with the old Vive when I know I could be seeing something prettier if I had better hardware.  It’s like that feeling of sadness I had playing Quest For Glory 2 before I had a sound card; I knew I was missing out on some of the experience.

It’s got some nifty tech inside that may be useful later though – dual cameras for AR stuff and Hololens-like collider detection as well as eventual 10×10 meter room support when the new base stations are released. (a 10×10 VR play space in Japan? let me pause to laugh uncontrollably followed by a single tear down the cheek)

In a year they’ll probably have one neat package with all the new stuff, so better for most to wait for that.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I felt like the optics were slightly blurrier on the peripheral areas as compared to the original.  Might be my imagination or something specific to my eyes, dunno.  I took some pics through the lenses with both devices with this setup to compare:

 

It’s all quite scientific, let me assure you. Yeah.

I couldn’t really notice a different in the edge lens distortion from the pics.  Here’s a comparison of the square from the middle, you can see there really is less screen-door effect now though.

Pics are from Skyrim VR

My NVidia 1080ti seems to run content at the same FPS as the old Vive, so so no real downside to the switch I guess.  It seems about equally as comfortable as the original Vive, that is to say, extremely uncomfortable.

4/24 2018 Update: HTC has announced an “aimed at the enterprise” $1399 Vive Pro full kit that includes the new 2.0 base stations and controllers, which in theory will offer better tracking and huge spaces.  A word of warning – unless they just started shipping with a new cable, the Vive Pro cable is the same length as the Vive, meaning larger spaces wouldn’t do you much good until the wireless addon is released later this year. (?)

How to get your Unity LLAPI/WebSocket WebGL app to run under https with AutoSSL & stunnel

<continuing my “blog about whatever random issue I last dealt with in the hopes that some poor soul with the same issue will google it one day” series>

The problem

So you made your new Unity webGL game using the LLAPI and it works fine from a http:// address.  But when you try with https, even with a valid https cert being installed, you get this error:

“Uncaught SecurityError: Failed to construct ‘WebSocket’: An insecure WebSocket connection may not be initiated from a page loaded over HTTPS.”

This is your browser saying “Look, the website is https, but don’t let that fool you; it’s using a normal old web socket to send data under the hood which isn’t encrypted, so don’t trust this thing with your credit card numbers”.

Unity (at the time of this writing) has no internal support for what we really need to be using:  a Secure Web Socket.  So where http has https, ws has wss.  So how do we connect securely if our unity-based server binary can’t serve wss directly?

A little background info about CPanel & AutoSSL

Note: I’m using CentOS 7 on a dedicated server with WHM/CPanel

Setting up your website for proper SSL so it can have that wonderful green padlock used to be a painful and sometimes expensive ordeal.

But no longer!  Enter the magic of CPanel’s AutoSSL.  (I think it’s using Let’s Encrypt under the hood as a plugin?)  Behind the scenes, it will handle domain validation and setup everything for you.  While it does need to renew your cert everything three months, it’s free and automatic.  Add four new domains?  They will all get valid certs within a day or so, it’s great.

We can use this same cert to make your websockets secure as long as they are hosted at the same domain.

Setting up stunnel

This is an open source utility that is likely already included on  your linux server box, if it isn’t, go install it with yum or something.

It allows you to convert any socket into a secure socket.  For example, if you have a telnet port at 1000, you could setup stunnel to listen at 1001 securely and relay all information back to 1000.

The telnet connection has no idea what’s happening and sees no difference, but as long as the outside user can only access 1001, plain text information isn’t sent along the wire and one or both sides can be sure of the identity of who’s connecting.

Depending on the stunnel settings, it might be setup like https where the client doesn’t have to have any certain keys (what we want here), or it could be like a ssh where the client DOES need a whitelisted key.

A way to test a SSL port is to use OpenSSL from the command line on the host server via ssh.  For example (keep in mind 443 is the standard https port your website is probably using):

<at ssh prompt> openssl s_client -connect localhost:443

<info snipped>
subject=/OU=Domain Control Validated/OU=PositiveSSL/CN=host.toolfish.com
issuer=/C=US/ST=TX/L=Houston/O=cPanel, Inc./CN=cPanel, Inc. Certification Authority
---
No client certificate CA names sent
Peer signing digest: SHA512
Server Temp Key: ECDH, P-256, 256 bits
---
SSL handshake has read 4946 bytes and written 415 bytes
---
New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is ECDHE-RSA-AES256-GCM-SHA384
Server public key is 2048 bit
Secure Renegotiation IS supported
Compression: NONE
Expansion: NONE
No ALPN negotiated
SSL-Session:
 Protocol : TLSv1.2
<info snipped>
Start Time: 1518495864
 Timeout : 300 (sec)
 Verify return code: 0 (ok)

Hitting enter after that will probably cause the website to an html error message because we didn’t send a valid request. That’s ok, it shows your website’s existing SSL stuff is working so we can move on.

So first edit your /etc/stunnel/stunnel.conf to something like this:

pid = /etc/stunnel/stunnel.pid

#we won't screw with changing this because we don't want to relocate/change permissions on our files right now
#setuid = nobody
#setgid = nobody

sslVersion = all
options = NO_SSLv2

#for testing purposes.. these should be removed later:
output = /etc/stunnel/log.txt
foreground = yes
debug = 7

[websitename1]
accept = 29000
connect = 80
cert = /var/cpanel/ssl/apache_tls/oversi.io/combined

[websitename2]
accept = 30000
connect = 20000
cert = /var/cpanel/ssl/apache_tls/oversi.io/combined

Next, still from the ssh prompt, run stunnel by typing stunnel.

Because we have foreground=yes set above it will run it in the shell, showing us all output directly, instead of in the background like it normally would. (Ctrl-C to cause stunnel to stop and quit)

Look for any issues or errors it reports.  The .conf file I listed aboveshows how to set it up for two or more tunnels at once, you likely only need one of those settings.

The “websitename1” part doesn’t matter or have to match anything.

The SSL cert is the most important setting.  You need to give it your private & public & CA info in  the same file.

Now, initially, you might try to setup your keys using the files in ~/ssl/keys and ~/ssl/certs but they seem to not have everything all in one nice file including the CA certs.  I figured out ‘bundled’ ones already exist in a cpanel directory so I linked straight to them there.  (replace oversi.io with your website name)

If stuff worked, you should be able to test your SSL’ed port with OpenSSL again.  In the example above under “websitename1” I told it to listen at 29000 and send to port 80, for no good reason.

So to test from a remote computer we can do:

(you did open those ports in your firewall so outside people can connect, right?)

C:\Users\Seth>openssl s_client -connect oversi.io:29000
Loading 'screen' into random state - done
CONNECTED(00000270)
depth=2 /C=GB/ST=Greater Manchester/L=Salford/O=COMODO CA Limited/CN=COMODO RSA Certification Authority
verify error:num=20:unable to get local issuer certificate
verify return:0
---
Certificate chain
 0 s:/CN=oversi.io
 i:/C=US/ST=TX/L=Houston/O=cPanel, Inc./CN=cPanel, Inc. Certification Authority
 1 s:/C=US/ST=TX/L=Houston/O=cPanel, Inc./CN=cPanel, Inc. Certification Authority
 i:/C=GB/ST=Greater Manchester/L=Salford/O=COMODO CA Limited/CN=COMODO RSA Certification Authority
 2 s:/C=GB/ST=Greater Manchester/L=Salford/O=COMODO CA Limited/CN=COMODO RSA Certification Authority
 i:/C=SE/O=AddTrust AB/OU=AddTrust External TTP Network/CN=AddTrust External CA Root
---
Server certificate
-----BEGIN CERTIFICATE-----
<snipped>
-----END CERTIFICATE-----
subject=/CN=oversi.io
issuer=/C=US/ST=TX/L=Houston/O=cPanel, Inc./CN=cPanel, Inc. Certification Authority
---
No client certificate CA names sent
---
SSL handshake has read 5129 bytes and written 453 bytes
---
New, TLSv1/SSLv3, Cipher is DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA
Server public key is 2048 bit
Secure Renegotiation IS supported
Compression: NONE
Expansion: NONE
SSL-Session:
 Protocol : TLSv1
<snipped>
 Key-Arg : None
 Start Time: 1518497616
 Timeout : 300 (sec)
 Verify return code: 20 (unable to get local issuer certificate)
read:errno=10093

Despite the errno=11093 and return code 20 errors, it’s working and properly sending our CA info (“cPanel, Inc. Certification Authority”).

Or, easier, let’s just use the browser instead for this one since we’re connecting to port 80 if it works in this case:

https://oversi.io:29000

It worked, see the green padlock?  Oh, ignore the error the website is sending, I assume that’s apache freaking out because the URL request is different from what it’s expecting (http vs https or the port difference?) so it can’t match up the virtual domain.

From here, you should probably remove the debug options in the .conf (including the foreground=yes) and set it up to run automatically.  I just placed “stunnel” in my /etc/rc.d/rc.local file. (this gets run at boot)

Actually connecting using the Unity LLAPI

Congratulations, everything is setup on the server and you’re sure your web socket port is listening and ready to go.

While your server binary doesn’t need to change anything, your webgl client does.

You now need to connect to WSS instead of WS.  Example:

try
 {
   _connectionID = NetworkTransport.Connect(_hostID, "wss://oversi.io", portNum, 0, out error);
 }
 catch (System.Exception ex)
 {
   Debug.Log("RTNetworkClient.Connect> " + ex.Message);
 }

That’s pretty much it.  If someone doesn’t care about https and decides to play over http, it still works fine. (internally the websocket code will still connect via wss)

If you want to see it in action, check out my webgl llapi multiplayer test project https://www.oversi.io

Unity snippet: Finding a GameObject by name, even inactive or disabled ones

I use GameObject.Find() in Unity for things like enabling or fading in/out a menu or to grab an object reference via code to store for later.   (I usually prefer doing things in code rather than drag and dropping references using the Unity Editor when I can)

A problem is GameObject.Find() won’t locate inactive gameobjects which causes me problems because I tend to have inactive object trees in a scene that are just turned on/off when they are being used, like a GUI menu for example.  It’s just kind of my programming style to do things that way.

I couldn’t find a clean full snippet for this online that used scene.GetRootGameObjects, so figured I’d post one.

Cut and paste this to MyUtils.cs or your own utils class:

using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using UnityEngine;
using UnityEngine.SceneManagement;

public class MyUtils 
{

    //hideously slow as it iterates all objects, so don't overuse!
    public static GameObject FindInChildrenIncludingInactive(GameObject go, string name)
    {

        for (int i = 0; i < go.transform.childCount; i++)
        {
            if (go.transform.GetChild(i).gameObject.name == name) return go.transform.GetChild(i).gameObject;
            GameObject found = FindInChildrenIncludingInactive(go.transform.GetChild(i).gameObject, name);
            if (found != null) return found;
        }

        return null;  //couldn't find crap
    }

    //hideously slow as it iterates all objects, so don't overuse!
    public static GameObject FindIncludingInactive(string name)
    {
        Scene scene = SceneManager.GetActiveScene();
        var game_objects = new List();
        scene.GetRootGameObjects(game_objects);

        foreach (GameObject obj in game_objects)
        {
            GameObject found = FindInChildrenIncludingInactive(obj, name);
            if (found) return found;
        }

        return null;
    }

}

And use it from anywhere like:

GameObject obj = MyUtil.FindIncludingInactive(“MyMenuName”);

How to do your Unity builds in the background

If you’ve looked at my recent Unity-related posts and downloaded the projects, you might have noticed I have .bat files like CreateAndUploadWebGLBuild.bat in there to cleanly create final versions easily.

Great.  But if you run this .bat file while you are working on the game with the Unity editor, you’ll get this error:

Aborting batchmode due to failure:
Fatal Error! It looks like another Unity instance is running with this project open.

Multiple Unity instances cannot open the same project.

Ugh.  WebGL builds are especially are incredible slow, so this is a big productivity waster if you’re doing a lot of WebGL testing.  (If you work at a big company and waiting for builds is your favorite time to make coffee and catch up on reddit, well, close this page right now and hope your boss never reads this!)

Cloud Build?

Maybe you could use Unity’s Cloud Build but there are some down sides:

  • Cost $9 a month?
  • Requires that you commit each change to a cvs such as svn, perforce, or git
  • I doubt it can do custom post build commands such as code signing, building a final installer, or rscying files to a linux server and restarting the process.  I guess you could do those things yourself when the build is done, but heck, why not just handle the build yourself from the start.
  • Requires that all your assets are also on cvs (?)

The DIY way

So let’s do it old school with … yep, you guessed it… even more .bat files!  The secret is very simple, Unity will allow you to build in the background if the project directory is different.

You just need to copy your entire project to a temporary folder, then run Unity.exe with parms to do a headless build like normal.

So when you are in a good place with your project and would like to start a background build, hit Ctrl-S to save, then run your “CopyToTempDirAndBuild.bat” file.

After a couple seconds the initial copy is done and it’s safe to continue working while the build is happening in the temp directory – any changes will not be in the temp directory, so your build in progress won’t be affected.  So you can keep working away, without ever closing your main unity editor window.

It’s not especially tricky to do, but here are some .bat files to look at as an example that could be tweaked.

To copy a directory tree to a temp dir: (it assumes the .bat is run from the directory that’s going to be copied)

CloneToTempDir.bat

:this sets some info about the project, for example, it causes %APP_NAME% to hold our main directory name
call app_info_setup.bat

rmdir ..\%APP_NAME%Temp%1 /S /Q
echo Cloning %APP_NAME% to temp dir %APP_NAME%Temp%1...
mkdir ..\%APP_NAME%Temp%1
xcopy . ..\%APP_NAME%Temp%1\ /E /F /Y /EXCLUDE:%cd%\CloneExclusionList.txt

Note:  You may wonder why I’m being repetitive and using “Temp” everywhere instead of including it in a variable.  It’s because you NEVER, NEVER use things like rmdir with only a variable if you can help it, because at some point, that variable is going to be set incorrectly.  It might be  .. or / or something and you’ll delete your whole hard drive.  Safety first.

Another note: %cd% is a DOS trick to get the current full directory

CloneExclusionList.txt contains dirs we don’t want to waste time copying:

Temp\
Library\
build\win
build\linux
build\web\Build

BuildAndUploadWebGLInClonedDir.bat

:this sets some info about the project, for example, it causes %APP_NAME% to hold our main directory name
call app_info_setup.bat
:Setting no pause causes our .bat files to not do pause commands when they are done
set NO_PAUSE=1
:First, let's customize the directory name we're going to close to, by adding a postfix to make it unique
SET CLONE_DIR_POSTFIX=WebGL
:Now let's actually make it, we'll pass in the postfix as a parm
call CloneToTempDir.bat %CLONE_DIR_POSTFIX%

:Move to build dir
cd ../%APP_NAME%Temp%CLONE_DIR_POSTFIX%
:Do the actual build
call BuildWebGL.bat
call UploadWebGLRsync.bat
:Move back out of it
cd ..
:Delete the temp dir we were just using
rmdir %APP_NAME%Temp%CLONE_DIR_POSTFIX% /S /Q
pause

This calls CloneToTempDir.bat with the parm “WebGL” which gets appended to the <AppName>Temp dir.

It then “calls” (this means run another .bat, and come back when it’s done) .bats to create the webgl build and also upload it to the website.

It then destroys the temp directory completely, a good idea because Unity will mark it as the last project and you don’t want to accidently work on that directory later.

Parallel Builds

If you’ve got 16 threads sitting around like I do, it might make sense to build MORE THAN ONE version at a time. (now you see why I use a custom temp dir name for each build)

Apparently, Unity doesn’t care how many simultaneous builds you’re doing on a single computer, as long as its license is valid. (I’m using a pro license)

The key to running parallel builds is to use the “start” command instead of “call”. This means “run this, but instead of waiting, just continue running the rest of this .bat file”.

MakeEverythingInCloneDirs.bat

start BuildAndUploadWebGLInClonedDir.bat
start BuildAndUploadLinux64InClonedDir.bat

So, including the Unity editor you have open, when this is run you’ll have THREE instances of Unity running on the same computer at once.  It all works fine!

Continuous integration as a background operation on the same computer you develop on

If you add a “goto :start” at the bottom of your .bat and a “:start” label at the top, you can “clone and build” non-stop all day.  I don’t see this as very useful as it’s going to break all the time as we’re not doing controlled commits with a cvs but I thought I’d throw that there.