Unity3D Thrift Twisted


This is a demo codebase for linking up a Unity3D client with a python twisted server using the Apache Thrift RPC toolset.

The main reason this was created was due to lack of examples and/or information on how to get these two systems to communicate using Thrift.

The project was tested using a Windows client and a Ubuntu 14.04 server.

The project is split into three parts:


The unity3d folder contains a Visual Studio project, generated C# Thrift source files, a collection of Unity3D assets, and a Unity3D Scene with a Startup script attached.

The Startup script uses a small context-managed wrapper object that simply sets up a mapping between generated sources to provide an easy client connection API.


The python folder contains a python-twisted application, generated python-twisted source files, and a requirements file (for easy pip-based installation) to demonstrate a twisted server using generated Thrift RPC code.

The python application also employs the use of SQLAlchemy for simple data access and a small helper class for mapping services into a multi-service server.

NOTE: While the demo app uses the SQLAlchemy ORM, it is primarily for demonstration purposes only. There have been a number of discussions (see here and here) on the considerations one needs to take when using SQLAlchemy’s ORM with the Twisted framework, as well as a library which supports non-blocking DB calls. In all likelihood, using the SQLAlchemy ORM out of the box with Twisted is probably a bad idea. It was just the easiest thing to get up and running for a tutorial on Thrift integration.


The thrift folder contains two .thrift files used by the thrift binary to generate both twisted specific python and C# sources for the project.

The files are fairly simple.


Contains a shared service object which the user service inherits from.


Contains a user service and a struct definition for sending users back and forth from server to client.

There is extensive documentation on the thrift protocol all across the interwebs and a wonderful example file in the source code.


Now onto setting up the projects!


My personal preference for python development is the PyCharm IDE but whatever your preference – all you really need is the ability to install the package dependencies and to run the file.


To get your environment setup, I’d suggest using a virtual environment (in addition – I find virtualenvwrapper to be quite handy).

Create the virtual environment and install the requirements:

virtualenv <my/virtualenv/directory>/unity3d-thrift-twisted
source <my/virtualenv/directory>/unity3d-thrift-twisted/bin/activate
pip install -r python/requirements.txt

That’s it! Now you’re ready to run the server and start listening for thrift connections.

The start the server, just run the commands:

cd python/app

You can specify an optional --port argument if you’d like it to listen on something other than 8001.


Make sure you have Unity3D downloaded and installed.

I used the Unity3D free edition (which means desktop project builds only) and I have not attempted to deploy it to any other platforms. I’d wager there might be complications in the event that I did.

Open Unity3D, then go to File > Open Project > Open Other...

Browse to the unity3d folder and click Select Folder.

Once the project is loaded, simply press the play button at the top of the editor and view console output to verify the client and server are interacting properly.


“I keep getting SocketException: No connection could be made because the target machine actively refused it. when I press the play button. pls halp to shot web?”

That means:

  1. The client is not pointing to the right IP address/Port
  2. The server isn’t running
  3. You have some local firewall blocking connections from client to server.

By default, the server listens on all interfaces ( To see what your server’s IP address is, just run the command (assuming a linux machine): ifconfig

“How do I change the IP/Port that my server is trying to connect to?”

To change the IP reference for the server, go to the Startup script and change the following lines to reference your server’s IPv4 address and/or port:

using (ThriftClient clientService = new ThriftClient("User.v1"))


using (ThriftClient clientService = new ThriftClient(
	serviceHost: "<your server IP>", 
	servicePort: <some integer port>)

“Unity keeps complainig about unliked libraries/Thrift won’t compile with the Unity project. What gives?”

You may need to compile it yourself or find some way of acquiring the linked library (I’d suggest downloading and compiling the source, as a Visual Studio solution for doing so is included in the Thrift source code). If this happens, after you’ve acquired a good version of the DLL, simply open the Unity project then drag the DLL file into the unity editor and drop it onto the Assets folder.