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Unity3D Python Communication

Unity3D-Python-Communication

⚡️ A very simple, fast, and general inter-process communication example between Unity3D C# and Python, using ZeroMQ.

unity-cmd-play-example.gif PS. It looks slow in the GIF above because I put a delay of one second between each message so that you can see it working.

Introduction

  • Have you ever tried to communicate C# code in Unity3D with Python before but could not find a satisfying solution?
  • Have you ever tried implementing communication protocol using file read/write and found out that it’s a stupid approach?
  • Have you ever tried communicating using Web HTTP request and found out that it’s stupidly slow and high latency?
  • Have you ever tried communicating using socket/TCP/UDP stuff, but it feels like you are reinventing the wheel and you are becoming a network engineer?
  • Have you ever tried to communicate by emulating a serial port, and found out that it’s not how cool guys do work?
  • Have you ever tried to send Unity input to python and do some scientific work (maybe even machine learning task) and return the output to Unity?
  • Have you ever tried to build a .dll from python or even rewrite everything in C# because you don’t know how to communicate between python and C# processes?
  • Have you ever tried to embed IronPython or Python.NET inside Unity but it doesn’t allow you to install your amazing external python libraries? (And its minimal power is pretty ridiculous compared to your external python)
  • Have you ever tried to export a TensorFlow Protobuf Graph (Deep learning model) and use TensorFlowSharp or OpenCVForUnity to import the graph inside Unity because you want to use the model to predict stuff in Unity, but it doesn’t allow you to use/utilize your new NVIDIA GeForce 1080Ti GPU, and it’s also hard to code?
  • Tried MLAgents, anyone?

If you answer Yes to any of these questions but it seems you have found no solutions, then this repository is definitely for you! (If you answered Yes to all questions, you and me are brothers! 😏)

I’ve tried a lot. With a lot of searching on the internet, I’ve found no solutions that is simple, fast, and general enough that I can apply to any kind of communication between Python and Unity3D. All I’ve done in the past were simply a hack to either get my scientific computation work in Unity instead of python, or communicate between the processes painfully.

Until I found ZeroMQ approach from this repository (and some head scratching).

Solution Explanation

I’ve built a request-reply pattern of ZeroMQ where Python (server) replies whenever Unity (client) requests a service from Python.

The idea is to create a separate thread inside Unity that will send a request to python, receive a reply and log the reply to the console.

Most of the code are just copies from the official ZeroMQ tutorial. I try to make this as simple to grasp as possible, so I only log the message to the console and nothing fancy.

Getting Started

  1. Clone this repository using git clone https://github.com/off99555/Unity3D-Python-Communication.git command.
  2. Open UnityProject (its dll files are targeting .NET 4.x version) and run Assets/NetMQExample/Scenes/SampleScene.
  3. Run python file PythonFiles/server.py using command python server.py on a command prompt.
  4. You should start seeing messages being logged inside Unity and the command prompt.

Specifically, Unity will send request with a message Hello 10 times, and Python will simply reply World 10 times. There is a one second sleep between each reply on the server (to simulate long processing time of the request).

Please read the comments inside PythonFiles/server.py and UnityProject/Assets/NetMQExample/Scripts/ and you will understand everything more deeply.

The most important thing is that you should follow the 4 getting started steps first. Don’t skip it! ❣️

After you’ve understood most of the stuff but it’s not advanced enough, you should consult the official ØMQ - The Guide.

Requirements

  • ZeroMQ is a very fast messaging library and it’s simple enough that a few lines of code works.
  • PyZMQ is the Python bindings for ZeroMQ. You can install it using pip install pyzmq command or see more installation options here or here.
  • NetMQ is a native C# port of ZeroMQ. Normally you need to install this using NuGet package manager inside Visual Studio when you want to build a .NET application, or you could install using .NET CLI. But for this repository here, you don’t need to do any of the installation because we’ve already included AsyncIO.dll and NetMQ.dll for you inside UnityProject/Assets/NetMQExample/Plugins/ directory. If you want to build your own dll files, please take a look at this issue.

Troubleshooting

  • While running both servers and clients, I kill the server process, and they don’t work anymore. Is this a bug?

    No, this is the expected behavior of ZeroMQ because of the simplicity of the code. It’s mentioned in the guide here. If you want to make the code better, which is not the focus of this example, you can learn more about ZeroMQ as suggested in the screenshot below. troubleshooting-1.PNG

TODO