unity3d - Which way is better to handle AssetBundle Download Management


Keywords:unity3d 


Question: 

Before going to ask the question, I will explain what kind of requirements I need. In my game, there are a lot of textures needed in order to play it. Because of this and the limitation of ipa size (iOS), I think using assetbundle is a must. Because the existing code implementation, I create the assetbundle, 1 asset bundle for 1 image. For example: I have 100 images, then I will create 100 assetbundle(with the mainasset will be the texture), with the same name.

I want my game can be played offline AFTER at first time the user has downloaded all the needed assetbundles. So if the user play for the first time or download the updated version of my game, the game will be forced into special scene where it will download all needed assetbundle, after that, the user can play the game without internet connection.

I thought there are 2 ways regarding of how to download these assetbundle:

  1. The normal way: I put all 100 assetbundles in my server, and put 1 xml file, which consist all assetbundles information and its version. At the special scene, the game will download the xml file, and from that it will download 100 assetbundles via WWW.LoadFromCacheOrDownload. The purpose is just to store the needed assetbundles to the cache of game. After successfully downloaded all of them, user can play offline and if the game need the assetbundle to be loaded, then I just callagain the WWW.LoadFromCacheOrDownload, since it is still in the cache, it can be played offline. Of course, I assume the cache is still there as long as I dont clear the cache explicitly.

  2. The hard way: I will zip all 100 assetbundle to 1 zip file. The game will download the xml file, and the zip file. I will decompress the zip, and put all 100 assetbundle in the mobile storage (iOS and Android). So after that, in case the game need to load the asset, I just call the WWW.LoadFromCacheOrDownload with the url is using file:/// scheme that point to the path of mobile storage.

Summary:

The Normal Way:

Minus: I assume the cache is still there, but if there is something wrong in the cache, the user can't play the game.

Plus: simple implementation, because the assumption that cache will be fine.

The Hard Way:

Minus: well, i don't know it is minus point or not, but this one, I have to implement the unarchived zip file and store them in storage. More implementation needed at server side and the application side. And since I am newbie, I don't know the best practice in this area.

Plus: more robust

So which one is better ? or any better recommendation?


1 Answer: 

We have essentially implemented a mix of your normal and hard way for our application. As yours, it's rather texture heavy, so most groups of texture assets are packed into their own asset bundles. (In our application texture have a logical grouping, so we don't pack them individually). We however don't download them directly to the cache. We download these to the sdcard and from there load them (or get them from cache) as we need them. (i.e. LoadFromCacheOrDownload).

It depends a bit on your situation, but I would generally advise against packing them into a single zip file. Primarily with regards to updates. It has happened in our case that an asset needed some updates, or that we wanted to add assets later on. By having an XML file or database containing versioning data, updating the data on the device is trivial. And if only one bundle changes, you only need to download that single bundle. And 2MB vs 450MB in our case is quite the difference.