Why use Unity?

Why use Unity?

For today’s post, I’m going to talk about why we chose Unity for Spellstrike. Personally, I guess it all comes down mostly to familiarity and accessibility. I’ve been using Unity since 3.x, and during that timespan I have grown along with the engine. And with each update, Unity introduces new features to explore that keeps itself fresh, and I’m all for trying out whatever new stuff comes along.

Stick with one game engine for a long time and you get attached to it; you know how to navigate through it like it was your own home. You know how it works, you know its interface like the back of your hand. Your productivity increases significantly when you know where everything is and what they do. I’m sure the other members of the team feel the same way. Long before I joined this project, they’ve already chosen Unity to power it, again because of familiarity and experience in using the engine for mobile game development. Almost everyone in the team knows its strengths and limitations and how to work with them. So it was logical and practical to go with Unity as opposed to the other options available to indies, like Unreal or CryEngine, where we would have started from scratch. Had we chosen any other engine, that would have meant seriously slowing down production time, time better spent developing a prototype.

Another huge benefit with Unity is its surging popularity among game developers. Unity has cultivated an enormous fanbase over the years, and it’s growing every day. And with a big community comes a lot of interaction and support, and the forums are abundant with solutions to almost every problem you’ll encounter using the software. Aside from the forums, you can get some extra help (and potentially save tons of time) by going to the Asset Store, where you can find most of the third-party wares other devs have to offer. The Asset Store is filled to the brim with very useful and powerful add-ons, from simple editor extensions to complex, full-blown systems. They can improve upon existing functionality, make things easier and faster to do, or even completely transform the development experience in innovative and exciting ways. Most of the really good ones provide regular updates, superb tech support, and very active communities. Our team lead is addicted to scouring the asset store for any new add-on he finds even remotely useful for a project. (I think he may have a problem…)

Some of the add-ons we’re using for Spellstrike include Invert Game Studios’ uFrame. We have found uFrame to be a very powerful and robust MVVM solution that’s perfect for a project of this scope, and will serve as the backbone for the game’s architecture. Now we want the game to have a cinematic, action-packed feel when it comes to character-versus-character confrontations. To help with that, we are using RootMotion’s FinalIK and PuppetMaster add-ons to add that extra visual goodness to the animations and make the fights more satisfying and entertaining to watch. The Spellstrike team would like to extend their thanks to the developers who produced these wonderful packages.

mapsystem

One of the subsystems in our uFrame diagram.

We’ve been trying out some of the new features in the latest version of Unity and we’re very excited to see the results. The built-in multiple scene editing is proving useful for large maps, where we divide large sections into their own scenes, and any modification in one scene won’t affect the others. We’re also very excited with experimenting with the new physically-based rendering pipeline to get that unique look and feel that we want to achieve for the game. And the one feature that we’re very hopeful for is Unity’s new multiplayer and networking API, aka UNet, which will be the foundation of the game’s online experience.

 

overlook

Playing with lighting and post-processing effects in one of the maps.

That wraps it up for this post. We might have future blog posts going into more detail about the features and add-ons discussed here. Stay tuned by liking our Facebook page and by following us on Twitter @spellstrike!

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