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IGDA Victoria Message Board › Unity Game Engine for iPhone Development

Unity Game Engine for iPhone Development

Andy F.
user 12624284
San Jose, CA
Post #: 12
Has a anyone played around with this for game development on iPhone? I recall thinking it was sketchy back when Apple was going to block 3rd party production tools to prevent Flash games from being ported to iPhone using a tool from Adobe. Then, they went back on that, and Unity is definitely usable, but is it? Has anyone played with this? I like the way MikaMobile uses it, production level still within the grasp of indie dev and a few of their games are great. What do you think?

PS> HI from Australia!
Andy F.
user 12624284
San Jose, CA
Post #: 13
Brandon B.
user 13146533
Victoria, BC
Post #: 18
I played around with Unity3D 5-6 months ago... but I only checked out the free version (which doesn't support iPhone). The learning curve was a little steep, even after watching a few videos, but I did eventually get the hang of it. There was certainly lots of potential there for making a windows game, but what sort of limitations there are on the iPhone toolset I don't know.

I do recommend trying out the free version before committing the money, but it's worth checking out for sure.
user 10415939
Victoria, BC
Post #: 9
Unity is definitely usable. This upcoming iOS/android game is supposed to be made with Unity:

I've played around with Unity and it seems to offer quite a lot and is fairly easy to use. For example, I stole some Blender files off the internet and exported them to fbx files which I placed into the asset folder. Unity immediately recognized the new asset and I was able to create an instance of the model, move it around and place it in the scene. To be able to add game logic, you do need to break out the C# or Javascript coding skills. It does take some time to learn how to interact with the engine using scripting, but if you program in either of those languages you should feel right at home. I haven't really explored much beyond that, but Unity is an engine that seems to have a lot of capabilities and is definitely something that is worth looking into.

Colton P.
user 12690936
Victoria, BC
Post #: 52
C# and javascript, are those the only scripting languages it uses?
user 10415939
Victoria, BC
Post #: 10
Well, it also supports Boo, but C# and Javascript are the main ones that people use.
A former member
Post #: 2

So I'm developing my first commercial indie game with Unity, and YES, it is cut out for development. I was lucky enough to experiment with it many times during Game Jams, so my learning curve has been more gradual, not such a shock. I also came from UE3 so the level editor layout is very familiar. I'd be willing to present a more in-depth "working with Unity3D" after I ship my product, I will have to schedule another weekend in Victoria! But here's my brief points:

- It uses Behaviours, not pure class hierarchies as in traditional OOP. This will totally mess with your mind if you're coming from a purely traditional development standpoint. I like Behaviours, so I actually steered the development of our projects at Propaganda to use them (Tron shipped using a Behaviour system, from animation all the way to AI and levels). I'm still learning the best way to construct Behaviours because there are more implications for code re-use than straight forward OOP.

- Either know your platform requirements very well (iPhone), or don't know it and get Unity Pro (my route). I ran into a lot of issues with poor framerate which are alleviated by using the profiler and optimizing code. Pro will run you around $2500 all-told (Desktop Pro + iOS + iOS Pro). The main one is never use an alpha-testing shader ("Transparent shader") on iOS, always use Alpha Blending instead. Avoid overdraw, watch out for hidden get/set calls in C#, etc.

- It can deploy to cross-platform with very, very little effort. There is still SOME effort though, because (foolishly, imo) the iOS/Android controls do not map to mouse controls. That means you WILL be writing some platform-dependent code at times. Multi-platform is the killer feature, and you should consider it for this reason alone.

- There is no reason to not use it. I often clash over developers on middleware issues, because everyone loves to roll their own. Here's my viewpoint (which has proven true for larger commercial projects): Anyone using Unity has 100 people working on their game... if you're not using middleware, you just have yourself. Now, you can argue that your game's so simple that it doesn't need 100 people, but that's right now, in your head, at this moment. Let's say now you want to add some new feature to your game, or your competitor has a new feature. Well, now you're stuck writing it yourself unless you have 100 people who just happen to be working on it or the engine already supports it. In my experience, you want free features, performance increases and bug fixes... and that's what having a huge middleware component gives you, regardless of which one you choose. If you don't choose a middleware solution, even your indie competitors will seem like companies that have 100+ people. Give yourself every advantage you can!

- Leave some money for the Unity Asset Store. The Unity Asset Store is a new feature where you can buy code snippets, assets, or plug-ins for Unity. I bought a 2d toolkit worth $55 that allows for automatically generated sprite atlases with anchor points and alpha-dicing, bitmap fonts, and better static sprite batching on the iPhone. One of those features alone would set you back at least four hours worth of development time, is that worth your $55? Definitely.

In my opinion, you should start with it ASAP, because it's not going away. It's only going to get more powerful and become a de-facto standard for indie games and probably even some commercial projects (we're already seeing that happen). The more expertise you have in it, the better.
user 12563726
Victoria, BC
Post #: 38

Do you work with Dan Ukryn?
A former member
Post #: 4
Yes, I did before it shut down.
Andy F.
user 12624284
San Jose, CA
Post #: 14
Jodon, freaking epic post man thank you for the real perspective. I think thats exactly what I was looking for, a real game developer's angle from a real user. Only question I have is, where did the 2.5K come from for the pro version, thats some heavy change. If you are working at a company with a budget you might be good for popping that spend, but otherwise thats like out of reach! With prices like that I'm not surprised rolling your own is still common.

Especially useful was the commentary on behaviors which I haven't worked with before. I know what to expect if getting into it, and I think I will if I get time away from the new job to do that. Thanks man!
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