For game and app development, Studio Pepwuper loves to use Unity 3D as our main software. If you’ve been thinking about getting into game or app development, or are a client looking for app development and are wondering what software to have your app/ game built with, here are our top 10 reasons why we choose Unity!
1. It’s FREE to Get Started with Unity
Unity3D comes with a Free version and a Pro version, but unlike most software with both payment options, Unity3D’s Free version is feature-complete. There are definite advantages to paying for the Pro version once you’ve progressed with the program (e.g.: audio filter, video playback and streaming, 3D texture support, custom splash screen and more) but in the meantime Unity allows gaming wannabes to create full games without the obstacle of price.
2. It’s Multi Platform
iOS, Android, Windows Phones, Macs, PCs, Steam, Playstation, Xbox, Wii U…etc. There are many platforms your game be published on, and Unity makes it easy to take your game from one platform to the rest. Porting a game to a different platform that utilizes a different set of technology used to involve massive effort — it was often times outsourced to another company and took up months of development time. With Unity, porting to a new platform is a lot simpler. You still want to take each platform’s unique features into consideration when building a game for it, but Unity makes it a lot easier to port.
3. The Thriving – and Supportive – Community
Indie game development can get lonely sometimes, but with 2 million+ developers using the Unity software (a number that is growing every day), it’s great to have multiple online resources to share the love and frustrations of the program with. If you ever get stuck on a developing issue, want to chat with like-minded people, or are even looking for an artist or developer to collaborate with on your next big idea, there are tons of forums out there where eager Unity fans unite. And speaking of Unite, there’s the annual conference that Unity puts on (Unite), where you can meet your online Unity buddies in person in either Europe or North America each summer.
In addition, there are several Unity meetups all over the world that are not affiliated with Unity, but are acknowledged and supported by them. If you find yourself in Seattle, come and join us at the Seattle Unity Meetup, which I organize monthly for a presentation and network. At the time of writing, we have over 600 Unity 3D loving members!
4. The Asset Store
The Unity Asset Store is a great place to a) find what you need for your game without making it from scratch (a character, a building etc) or b) a nice place to make a little extra revenue if you’re an artist, musician, or modeler.
There is a submission process you must go through in order to sell your assets in the Unity store, but once you’re approved, you’ll get 70% royalties on each purchase which can be a fantastic way to fund your next game!
5. Scripting Languages
6. The Ability to Create 2D Games
Although Unity is great for 3D animation, there is of course still a place for 2D development. With the latest version Unity 4.3, there is a built-in 2D engine that allows you to create 2D games. It handles sprite animation, 2D physics, animation dope sheet…etc. and lots more goodies.
7. The Ability to Create Multiplayer Games
Some of the biggest multiplayer games on the web and mobile are built with Unity (Marvel Superhero Squad, Solstice Arena). Building a multiplayer game is a massive under-taking, and with the set of tools Unity provide and the support of the community, we are able to create our multiplayer game, My Giants, the way we wanted – a task that would have been impossible without it!
8. Online Tutorials/ Classes Make it Easy to Learn
The really beautiful thing about Unity is how easy it is to learn. Sure, there’s a bit of a learning curve in the beginning, but considering what you can do with the software, it’s incredibly easy. With several online courses and tutorials teaching the basics of Unity available, you can learn how to get started with it for a very low cost – and from the comfort of your own home.
Unite used to be a yearly event where early adopters of Unity got together and talked to the guys at Unity about all things new and exciting in the world of Unity. Now with the rise of the Unity community, Unite happens multiple times a year all around the globe. It’s an amazing place to meet fellow Unity developers and learn the cool technology that’s about to come — one of my favorite gaming conferences for sure!
10. The Ease of Use
It’s very easy to get started with Unity, and you can instantly see the result of what you are working on in the editor without having to wait for the game to compile and build. This is huge! From the interface all the way down to the workflow and how art is imported, you can see the brilliant execution the Unity’s idea of “democratizing game development” in what we think is the best game software around today.
“A little more than a year ago, I was working in the strategy division at the Sony headquarters in Tokyo, busy making financial forecasts for new ventures and evaluating business deals. I had a typical MBA job, working with spreadsheets, writing feasibility studies and business plans, and meeting with executives to discuss high level strategies for one of the largest consumer electronics company in the world. My job couldn’t be further away from what I am doing today. Armed with an education only in Economics and Business, I had no experience with programming a game, creating 2D and 3D art assets, or making sound effects and music for games. Not to mention my lack of proper game design experience. In the beginning of 2010, when I quit my corporate job, I had nothing but a desire to make games, and an idea for the first title. Insane? Maybe, but at that point, I had already decided that, no matter what it took, that game had to be made. Here is the series of events that led to the birth of “Megan and the Giant.” “
1/ What first made you start thinking about becoming an indie developer?
It was a result of two trends in the gaming industry:
First, in 2009, I noticed that the rise of social and mobile platforms (Facebook, iPhone) enabled games to reach an audience that didn’t have an interest in games before. I’ve always believed that video games can be a medium capable of appealing to everyone, and I was excited to see these new platforms drawing more people into the game industry.
Secondly, it was the growth and availability of development tools such as Unity, Shiva, Torque…etc. These tools lowered the barrier to entry for game development, especially for people who aren’t seasoned programmers. I started playing with these tools in 2009 and was really excited whenever I saw something I made moving on screen. It was all very basic at this point, but it led me to think that maybe I can make games myself.
I grew up with video games, and even after I stopped playing games, I still found the creative game industry fascinating with ever evolving technology and ideas. My passion for the game industry, my desire to make games for the non-gamers, combined with the tools and platforms available, were the major reasons why I started thinking about becoming an indie game developer. Or simply, I just wanted to make games that my non-gaming wife would play. :)
Interviewed by Indie Game News. For the rest of the interview go here.
I discovered “One Chance” a few weeks ago and was amazed by how simple and effective it is at making players “experience” a story. In this game, you are a scientist who discovered cure for cancer, but as it turned out, the cure also led to a new virus that could wipe out the entire population on the planet. You have 7 days to save the world.
What makes the game different is that you can only play the game once. There is no restart, no save, and no reload. Once you finished the game, even if you reload the page, you won’t be able to replay it. So every decision you make is final, and this forces you to think hard before making your decisions.
Interestingly, this also makes you feel more responsible for the outcomes of your decisions in the game. Even thought fancy 3D graphics and sophisticated controls, the game really puts the players into the story and has a way of creating emotions.
This is yet another good example of story-telling in games. Give it a try!
Tuesday afternoon, I noticed quite a few game developers I follow on Twitter mentioning the #360iDevGameJam that’s happening that night, a game jam session for the 360 iDev Conference. I have never done a Game Jam before, and the idea of only having 13 hours to come up with an idea and create a working prototype was very appealing to me. “It’ll be a good break from the multi-month project I’ve been working on” I thought.
So a few hours later, I got started. The theme of the Game Jam was “Change the World”. I knew I didn’t have all night to come up with an idea, so I quickly started sketching out different ideas that came to mind. A few criteria that I had when developing ideas:
Small in scope: The scope of the game needs to be small enough for a solo team to finish within the short amount of time.
iOS control: It needs to fit the iOS interface (touch/click, drag, pinch, or swipe).
Minimum art required: I am VERY slow with art.
So I eventually decided to go with a simple idea that has players grow trees while juggling three different elements of life – water, air, and the sun. Since the earth is constantly shaped by these three elements, I thought it would fit the theme as well.
Once the idea is finalized, I wanted to first get the basic controls down. But after spending almost two hours on trying to make a “swipe” control, I realized to make it work smoothly and exactly the way I wanted it to work, it could take all night. So I decided to change my focus to other areas of the game – creating the three elements, and the basic gameplay of balancing them. Instead of working on the player interface, I went with creating the mechanism that controls the game behind the scenes. This went on to take another 4-5 hours, during this time ideas were added, removed, and re-adjusted.
After the mechanism of the game is done, I went back to dealing with controls. I decided to use a click-and-switch control rather than the originally planned swipe control to make sure I can finish in time and still have a control that works with the game. Not the perfect solution, but good enough for a prototype. The control took another few hours to finish.
After the basic mechanism and control is done, it’s time to make some art. I had less than 10 art assets to make with the simple design, and quickly after the simple images were made, a few more scripts were created to handle simple animation of the images.
(work in progress screenshot)
The final step was testing. This took much longer than I wanted, as bugs were found and gameplay problems were discovered. I had to go back to changing some of the basic mechanisms as a result, and had to “hack” together solutions to a few problems that I knew I wouldn’t be able to solve quickly if I want to code it properly. This lasted for a few hours until 4:30 am in the morning, at which time I decided it’s time to wrap up.
Here it is. “Water, Air, Sun” – The prototype I created. It took 11 hours and I was very pleased to know that I participated in a game jam and successfully made a prototype within the time allowed. I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on it and I might eventually turn it into a fun side project. But for the mean time, here’s the prototype you can play in your browser. Let me know what you think! :)
Inspired by the “Educate to Innovate” campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the National STEM Video Game Challenge aims to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passions for playing and making video games.