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Unity Takes a Giant Step Forward

December 3, 2013 — by Catherine Quinton

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Game DesignIndustryNewsNews BusinessServices

Unity Takes a Giant Step Forward

December 3, 2013 — by Catherine Quinton

Unity Technologies has branched out to touch many parts of the world. Headquartered in San Francisco, it also maintains offices in Canada, China, Columbia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Singapore, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. The Unity community includes over two million large publishers, indie studios, students, and hobbyists. The company continues to emphasize innovation, and its deployment capability allows developers to publish simultaneously to all the most popular platforms.

Unity Technologies’ new 4.3 version of the Unity multi-platform engine and development tools may be just what developers need to enhance their 2D games. This version offers not only dedicated 2D development tools, but also additions to the Mecanim animation system and an upgrade to the Umbra 3 occlusion culling. But Unity didn’t stop there. It has also brought in analytics tools through their partnership with GameAnalytics.

Mecanim_Runner
Unity 4.3 offers additions to the Mecanim animation system and an upgrade to the Umbra 3 occlusion culling.

Optimizing Work Flow

The 2D development tools and metaphors the 4.3 version offers were designed to streamline 2D work flow with a new Sprite Texture import mode, and automated atlasing, optimizing 2D rendering, and drag-and-drop functionality for scene creation. Better performance and stability, as well as smaller game builds, are possible with Box2D physics integrated into Unity. As well, polygon collider generation allows faster creation of accurate, fully editable physical collider meshes for refined physical response between objects in a scene.




Editor_Devices_wGames
Unity 4.3 Editor

Improving Animation




Improvements to Mecanim, Unity’s character animation suite, support Blend Shapes, to provide accurately blended complex geometry between model states. Animators will now have the ability to create realistic emotional facial animation.

Mecanim is fully integrated with the Animation Window and its dopesheet functionality. It is now a powerful all-purpose animation solution through support for animating simple scene elements, 2D sprite animations, camera settings and more.




Occlusion Culling

The upgrade to Umbra 3 incorporates a rewrite of Occlusion Culling. Developers can now expect much faster baking and more accurate and better performing results. The rapid iteration will allow more sophisticated environments with highly detailed graphical content.

Other important changes offered by Unity 4.3 include major improvements to dynamic Navmesh creations, the “Optimize Transform Hierarchy” which reduces characters to a singular object rather than 100 pieces, MonoDevelop 4.0.1, editor layouts saved by project, multiple shader enhancements, Plastic SCM integration, as well as many Windows Store Apps updates.

David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies, proudly announces, “4.3 is a huge update in the history of Unity. The addition of 2D tools is an important milestone that will help developers make incredible 2D games, and with major improvements to Mecanim and greatly increased performance, this is a weighty, productive update that we’re thrilled to release.”




Mecanim_Jumper
“The addition of 2D tools is an important milestone that will help developers make incredible 2D games, and with major improvements to Mecanim and greatly increased performance, this is a weighty, productive update that we’re thrilled to release.”

Bringing Analytics to the Unity Asset Store

Unity Technologies has also partnered with GameAnalytics to bring analytics tools to the Unity Asset Store Online Services Strategic Partner program. GameAnalytics, created in 2012, with headquarters in Copenhagen and a data engineering team in Berlin, provides a highly successful free analytics service for game developers. Since launching its analytics service in January 2013, it has tracked more than 125 million players, adding 30 million new players each month, and now has over 4,000 games on its platform. According to CEO Morten Wulff, GameAnalytics’ purpose is to enable developers to monitor and optimize everything from user acquisition to game design with hard facts. He emphasizes, “Improvements based on performance metrics are essential to success in today’s free-to-play marketplace.”

GameAnalytics
According to CEO Morten Wulff, GameAnalytics’ purpose is to enable developers to monitor and optimize everything from user acquisition to game design with hard facts.

Helgason agrees, saying, “Analytics is an important part of launching a successful game. With GameAnalytics working with us in the Unity Asset Store Online Services Program, it will be easier than ever for development studios of all sizes to access the information they need.”

James Hursthouse, CEO of Roadhouse Interactive, describes the effect of the two companies partnering this way, “For us, the deep integration between GameAnalytics and Unity meant that we were up and running, with 45+ important metrics, within a few hours of development time. We log on to GameAnalytics every day to check KPIs on everything from player acquisition and engagement to in-game monetization.”

For more information about GameAnalytics, visit http://gameanalytics.com. Information about Unity Technologies is available at http://unity3d.com. Unity 4.3 can be downloaded at http://unity3d.com/unity/download.

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Catherine Quinton

Catherine Quinton

Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.

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