Dev Diary #02 – Unity
Hey everyone, Today I decided to talk a little bit about our core development tool Unity.
If you are not familiar with Unity, It is a simple looking development tool that can be quite powerful under the surface.
Unity is extremely popular with a lot of Indie devs around the world, especially with app developers like Rovio Entertainment (Makers of Angry Birds).
You can find our more on their website: http://unity3d.com/
We first fell in love with Unity during the carefree development of “Ballpoint“, our end of year project at the AIE, this love was ignited when we started using Unity and realised how easy it was to get the swing of things, It was extraordinarily user friendly compared to other dev tools such as, Gamebryo’s Maya plug-in, or the intimidating UDK.
Unity and provided us a fruitful experience developing Heist, and the question might be, why use Unity, an idea such as Heist?
Well as I said, we fell in love with Unity, we wanted to see how far we could push the engine, see what we could achieve. Most importantly we could get stuck into development, and we are only ever learning new tools that are released in updates, and even then, that process hasn’t ever fully sidetracked us from Heist.
We also knew prior to Incubator, Unity 4 was on the way and it was going to add more tools that would be invaluable to us.
However Unity isn’t without its issues or limitations.
Unlike some of UDK’s tools, Unity is very programmer centric, meaning to achieve results code will need to be written at some point. An example of this for instance is to play a sound, it may seem simple enough to make a sound player when the player walks into an Trigger (Invisible box), however with Unity a small amount of code will need to be applied to the box in order to achieve this. Unity does seem to be working towards making their tools artist friendly, and a good example of this is Mecanim, a brand new set of animation tools that were introduced in Unity 4.
Mecanim has been a fantastic addition and so far we have used it for all our humanoid characters. With Mecanim we can set up all the transition and blending of animations when a players moves from one state to another, code is only required to say when to tranistion. Because of this tool, when our thief is crouching to sneak around and then move to prop up against a wall for cover, it looks nice and fluid even with our current basic animations.
Unity is a great tool, and it has been a big reason as to why we are able and capable of developing Heist for you guys and gals.
As always, keep your eyes peeled for more updates and next week we will talk a bit about the art direction.