Posted by Rampant Coyote on August 29, 2013
The big buzz in the game dev community has been about Unity’s embrace of 2D support, announced Wednesday. It’s … big.
I figured something like this was in the works when they hired the guy responsible for the best-selling NGUI toolset. I expected that it would be more limited to UI improvements, but apparently they’ve taken GameMaker’s professed desire to be the “Unity of 2D” to heart, and decided that they wanted Unity to be the Unity of 2D.
We’ll see how it goes. There’s a lot of crossover between 2D and 3D, but there are a lot of differences as well. I’m talking 2D graphics, here – with sprite-based animation and everything. Unity has always been great at providing 2D gameplay with 3D graphics. Is it possible to make an engine that does both very well? I have to say, Unity has proven absolutely amazing for 3D development… with the right add-ons. I hope they can pull it off well.
This is certainly a good thing for 3D developers as well, especially those with significant UI issues (like, say, role-playing games!). While NGUI has been way more than adequate, it’d be cool to have this all incorporated into the engine rather than being something of an exceptional path.
These weren’t all of Unity’s announced changes. They made two other announcements that kind of take them into the publisher space. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about that. They announced the beta of Unity Cloud, making it easier for developers to use alternative marketing / monetization methods with built-in cloud functionality. They also announced a publishing initiative. Finally, they are rolling out a joint SDK with Facebook for easy integration of games (or apps) with that social network across multiple platforms.
These are all reasonably Big Deals, though the 2D tools are by far the most interesting to me. If nothing else, the Unity folks are not resting on their well-earned laurels.
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