Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

When It All Just Works

Posted by Rampant Coyote on April 8, 2015

I think I managed to damage myself working in the Torque Game Engine for Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon. Not meaning any disrespect for the people who developed and improved on it, as it was pretty dang cool for its time, but I kept finding things that I needed to do were really, really clumsy to do within that framework. I think it made me a little gun-shy of making certain changes or implementing some kinds of features.

Maybe it’s just my increased familiarity with Unity, but I am still frequently amazed at how I want to accomplish something that would have been a nasty 3-day long project (given my part-time schedule) in another engine, and I find that things just … work. In this particular instance, what I thought was going to be a little bit of an onerous task was something like 10 lines of code – and it worked perfectly on the first try.

This isn’t just Unity. It’s how I build stuff. I don’t meant that in a pat-myself-on-the-back kind of way… I mean it in a way that Unity matches my style. Or that I’ve adapted my style to match Unity. Probably a little bit of both. That’s something that doesn’t get talked about a lot when we go into the big developer arguments asking “Which engine should I use?” Unfortunately, it’s a little bit of a chicken-and-egg problem. You want an engine that fits your style… but the engine may very well shape your style, too.

So now I get people asking me how I like working in Unity, and my answer is, “I don’t know. Most of the code that I work on is game-code, and I don’t realize I’m working in Unity.” That’s a good thing. Sure, it surrounds and structures everything I do and how I do it – but once I get comfortable within that framework, I find that most of the time I’m working on game logic or UI code. These days, more UI code.

But ultimately, the whole point of working with a third-party engine is so that it can do all the heavy lifting for you and then get out of the way so you can focus on making your game. That’s the goal. For me, Unity does a better job than any other engine I’ve worked with. For others, they find a more natural fit with something else, like Unreal, Game Maker Studio, or something else entirely. It’s all about finding something that works with you – not necessarily the featiue – list.


Filed Under: Programming - Comments: 2 Comments to Read

  • Ayrik said,

    This is exactly how I feel with Unity. Especially this:

    “Most of the code that I work on is game-code, and I don’t realize I’m working in Unity.”

    It’s hard to describe this to people, especially those who think they prefer doing everything themselves. The fact is that Unity let’s me focus on the game code, and I rarely have to fight the engine.

  • Sean said,

    I’ve used Unity in my day job and hobby projects for a few years now. It fits my expectation of a tool fairly well — that is, it pretty much stays out of my way, provides an ‘easy’ way for me to extend/customize it, and it produces decent results across myriad platforms. Unity has definitely matured over the years and if any of your readership discarded it a while ago, I encourage them to re-evaluate the latest release. 🙂