Example Of Report On Unity Games Engine For Mobile Platforms
Game engines assist programmers in developing game applications faster. Game creators can use implemented technical functionalities and resources in the game engine to develop applications faster than when they use traditional programming techniques. It is the usable functionalities and features in game engines that are valuable for a game developer. Apart from helping game creators develop games faster, game engines improves quality of a game. A game engine with current optimum 3D graphics algorithm for Ambient Occlusion is an example of the features that creates quality. Ambient Occlusion is a feature uses to develop high quality games because it is ingrained in the game engine but game creators may not be in a position to understand how it works. Additionally, high quality games on any platform has numerous features and functionalities some of which are a must use. The technical functionalities are categorized by programming libraries. 3D graphic functionalities are embedded in 3D graphic libraries. Using the traditional approach of building games from scratch without the use of game engines would require the creator to have knowledge and working of a host of features and functionalities such as Ambient Occlusion and programming libraries. In the UDK game engine, the First Person Shooting (FPS) can be customized by game creators to make it increasingly faster for real time interaction.
Unity is one of the incredibly successful tools used by developers for games in both Android and iPhone platforms. A massive 47% of developers were found to be using Unity and another 29% use it as a primary development tool according to a survey done by www.developereconomics.com. The fact that the application is not used by hobbyist alone leveraging the free licensing options indicates the importance of the application for professional development. Unity platform is popular among professionals and those who are trying to earn a living from app development.
Unity supports 2D and 3D game development and this is a distinguishing factor among other game engines. Though the engine was designed to support 3D game development, 2D support was bolted afterwards to gather for menus and other 2D screens required in a 3D game. One of the major motivations for the success of this tool is its cross-platform support. It has earned credit for supporting multivariate mobile platforms surpassing traditional game development tools.
Graphics is naturally the most visible features and the important modules in a game. Unlike 2D graphics, 3D graphics has numerous rendering algorithms ranging from extremely fast to extremely slow. Since games are interactive applications, real time graphic algorithms are desirable. The fastest graphic techniques are used in many game engines such as Unity to produce the most beautiful games.
Since the focus is on mobile devices which are based on OpenGL ES programming library to compute 3D graphics, graphics on mobile phones are constrained by OpenGL ES. An engine like Unity has an inbuilt 3D graphics technique that does not require creators to implement the complicated Open GL ES.
3D graphic techniques are available in Unity Game Engine. In fact, they are the basic features in the engine. These features are implemented in high quality games and prove a point that 3D graphic techniques are suitable for the mobile platforms. With native programming for mobile platform games, no game in the magnitude of Infinity Blade has been developed. Infinity Blade was implemented on top of Unreal Engine 3 – a game engine which as this paper will later show is less superior that Unity. The techniques used in the game include parallax and normal mapping on dissimilar models. Moreover, the implementers utilized reflective marble surface and cobblestone roads using dynamic spectacular lighting and texture mask techniques. This illustrates the capabilities of using game engines over native programming techniques.
When compared against other engines such as UDK, Unreal engine 4, and CryENGINE, Unity is the best for mobile game development in 2D and 3D. When contrasted with native programming, there are a number of differences that emerge based on the project features. For part time game developers or small studios, gaming engines such as Unity are a favorite. Large game studious often build their own engines of customize open source applications to suit their internal structures and workings. They do not rely on game engines but would rather build from scratch using customized applications. It is the usable functionalities and features in game engines that are valuable for a game developer. Apart from helping game creators develop games faster, game engines improves quality of a game. A game engine with current optimum 3D graphics algorithm for Ambient Occlusion is an example of the features that creates quality
Unity has a lot of features that makes it favorable for the developer community. They include:
Unity has a strong community used for creating assets and plugins. This content comes free of charge or has reasonable prices. A developer can buy scripts, tools and textures used in the game.
Unity presents visual editing tools that are excellent with an editor that can be extended with plugins.
Integration with native code is simplified. A developer can write native code or plugin to integrate with native code though it requires $1500 plus another $400 to use
Where most engines support 2D games, Unity engine can be used for physics based games, 2D and 3D games.
Development can be based on a Windows machine. For iOS, development can still be done on a windows machine but build for iOS on Mac. This helps in reducing upfront fixed costs for games development
There is support for a wide range of asset formats which can automatically be converted to optimal formats for the target platform.
There is support for a wide range of platforms including, mobile, desktop, web and console.
It is easy to manage deployment to multiple platforms. There is huge advantage to deploy games on iOS/Android to minimize costs since the same team can be used for cross platforms reducing their size by half.
Security wise, the games on Unity engine cannot be hacked or its codes cannot be reversed engineered easily
The 3D engine outputs a high quality product without any complex configurations
There is free license that covers most of the provided features
Paid licenses are relatively inexpensive for most professional developers. For example, licenses are available for $75 per platform while some platforms are free
Unity engine has an efficient profiler used for optimizing games and reducing memory leaks
There is simplified porting from one platform to the other. Not many changes need to be made in coding
Like any other tool, it has strengths and also limitations. The disadvantages include:
Collaboration is an issue in Unity engines. It has expensive asset server product used for collaboration between teams. If the developer does not have the asset server, sharing code and assets is difficult. Usually, the option is to use external source control but there are binary files that fail to be merged and updating assets causes a breakage of features in scenes. This causes loss of connections to scripts and objects.
Unity does not allow developers to start from a foundation or a template. It requires them to implement details in another way and if not, the developer has to start from scratch. It is thus regarded as a general purpose motor that gives nothing to work with.
The engine source code is unseen even for paid users. This implies that if a developer finds a bug, it has to wait for them to fix the bug or work around it. For most developers, this is critical for them and to Unity. The limitations to the way the engine can be extended or customized is unfavorable for those who want to push the limits of the platform provision.
The fact that there are expensive licenses can be a limitation to most freelance developers and small working groups. The most expensive licenses give advanced performance and graphical interface but it is only worth it with larger equipment and a big project. This is also dependent on the ability of the developer to exploit these resources. There are two licensing fees for Unity. The Pro version has $1,500 or $75 per month subscription. The Pro version has advanced features such as render-to-texture, global lighting, custom splash screen and Mecanim IK Rigs. The free version displays a watermark that cannot be disabled.
Unity is a solid tool for beginners who do not seek advanced tools. Developing Smartphone applications with Unity pose some challenges. However, sometimes, there is no need to pay for expensive licenses. Unity free provides a platform to publish on Android, Windows and iPhone.
While the engine provides integration for just about any 3D game, it suffers limited amount of editing capabilities inside the engine editor. The lack of a real modeling or building features apart from few primitive shapes imply that everything need to be created from a third party application. This is in fact a major limitation. The cost of this is a large library of assets that can be downloaded or purchased with the price determined by the asset manager.
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Ombredane, E., 2014. Unity 3D Game Development: Advantages & Disadvantages. [Online] Available at: http://en.yeeply.com/blog/unity-3d-game-development-advantages-disadvantages/
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Sparks, G., 2015. Game engine analysis and comparison. [Online] Available at: http://www.gamesparks.com/blog/game-engine-analysis-and-comparison/
Theodorou, A., 2013. Optimizing Unity Games foor mobile platforms, s.l.: Brains Eden.
Wilcox, M., 2014. Top Game Development Tools: Pros and Cons. [Online] Available at: http://www.developereconomics.com/top-game-development-tools-pros-cons/[Accessed 2015].
Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.
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