Xbox1 partners with Unity

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fireside 141 Jun 28, 2013 at 11:13

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tyree 102 Jun 29, 2013 at 03:05

they dont want to lag behind sony. they appear not to be getting out of the game business after all

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fireside 141 Jun 29, 2013 at 13:11

It will be interesting to see how this all develops in the future. The more game platforms the better, as far as I’m concerned, especially if it’s fairly easy to port between them. I think one thing that’s really brought about a sea change in games is kickstarter. Publishers were used to being little gods, and now that’s not so much the case anymore and we’re seeing a lot more variety because of it. If you combine that with engines like Unity that greatly lower the cost of entry, it means we might actually see games evolve.

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tyree 102 Jun 30, 2013 at 02:32

thats really the difference between for profit, which must yield a profit. the most safe model that ensures profit. and independent which would like to see profit but doesnt really care if it doesnt. one can take chances and experiment the other cant.

kickstarter has caused a change. but its really the internet, letting people group together and do what they want to do. opposed to companies deciding what you will, and wont be allowed to do

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fireside 141 Jun 30, 2013 at 07:25

[quotekickstarter] has caused a change. but its really the internet, letting people group together and do what they want to do. opposed to companies deciding what you will, and wont be allowed to do [/quote]

There were a lot of good free libraries before kickstarter, but publishers were still in control of anything that actually looked good enough to pay for. There are some pretty good free projects, but none that I can think of that are the same caliber as pro games. Where I see it is in adventure games. It was an abandoned genre because publishers couldn’t make enough money on it. Now there are some really good looking adventures coming out because of kickstarter. Yeah, indies can get funding and do something they “want” to do instead of what publishers decide will make the most profit and that’s really what drives innovation. The budgets aren’t quite in the same league, but enough to put out something that looks pretty good. Plus, tools are dropping in price, so costs of production are dropping.
The one that has me the most interested right now is Dreamfall Chapters. Supposedly they are not going to use combat or stealth, but have chosen kind of a large open game world and a linear story with some choices possible. They also got a million and half in funding, so it should look pretty good. They are using Unity, though.

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tyree 102 Jul 01, 2013 at 01:13

adventure games were never in danger of dying. but a game with no combat are they going to rely solely on the story. this business of elevating the engine, I never liked. where the developer is a non factor. such and such engine was used. so the game is automatically good. is ridiculous

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fireside 141 Jul 01, 2013 at 03:32

are they going to rely solely on the story.

Story,puzzles and challenges, but they say the puzzles or challenges have to be organic and part of the story. I don’t know if you know much about Dreamfall, but it was a sequel to “The Longest Journey” which was a very popular adventure game from the past. Dreamfall tried to use combat and some people didn’t like it, but they did like the open world feel of the game. Apparently the author decided to drop combat for this next installment. Personally, I don’t think combat has to necessarily be done away with, it’s just so ridiculously overdone in most games. It’s really time to branch out a little bit.
I don’t think Unity is in any danger of being overly elevated, but yes, some cutting edge engines get over hyped as far as I’m concerned. The games are mediocre and everyone loves them because of some technical advancement.

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Stainless 151 Jul 01, 2013 at 08:19

I hate the way Unity is growing.

Game engines limit creativity. They do allow people with less talent or smaller teams to create games that, at least on the surface, look like AA games, but that’s not enough for me.

We had it a few years back with the unreal engine. A huge number of games came out that all looked the same. It took a huge rewrite of the engine before you got some diversity.

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v71 105 Jul 01, 2013 at 10:25

@Stainless, scipters != programmers, a scripter uses an engine, a programmer might write one engine from the scratch , i will never use Unity in my life

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fireside 141 Jul 01, 2013 at 17:18

Games look alike because people copy each other, not because of the engine. Engines are very general purpose. You can put all kinds of variety in an engine like Unreal and there were a lot of good games made with it, and a lot of bad games made with it. I personally don’t like Unity because it’s not really an object oriented engine and I prefer that type. It’s a pretty decent engine. Engines are definitely not the problem with games. The problem is the biggest market segment for games are teenagers that have a lot of time and money and aren’t deep thinkers and every publisher wants a game that focuses on that segment. Even though the average gamer age is something like 30, we all play these little teeny bopper games, or scrabble or something.

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tyree 102 Jul 03, 2013 at 13:38

there is truth in what stainless is saying in regards to games looking the same or similar. when they are all made using the same engine. anyone that has made games for unity. can generally tell when looking at another game made using unity. each engine has a noticeable way it renders and moves. thats identifiable to people that have used it

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Reedbeta 167 Jul 03, 2013 at 16:54

@tyree

there is truth in what stainless is saying in regards to games looking the same or similar. when they are all made using the same engine.

Yep, UE3 games are often fairly identifiable as well - there’s something about the baked lighting that acts as kind of a visual fingerprint. It’s not 100% - games that use a very different visual style or have rewritten a lot of their shaders, like Antichamber or Dishonored, don’t have the “UE3 look” to them so much. But there’s definitely a set of games where you can look at it for a couple minutes and say, “yeah, this is UE3”.

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fireside 141 Jul 03, 2013 at 18:24

But there’s definitely a set of games where you can look at it for a couple minutes and say, “yeah, this is UE3”.

That would be something a programmer would notice. A game player would notice modeling style much more than that. Of those, modeling style would matter more, but neither is game play or story, which makes or breaks a game as far as I’m concerned. I really wonder how long we are going to impress people with new lighting effects or higher resolution. It’s kind of topped off I think, but then I think that with movie special effects and it never seems to stop. Movies continually getting more shallow with better special effects, same as games. Comic book hero sequel number 5, 2nd reboot. Meanwhile a ton of excellent fantasy novels lay on the shelf unnoticed by producers. I wonder if producers even read books? I have my doubts.

Engines are getting so big and unwieldy, it’s almost like someone writing their own modeling program for a specific game. It doesn’t make a lot of sense anymore.

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Stainless 151 Jul 04, 2013 at 08:36

One of the problems I have to deal with every day is the code bloat created when using an engine.

For example the game I am working on at the moment can display cut-scenes in two ways.
One is a pre-rendered video.
The other uses the renderer to play stored animations

Rather than having the two techniques share a namespace and use a compile time flag to switch between them, both have to be in the engine.

You will only every use one of them.

This applies to loads of other parts of the code, asset loaders, 20 supported file formats for textures, one used.
10 different 3d mesh loaders, one used.

What a waste

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fireside 141 Jul 04, 2013 at 10:53

It is kind of wasteful, but when you look at file size of a Unity game, it’s really not that bad. Even the web games load pretty fast. Unreal is another story. I think it’s kind of heavy myself unless it’s a full size game. Also, when you are trying to get models into those engines, a lot of times you appreciate it. One exporter works, another doesn’t. So, you only use one loader, but it’s the one that works for your modeler. It does get a little strange at times, like some people are using Unity as a 2d engine, which doesn’t make much sense to me.

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TheNut 179 Jul 04, 2013 at 14:38

Well, the whole point to buying an engine is so that it eliminates development costs and risks associated with starting fresh. That will include reusing engine sample code to get the project done quicker. To use an engine as a framework takes a bit of effort since you need to strip away the layers and get right down to the core. That takes quite a bit of experience with the engine to do it properly though, otherwise you will end up with a mess.

I agree with Stainless that engines do limit creativity. I prefer to start projects with a highly scalable framework rather than a specific game engine. To have portable, high level APIs to work with the hardware, but I do all the assembly. That gives me greatest control over the structure and efficiency of the end product while still being productive with my time (arguably more productive than an engine). The only thing holding you back is your imagination and the time to implement it.

With regards to the original topic, I’m not sure what to make of it. XNA was a decent framework and it worked for the 360. It was easy to use yet flexible enough to do whatever you wanted. It was essentially your gateway to the platform, the rest was up to you. I don’t care much for Unity, but this does open more doors for indies that use it. It would be nice for Microsoft to allow indies rights to use their own frameworks though. Seems rather one-sided to force everyone into using Unity.

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fireside 141 Jul 04, 2013 at 16:34

Well, the whole point to buying an engine is so that it eliminates development costs and risks associated with starting fresh.

Yeah, especially getting it to work on multiple systems. I just don’t know how anyone organizes Unity. I was looking for books, but the trouble is, there are multiple languages you can use and the only one worth using is c#. It seems all backwards because you attach scripts to objects. Ends up spaghetti code for me. I’m sure there’s a way, but it seems like managing a large project would be a nightmare.

I would say just the opposite for creativity. When you don’t have to worry about low level problems, you can be more creative. I guess it depends on if you want to have everyone walk upside down or something, but as far as creativity in story and modeling, I think it allows people to focus on that. It’s kind of like a physics engine. You can break the rules of physics and that’s kind of cool, but in general, most games are going to obey those laws so why bother programming it. Why not focus on relationships of characters, etc? I don’t think we need a new type of gun that shoots some new prettier particles. We need creativity in the interactions with characters.

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TheNut 179 Jul 05, 2013 at 02:21

@Fireside

I don’t think we need a new type of gun that shoots some new prettier particles. We need creativity in the interactions with characters.

And often to do that you have to break away from 3rd party engines. I may want to get creative and use voxels, but engine XYZ only gives me polygons. I may want to use audio DSP, but engine XYZ only lets me play vanilla WAV or MP3 files. I may want open ended worlds that stream data live, but engine XYZ forces me to load levels one at a time. I may want to use parts of the code to write plugins, but engine XYZ forces me to include everything and setup the code in such a way because it’s all tightly coupled. These are the kind of issues that a simple framework avoids. You still have all the high level APIs necessary to build a game quickly, it’s just not assembled for you. Think XNA. It’s not an engine, it’s a framework. If you need to build an engine around that framework because you plan to build a franchise, then by all means do so. You’ll have maximum control over the results. Buying an engine will force you down a narrow corridor and if you want to think outside the box, it’s going to cost you more in development costs because you’re doing something the engine wasn’t originally built for.

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fireside 141 Jul 05, 2013 at 09:16

XNA was a good product that was abandoned. I don’t disagree that there could be a better choice than Unity. That’s just what’s happening. Kind of like Flash a while back. It’s not the best, it’s just there and popular for whatever reason. It gets harder and harder to not use “something” other than DirectX or Opengl because our expectations keep growing and let’s face it, you can do a lot more if you have a ton of code already debugged at your fingertips. Unity is a general purpose engine and it works for most projects and makes it possible for very small teams to be able to sell something worth playing. It’s really a great thing for the indie community and I’m sure we’ll see a lot of original works that pure programmers have never dreamed of doing. I’m sure I’ll be using it in the future and hopefully figure out a way to organize a project with it. As far as I’m concerned, XNA was miles ahead in that department.

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tyree 102 Jul 05, 2013 at 11:10

the option to build and engine on top of another engine is always there. that happens quite often

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Stainless 151 Jul 05, 2013 at 15:50

Yes but the engine on top of the engine is limited by what the lower level engine can do.

I liked XNA, did a lot with it, as has already been stated it was not an engine.

XNA was more a wrapper for directx, and it was very good at being that.

However even XNA had it’s limits. I hated the content management. Loved the font system. Hated the sound system. Loved the shader manager.

It worked though.

I have a problem with opengl only because I use the ES versions and they are pretty badly designed. ES 3 is looking better, but nothing supports it yet.

We have talked to Unity about writing a player on our system, they are not interested. The impression I was given by the guys who talked to them is that they are arrogant and not interested in working with anyone.

I’m not likely to work with anyone like that. Definitely not likely to give them any money.

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fireside 141 Jul 05, 2013 at 16:16

What they are doing is working for them, mainly because of smart management. Their product isn’t all that great, but they have a reasonably good free version and a reasonably priced pro version. They also give rights to people who make games with their free version, which is what set them apart. They work well with their community. They have good tutorials. They did all the little things right and it payed off. It’s very easy to get a model into it. Probably the best I’ve tried. They went to pains to get it working with Blender along with the other professional modeling programs. Their focus was on modelers and artists that wanted to write games, something most other engines really didn’t get. I’d rather put up with arrogance than stupidity. I don’t know how many engines I’ve tried that I simply couldn’t get a model into it.