Game engines, such as Unity and Unreal, have allowed a huge wave of creativity in the industry, allowing indie games to go way beyond what was previously thought possible with small teams. Now, however, the engine itself is going beyond that, offering more and more services to these creators.
These services range from additional technical support to developers, to plugins such as voice service or player management, or even cloud-based development options, enabling hassle-free workflows in an increasingly growing world. distant.
To dig deeper into some of these options, we talked to the developers about the additional services, in this case Unity, and how their games just wouldn’t have thrived without them.
Outdoor savages is without a doubt one of the most ambitious and best-received independent titles of recent years. Making the game was a real undertaking and to achieve it, the Mobius team utilized Unity’s professional services during development. artistic director) how crucial it has become.
The game is based on Unity – Why did you choose it for Outer Wilds?
The oldest of the prototypes that would come together to become Outdoor savages was born when Alex Beachum wanted to test if you could have a ship that you could walk around in, then sit in the cockpit and fly it from planet to planet. This turned out to be surprisingly feasible to implement in Unity 4, the engine used for the class assignment for which this prototype was designed. When the full project was launched at Mobius, previous experience with custom engines had shown the limits of such a choice and the team’s familiarity with Unity made it a much more natural choice.
What exactly were Unity professional services?
We were able to submit bugs and questions directly to the Unity Engine team, with a great direct contact at Unity who would help us prioritize and track these tickets.
How did the feedback help you create Outer Wilds as we know it today?
We often joke Outdoor Wilds is a game that does everything you shouldn’t do when creating a game: everyone in the game is moving at all times, everything is built on spheres, all the lighting is dynamic. This meant that we were going to run into a lot of borderline cases that most games wouldn’t. Unity’s direct support has enabled us to do Outdoor savages a reality at the trim level at which it was released, especially on consoles where performance would be a significant issue.
Would you use similar services on future projects?
This direct line of communication with Unity has allowed us to push the boundaries of what we could do with a game engine and as long as we continue to do these kinds of projects, we will want to have that Unity Professional support.
WATCH WHO IS TALKING
Nakara: The tip of the blade recently launched in Western markets after proving popular in open beta in China. With over 40,000 positive reviews on Steam, the 60-player martial arts battle royale has garnered good reviews from the Western press and seeks to build a great community. As part of this developer, 24 Entertainment has chosen to use Unity’s Vivox voice communication solution. We spoke to the game studio about this decision.
Describe Nakara for those who don’t know the title?
Nakara: The tip of the blade is an online action battle royale developed by Chinese game studio 24 Entertainment with the Unity 3D engine, presenting an unlimited and visually stunning fight scene for gamers. Nakara has been open for beta in mainland China for quite some time and is extremely popular and well executed on a variety of platforms. On August 12, 2021, it will launch on the Steam and Epic platforms worldwide, with the goal of being the world-class action fighting title.
And the game is based on Unity – Why did you choose it for Nakara?
Unity is one of the best game engines in today’s world. With the evolution of Unity in these years there are quite a few successful games that have proven that Unity’s technology has been upgraded and perfected in many technical aspects with great stability. Especially for small to medium teams, they don’t need to spend too much time maintaining the engine so that they can focus more on the requirements of the project.
Unity’s cross-platform functionality is the best among many. With the addition of SRP, it offers more flexibility. It can optimize performance on PC platforms, making full use of PC power while preserving the possibility of working on several different platforms in the future.
Nakara: Tip of the blade is developed based on the Unity source code service and makes full use of many features that exist inside the engine, such as motion system, physical system, DOTS, URP + HDRP, ShaderGraph and Visual Effect Graph, etc.
More precisely on Vivox. What were your voice communications needs, why is voice communications crucial for gaming?
Nakara: Tip of the blade is a competitive multiplayer action game presented with Chosen One mode, which has two options: single player and team trio. In trio mode, three players must maintain a high frequency of communication and interaction. Since the game is fast-paced and the fights are intense and frequent, the voice function is crucial for Nakara and is a pretty important assistive function when the players want to have a good gaming experience. In addition, the title is broadcast. in the whole world, So we need a stable voice service which can work well under all kinds of network conditions in different countries and regions.
WWhy did you choose to use Vivox over other similar tools?
The most direct and convenient way to communicate between players in the game is definitely by voice. We researched several voice libraries and voice service providers, and finally decided to use Vivox. On the one hand, it has a large number of successful use cases in the field of gaming, on the other hand, it provides a very distinctive position-based 3D voice, by which teammates can determine each other’s position, making cooperation between teammates more fluid and direct. It corresponded exactly to our needs. In addition, Vivox’s voice quality, network bandwidth consumption, and service stability are superb, and it is also very easy to integrate with the Unity engine.
Was it easy to integrate into Nakara?
Vivox provides a dedicated Unity plugin and integration examples. To get basic voice communication function, just import the plug-in and follow the steps in the examples to complete the client and server connection respectively. If there is any problem, we can send our questions directly to Vivox and will get the answers within 24 hours (it could be earlier if there was no jet lag). If we encounter any difficulties, the Vivox teams will work with us to debug, spot errors and find solutions.
And how well has it worked since launch?
In our last full-scale test, we encountered issues such as failure to connect to the server and terminate the connection during use, which were then resolved by the Vivox team. This is due to the fact that we are using the Vivox test environment with limited capacity. Although we contacted Vivox to increase the capacity limit, they still could not meet our needs. After the official launch, Vivox deployed a dedicated server for us and allocated a sufficient capacity limit. So far, the Vivox service has worked steadily without any obvious failures.
SONG IN THE CLOUD
Just because you’re creating a classic-style fantasy title doesn’t mean you have to do it the classic way. Lavapotion is working on its RPG strategy title Songs of conquest and uses Unity Cloud Build to reduce the effort required for daily workflow and builds.
We spoke to Magnus Alm (co-founder and CEO) and Niklas Borglund (co-founder and lead programmer) about Lavapotion.
Please describe Songs of Conquest for those unfamiliar with the title?
Inspired by classic 90s games, Songs of conquest lets you control powerful wizards called Wielders. Players will explore adventure maps, battle opposing armies, and search for powerful artifacts. It’s a lovely mix of RPG and turn-based strategy, set in a fantasy world.
The game is based on Unity – Why did you choose it for Songs of Conquest?
Unity is a great driver in terms of accessibility and speed. It’s easy to get up and running quickly across multiple platforms. Considering many of the team’s experience in mobile games, we all had extensive knowledge and experience using Unity, so this seemed like the obvious choice.
Why did you choose to use Unity Cloud Build in your development?
In previous studios I worked on, we either had to build manually or maintain our own build server – and that takes time and effort. Unity Cloud Build already had a pipeline to use, with the ability to customize settings and immediately build with specific versions of Unity. It was super helpful. Our build machine only automatically uploads builds to the right services and is very easy to maintain.
How have you improved your team’s workflow?
I have always advocated for the automation of our workflows. If you do a 10 minute task several times a week, it quickly adds up. If you write a script for this, you are effectively removing that time, or reducing it, so that you can focus on something else. Unity Cloud Build has done this in a great way. Usually building and compiling a game takes a long time and just sitting around and waiting can be part of it – since you’ve basically locked your computer down to build. Now everything happens automatically and we can focus on making the game instead.
Which SCM / repository were you using with Cloud Build?
We use Git for our source code, hosted on Atlassian Bitbucket. For large and binary files (like audio, textures, videos, etc.) we use Git LFS.
Did Cloud Build Make Distributed Work Easier?
Yes of course. Having the build system in the cloud where all team members can configure it is very useful when we are not working in the same office. Other Unity Cloud services have helped a lot with this as well, especially Unity Cloud Diagnostics with background crash reports and user reports.