Switching over to Unity

I haven’t posted in a while, since I got caught up playing Dark Souls and that took a long time to finish up. Once I finished though I wanted to revisit working on a game. I also read that Unity was starting to offer free iOS/Android support, so I decided to check it out. It turns out that it is pretty simple to use, so I am switching my development over to that platform. Here are my concerns about the current state of Moai:

  • While working with Moai is really simple (write up Lua scripts and run them through the compiled executable), the platform seemed to be losing momentum. As far as I know Doublefine’s big Kickstarter project is still using it, but Shadowrun switched over to Unity during their development. Without more big projects to drive the codebase forward, it will probably stop getting support.
  • One of Moai’s developers posted on the forums saying that while the engine isn’t dead, he is too busy with their regular projects to be actively spending a lot of time working on it.
  • Moai still has some bugs that seem pretty bad which don’t seem to have solutions.  One thing I remember reading is that sound on the PC is supposed to be buggy.  Since the released projects have all been on iOS/Android, I don’t think the other platforms like PC/Mac/Linux are getting much attention.
  • Lua is really flexible so you can write cool frameworks to handle different things you are trying to achieve.  However, since it is pretty freeform, it becomes pretty difficult for other people to pick up and read your code without studying all of it.

I gave Unity a shot and here are my findings:

  • Re-implementing some of my game prototypes I had in Moai in Unity was really simple.  I could save a lot of time here.
  • The interface is kind of similar to 3d modeling programs, which I am pretty comfortable with.
  • Deploying projects to various platforms (so far I’ve tried PC, Web, iPad, iPhone) is really simple.  Being able to get stuff loaded onto a website is especially helpful when trying to get other people’s feedback on a prototype.
  • The way you write C# scripts to add functionality to objects results in a lot of small scripts, each of which tries to accomplish a single thing.  This is pretty modular and I think easier to understand for people looking at your code.  You don’t need to know how all the classes work to understand one specific class.  You do need to know how the Unity classes work though, which is all documented online.
  • With Unity 4.3, 2D/Box2D support is built in and easy to use.
  • Loading levels/objects from output of other programs like Tiled is a little messier, since you need to parse the file and then manually generate Unity objects with them.  It seems easier to just use the built in level editor and do everything “their way”.

As I get further along I’ll try to keep posting updates on this blog.  I’m not going to be documenting techniques/tutorials though, since that stuff seems pretty well covered in general on the internet.

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