Unity brings 2D gaming to the masses (of platforms)

One of game developer's best friends and indispensible tool, Unity, has gone from 3D multiplatform development – back to 2D.

Whilst this may seem a step back it actually makes sense for the still popular games such as side-scrollers found on the web and mobile devices...

You may or may not be aware Rovio’s hit Angry Birds sequel Bad Piggies is actually built in Unity3D - showing it was previously possible, just tricky.

This was due to the process of having to lock the camera, force perspective, and install a bunch of third-party extensions for 2D art management. Interestingly, it was a developer of many of these extensions which Unity hired to lead the 2D charge. Juha Kiili helped build a workflow which works well for 2D game developers.

Built-in 2D support will be arriving with Unity 4.3 “this fall” with a whole new 2D workflow and set of tools. There is also a drag-and-drop sprite importer (along with an animation editor) and built-in texture aliasing.

Also of note is the release of a new product called Unity Cloud – which before you assume it’s to do with cloud storage, it isn’t - in fact it’s to do with that necessary evil we call advertising. Whilst the adverts will begin basic, they can in the future be enhanced to create a demo level of the game within a game – Inception quote anyone?

The flexibility is where this new product shines, for example; if you’ve just launched your new game you may not want to spoil it with adverts, however, if a sequel is in the pipeline you may want to point all your in-game adverts towards the new title.

So just how popular is Unity nowadays? When you consider the ability to develop once and release across mobile devices, desktop, tablets, consoles, and the web – you may be able to justify the incredible statistic of 100 Unity apps on mobile installed every second, 10 million a day.

Will you be looking to Unity for your multiplatform 2D game development?

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30 Aug 2013, 3:26 p.m.