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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Why we chose Unity3D

Hello everyone,

A slightly different kind of post today.

Our Greenlight campaign provided us with a fair amount of feedback. Good feedback was more common than poor, but the more negative feedback was very helpful. Critising our game is the best way to help us develop it further. I've since made changes to Vex that were inspired by the comments on our Greenlight page.

However, the use of our chosen engine, Unity3D, was a talking point for a few people. I'd like to begin by stating that most criticisms of the Unity engine are actually fair, and that we completely empathise with those who discourage its use. With that said, I'd like to explain why we chose the Unity3D engine.

We are creating a retro game, a game that harks back to a more simplistic and liberating time for the video game industry. Although we want our game to look stunning, we chose to achieve this using a stylistic aesthetic, rather than an intensely graphical one. It would not have been right to claim we are creating a nostalgic platformer, and then use photo-realistic textures and lighting. We think Vex looks very visually attractive, and we've pursued different methods of stretching the graphical fidelity, without deviating from our core goal - to invoke a nostalgic experience.

Many people claim (and rightly so), that developers who use Unity simply grab free/cheap assets from the asset store, jumble them up in to an incoherent mess. We are proud to have created 90% of our assets using Blender. We have only used two or three assets from the store, and checked that they would not look out of place in the environment we designed. Using a mixture of assets is a surefire way to ruin the immersion, so we have been very careful on that front.

Much of the hate for Unity actually derives from issues that have now been addressed, but since hating on Unity is the cool thing to do, it's become more of a meme. People often complained it shouldn't be relying on flash, or that it was unoptimised, or it used basic lighting techniques. Almost all of these issues have been fixed, and since the release of Unity 5, it has become an appealing engine to professional developers. It no longer uses flash (now uses WebGL), it has improved vastly on it's optimisation (we've also been optimising to make Vex run as well as it can), and there are many different lighting techniques now, all of which are highly customisation.

Essentially, we understand the concerns for Unity, but since 2014 it's becoming a fantastic engine. It is perfect for our game, and we're sure that we can prove it upon the release of Vex.

Thanks for reading,
- Sam

EDIT: I just remembered something else. Eventually, we wish to add virtual reality support. As you probably know, VR is quite intense on the GPU, so in order to maintain a high frame rate (90FPS minimum for VR), we decided to keep things simple. This is all about the immersion.

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