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12. September 2018

Back in July, Unity announced a partnership with Google on future game based networking solutions.  Open Match, an open source matchmaking solution.  Matchmaking is one of those challenges all networked games face.  Do you run your own custom servers, or use a 3rd party service for matchmaking?  Running your own servers obviously comes with a cost as well as additional support requirements, while farming it out to a third party leaves you exposed if they ever shutdown.  Open Match might be a good compromise solution, enabling game engine agnostic networking that runs in standard docking containers or in the future, hosted on Unity servers.

Primary features of Open Match:

Extensibility. Custom match logic examples are available for simple player matchmaking based on latency, wait time, and an arbitrary skill rating.

Flexibility. Because Open Match runs on Kubernetes, you can deploy it on any public cloud, local data center, or even on a local workstation.

Scalability. Open Match is designed using proven web microservices patterns, and with Kubernetes as the underlying platform, adding additional capacity to your APIs when you have more customers is as simple as a single command. Kubernetes autoscaling can be used to automate it as well.

Open Match is not tied directly to Google nor Unity:

Although Open Match is co-founded by Google Cloud and Unity, it’s game engine agnostic. It can be integrated into any game, regardless of how the game is built or what infrastructure it’s running on. Unity will be basing future matchmaking technology on Open Match, so Unity customers will be able to more easily take advantage of its features, such as through integration with Unity-provided servers. The Open Match GitHub repo is now open for contributions, and you can follow the example provided in the development setup guide to start experimenting today.

Open match is in alpha now and is not ready for production usage.  It is released under the Apache 2 open source license and is written using the Go programming language.

GameDev News

12. September 2018

The first beta of Unity 2018.3 was just released and can be downloaded here or from the Unity hub.  By far and away the star of the 2018.3 release is the new ability to nest prefabs, instead of forcing you to organized your prefabs in giant monolithic structures or tiny granular detail, you can now mix and match, composing prefabs out of other prefabs.  If you are interested in learning more about this new feature, be sure you check out the dedicated Unity page on prefabs.

This release also included several other improvements including:

  • Improved Prefab workflows
  • Terrain System Improvements (Preview)
  • Isometric 2D Tilemaps
  • 2D Animation V2
  • High Definition Render Pipeline (Preview)
  • Memory Profiler (Preview)
  • New Default Scripting Runtime
  • Editor Improvements

Additionally there are an absolutely huge number of fixes and improvements in this release.  For full details be sure to check the complete release notes for details.

GameDev News

18. July 2018

When I started GameFromScratch, by far and away the most common question I got was “what programming language should I use?”.  It’s amazing how much the world has changed in the last decade!  These days game engines are by far more important than programming language to the majority of developers, and one game engine has risen to the forefront of most peoples consciousness…  Unity.

I consistently cover a wide variety of game engines, here, on and on YouTube and one comment comes up far more often than any other...  “Why Not Just Use Unity?”.  Why would I use this game engine instead of Unity.  So I decided to take some time and answer exactly this question.  The short hand text version is available here as well as covered in a great deal more detail in this video.

GameDev News Programming

10. July 2018

Today Unity 2018.2 was released out of beta.  Many of the big new features were announced in Unity 2018.1, with Unity 2018.2 being all about improving those features, although a few new surprises are in store in this release.  From quality of life improvements, like finally improving HDPI support on Windows and Linux as well as a new preview debugger extension for Visual Studio Code, to new rendering features in both the light weight and high definition pipelines.  Some features we’ve previously discussed like the Pixel Perfect Camera and the new Shader Graph have been improved in this release.

Details of the release from the Unity Blog:

Unity 2018.2 optimizes the performance of the Lightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP) and enhances the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) to help you achieve high-end visual quality, including multiple improvements to the Shader Graph, which now supports both pipelines (please note that both the LWRP and HDRP are currently in preview.)

We also added support for managed code debugging on iOS and Android,  Windows, macOS, UWP and PS4 for IL2CPP, and we started adding some mobile optimizations to the Lightweight Render Pipeline (LWRP).

For Android projects, 64-bit (ARM64) support gets its final release, and we now let you add Java code to your Unity plugins folder without needing to create libraries in advance.

Finally, several new 2D features are available as Preview packages, including the Vector Graphics importer and Pixel Perfect. The Vector Graphics importer makes it easier for you to work with SVG graphics, and Pixel Perfect makes it easier for you to achieve a perfect retro look across different resolutions on a wide range of devices.

Be sure to read the complete blog for full details on the release, or watch the video below.  You can download Unity here.

GameDev News

19. June 2018

At Unite Berlin 2018, Unity announced much improved prefab support in Unity.  The release is available in a special preview download version that is available here.  This new approach to prefabs gives you a lower level of granularity in how you split your scene up.  Perhaps most impressive to the new functionality to enable prefabs to be made up of other prefabs that in turn are made up of other prefabs.

Details of the preview prefab workflow from

Improved workflow

The new Prefab workflows, which are now available as previews, allow you to split up scenes and Prefabs on a granular level. This gives you greater flexibility, increases your productivity and enables you to work confidently without worrying about making time-consuming errors.

The improvements are based on surveys with more than 150 enterprise customers, numerous interviews, several usability tests and two game jams. The long-term goal has been not only to implement support for nesting, but to rethink the core Prefab workflows so different team members can simultaneously edit Prefabs confidently and efficiently.


Greater flexibility

Previously, users were forced to choose between creating large monolithic Prefabs, like buildings, or more granular ones, like pieces of furniture, but they couldn't do both.

Now with support for nested Prefabs, a large building can be made up of many smaller room Prefabs, which in turn can be made up of multiple pieces of furniture Prefabs, and so on.

Productivity booster

This makes it easier for teams of all sizes to:

  • Split up Prefabs into multiple entities for greater efficiency
  • Reuse any content, from small to large
  • Work on different parts of content simultaneously

Prefab Variants

Flexible properties increase efficiency

As a default, a Prefab Variant inherits the objects and properties of the Prefab it is a variant of, but at the same time, you have the possibility to override those properties. This is similar to the concept of inheritance in object-oriented programming.

For example, if you had multiple door Prefabs, you could choose to make some of them a different color, while allowing the rest to inherit the existing Prefab color property. Any change made to the original door Prefab will affect the variants of it as well, except those properties which have been overridden.

Prefab Mode

Avoid time-consuming mistakes

A cornerstone of the new workflows, Prefab Mode enables you to edit in isolation. While this means that you will have to approach Prefab editing in a slightly different way, you can feel secure that any errors made will not have negative consequences.

You can learn more about the new prefab system in the prefab documentation.  There is also a sample project available for download here.

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