Boosting Unity performance on mobile devices

Mobile devices are becoming more and more powerful. However, not all your users will have high-end mobile devices, so you should keep a low-powered device handy for testing the performance of your games. If you follow the usual advice for mobile devices (use low-poly models, minimal lights, few effects and static objects where possible) you’ll be OK on most devices, but you may be caught out on some devices – resulting in annoyed users. Here are a few tricks to try if you still need to improve the performance of your Unity game. Continue reading Boosting Unity performance on mobile devices

Unity – How to make things see where they’re going

While developing a game, I wanted to enable characters to “see” where they’re going; that is, to tell them what they’re about to stumble into, without using colliders. The answer was to cast a Ray, angled slightly downward,  in front of the character, so he can “see” if he’s about to walk into a tree, or a river, before it happens. Continue reading Unity – How to make things see where they’re going

Unity project structure – reminds me of Flash Pro

unityThe more I play with Unity, the more it feels like the workflow of Flash Pro, whereby you attach scripts to instances of actors on the stage.

I’m not talking about the ‘pure code’ approach that all ActionScripters have become used to now; but the decentralised collection of independent scripts associated with timeline movieclip instances (behaviours, if you will).

So far, I’m liking it though. Unity (and its scripting IDE MonoDevelop) feels like all the best bits of Virtools, Flash Pro, FlashBuilder, Blender, Poser and 3D Studio MAX. I’m hoping that in future versions, Unity Editor and MonoDevelop will be more tightly integrated, or even combined. And, just maybe, replace JavaScript with a TypeScript option – although I like C# anyway.

For those who have played with any of the above and want a good tutorial to get stuck right into games development with Unity, this (intermediate level) tutorial is great.

Unity – what Virtools should have become

I’ve been playing around with the Unity game engine and keep having flashbacks to a little know 3-D game dev tool I used over 10 years ago – called Virtools.


Most people will not have heard of Virtools, which itself was called NemoCreation in a previous life, until legal problems forced them to go away and rebrand. It was way ahead of its time, supporting real-time ray-tracing, hardware acceleration, full Havok physics an easy to integrate multi-player solution, long before the more popular Shockwave 3D and WildTangent had anything close.

The workflow was very similar to Unity and I had originally pinned a lot of hope on it. But, the platform was too restrictive, provided no sensible scripting alternatives and was prohibitively expensive to license. Getting hold of a trial license was notoriously difficult, too. So there were simply not enough people creating worthwhile content for it.

The licensing fubar and possibly the fact that it was way ahead of its time, were probably its death knell. But I tip my hat to what could have been.