Issue 5

Unity Dev Weekly

Issue 5

August 5th 2016

After upgrading a fairly large project to Unity 5.4 this week, I can say it has been the smoothest version transition in recent memory. Hats off to the Unity team for improving both the quality and stability of this release compared to past releases. The extended beta cycle and the focus on test coverage and automation really seems to be paying off.

News

A Look Inside: Unity Release Management Series

A detailed look at Unity’s changing practices when it comes to releasing new versions.

tl;dr Unity’s has been improving quality by focusing on:
* Build system improvements.
* Test Automation.
* Focusing on 5.4 before moving on to 5.5.
* QA involved more during development.
* Early public beta testing.
* More QA and improved test coverage.
* Having higher standards in their practices.

Really great to see all of this.

http://blogs.unity3d.com/2016/08/01/a-look-inside-unity-release-management-series/

Unity on Linux: Release Notes and Known Issues

Very cool to see Linux still getting love from the team inside Unity, with this a 5.4 final release available as pretty much the same time as the Windows and macOS versions.

Scroll to the last post in the thread to get the latest build.

With the imminent advent of Vulkan, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Linux as a serious platform for game development in the not too distant future.

http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/unity-on-linux-release-notes-and-known-issues.350256/

Assets

300 free (CC0) tiles/sprites for Tower Defense-like games

Another release by Reddit user KenNL, providing a large amount of assets for tower defense style games.

Included are terrain tiles, objects, enemies (walking, tank and plane), various towers, particle effects and HUD numbers.

Great for prototyping, learning how to create a game like this, or use in building your own tutorials.

https://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/4v6bjc/about_300_free_cc0_tilessprites_for_tower/

Graphics

Rendering 6: making things bumpy

Part 6 in a series by Catlike Coding exploring Unity’s rendering pipeline. This week we take a deep dive into surface detail rendering. Bump mapping, normal mapping, detail mapping and tangent space are all covered in incredible detail.

If you haven’t seen the other parts in the series, then you can find them on the Catlike Coding Tutorial Page

http://catlikecoding.com/unity/tutorials/rendering/part-6/

Keijiro’s Dev Log July 2016

If you follow him on Twitter, you’ll be aware that Keijiro is responsible for some incredible graphical effects done in Unity. This Tumblr is a nice visual log he keeps of his various experiments.

http://radiumsoftware.tumblr.com/archive/2016/7

Game Development

Designing Better Levels Through Human Survival Instincts

Timeless five page article from 2011 on level design leveraging the same principles that real-world architects use when designing buildings. From the claustraphobic corridors of Resident Evil, to the wide open vulnerable ‘prospect’ space of a boss fight, this piece lays a framework to create compelling environments for your game or simulation.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/6411/designing_better_levels_through_.php

A Visit to id Software (1993)

In 1993, Dan Linton, owner of a hugely successful BBS called Software Creations, visited Texas and made his way to id Software. This is the footage he recorded one night in November 1993.

Revel in the nostalgia of some of the finest minds of the pre-cambrian 3d era.

https://vimeo.com/4022128

10 seminal game postmortems every developer should read

Another historical article from GamaSutra, this one from March 2015. A curated list of some of the best postmortems from the GamaSutra archives, this covers such classics as the original Deus Ex, System Shock 2, the original Thief, Baldur’s Gate II and Black and White.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/238773/10_seminal_game_postmortems_every_developer_should_read.php

Tools

Visual Studio Hidden Gems

Some power user features of Visual Studio covered here. Moving code about with Alt+Up/Down, and making Intellisense popups transparent by holding Ctrl were both revelations to me. Lots of great tips here.

https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/visualstudio/2016/07/29/visual-studio-hidden-gems/

Video

Developer Productivity in VS 2015 and VS 15

Video from Microsoft’s Channel 9 site with Robert Green and Kasey Uhlenhuth. Kasey shows off a number of new and existing features to make you more productive in Visual Studio.

Among the things she shows are the C# Interactive window, Quick Launch, Navigate To, IntellliSense improvements, refactorings and better feedback from the code editor.

https://channel9.msdn.com/Shows/Visual-Studio-Toolbox/Developer-Productivity-in-VS-2015-and-VS-15

Shaders Case Study – Recreating Winston’s Barrier Projector from Overwatch

This video from Makin’ Stuff Look Good on YouTube breaks down and guides you step by step in producing the barrier projector from Overwatch. This is a forcefield effect that has animated projection on the surface, and glows where objects intersect with it.

https://youtu.be/C6lGEgcHbWc

And finally…

Unprecedented raw footage of the Japanese games industry

Amongst other gems:

If you wondered how they made detailed pixel art in the mid-1980s, this is a cool showcase.

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JohnSzczepaniak/20160726/277925/Unprecedented_raw_footage_of_the_Japanese_games_industry.php