Unity Prototype Project

For the last two days I've tried out the Unity engine with a friend from university, Andreas Ostermaier. If you don't know the Unity engine, go and check it out.

Its design is very similar to Torque 2D. I can't tell who used it first, but Unity's design is more mature than what I remember from Torque 2D 1.3 back when I was still using it in 2007. A scene is made up of game objects. A game object is a container of components (also called behaviors)1. A game object always contains a Transform component which places it in the scene (and in the scene hierarchy). Usually, it contains a Mesh component and a Physics component for handling rendering and collision detection. But sometimes empty game objects are useful as well: as respawn points for example. Custom scripts, written in JavaScript or C#, can be wrapped in a Script component and tied to game objects in the same way.

Templates/prototype objects2, called prefabs, are used to avoid creating all game objects by hand. Instances of a prefab link back to the prefab, that is the original object, and automatically inherit changes to it (or the children in its hierarchy). Torque 2D 1.3 lacked this feature: GarageGames had an editor plugin in development when I was doing contract work for them but I'm not sure it has ever been released.

We have spent the last two days implementing a PoC for a game idea my friend came up with. The idea is about being able to switch between 2D and 3D in a platformer to solve puzzles. It is about reinterpreting a level when it is seen from a 2D perspective. For example, two separate tiles above an acid pool that cannot be reached by jumping from one to the other can suddenly be connected by switching to 2D because they look connected.

PoCDimRunner 3D PoCDimRunner 2D >

You can play the PoC build here, using Unity's webplayer, or download it here in a .zip archive. Use the left mouse button or 'c' to switch between 2D and 3D.

There are a few games that are similar to this idea: Echochrome, Super Paper Mario, and Crush (and its sequel Crush 3D).

You can find the code on GitHub (ie here).

Cheers,
 Andreas


  1. See eg herehere, and here for an overview.

  2. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prototype_pattern[[2]]