Unity Focus: iPad Development

Unity Focus: iPad Development

By Thomas Grové

June 17th 2010 at 9:30AM

Thomas Grové explains how Unity is ready to support developerâ??s needs for iPad app gaming.

The benefits of using Unity as a development platform extend past its elegant user interface and workflow.
When you decide to use Unity, you're not only investing your time into a tool that supports the most interesting platforms to currently develop for from a technological and market place stand point, but also the most interesting and viable platforms of the future as well. This was the case earlier last month with the advent of the iPad; Unity's crack team of engineers got iPad support up and running, and into beta testers' hands, soon after the iPad dev tools were released. Beta testing continued up until the day before the iPad launched in the United States, at which point Unity Technologies released Unity iPhone 1.7 to its userbase — a free upgrade which enables iPad publishing.
On launch day there were more than 20 Unity authored iPad games in the App Store, adding to the more than 600 Unity iPhone games already published. Publishers of these new apps included notable names like Disney, Warner Bros., and Chillingo.

Author Once, Deploy Anywhere, Again
“Author once, deploy anywhere” is a trend that isn't going to stop. The ability to repurpose your existing games — while altering them to make the most of the target platform — just makes too much sense. Because of this, Unity is quickly becoming one of the few tools that the industry is standardising on. Developers are able to use their familiarity with the Unity editor to develop titles efficiently and then redeploy to new platforms as they become available.
Many of the iPad launch titles fit into this paradigm; just before the iPad launch I asked two launch title developers about the experience of using Unity to deploy to unreleased hardware.

Feature Highlights of Unity iPhone 1.7

• Free iPad deployment for users of Unity iPhone

• iPad Simulator support — developers can create iPad apps, even if they do not yet have iPad hardware

• Universal application support — apps can be designed to automatically work on iPad,  iPhone, and iPod touch
For more information about using Unity to create games for mobile, console, and the web, visit unity3d.com

Interview: Monster Ball co-creator Thomas Hentschel Lund

What games are you releasing?
We are releasing part of our back catalogue: two Objective-C games (Smack Boxing and Touch Wars) as well as a Unity game — Monster Ball.

Have they been submitted/accepted to the app store?
All three have gone through the pre-acceptance with approval for the grand launch, and were submitted last night as "final" versions. So baring any unknown issues, we should have those in the app store on Saturday to coincide with the iPad launch.

How was your experience developing an iPad app with Unity iPhone?
Our experience is best described by comparing the process required for the Objective-C games and the Unity game. For the two Objective-C games we spent days re-rendering all of the art, then we had to run through the entire code and pixel push things in place. It was super boring work and took man-days to complete.
With our Unity game it was literally just a matter of setting up a few player preference parameters and hitting build. The Unity GUI system already took care of aspect ratio changes, so the iPad port was simple, pain free and it just worked. Once again the investment of using Unity has paid off.

Interview: Seweryn “Yonek” Panczyniak, lead programmer at Infinite Dreams

What games are you releasing?
iQuarium HD, Sailboat Championship PRO HD, and Jelly Invaders HD — all of which are Unity authored games.

Have they been submitted/accepted to the app store?
Yes, all of these games were submitted and accepted. The mail from Apple told us that the games will be available at launch.

How was your experience developing an iPad app with Unity iPhone?
The experience was great. It took us something around half an hour to run the first build in the iPad simulator and then probably a day to setup everything for HD. We were able to get our games submitted and accepted to the iPad App Store without ever seeing hardware. With Unity it just works.

Thomas Grové is marketing manager at Unity Technologies