Codexus vs Unity 3D

Posted by (twitter: @codexus)
May 2nd, 2010 8:59 am

fydo says …

Very pretty! I liked the music too.

I must admit, it is difficult to tell how much of this is your hard work, and how much of it is just Unity. Especially since you’ve admitted to being lazy, in your timelapse post. 😉

Not to worry, I’ve given you the benefit of the doubt. :)

(emphasis added by me)

It’s a very interesting question. And I’m not sure how to answer it.

I think the most honest answer would be that Unity 3D did all of it. Simply because if I had not used Unity I would very likely made a different game and this game wouldn’t exist at all therefore Unity is responsible for 100% of the game! :)

Click ‘read more’ if that answer doesn’t satisfy you.

But then what about the art assets used? Surely Unity did not create those by itself? No, but once again I did nothing. 😉 The skybox was all done by Vue Infinite’s clouds rendering algorithms, the other textures were done by Photoshop filters or rendered by Cinema 4D. The only ones I drew myself was the jolly roger (which I totally copied from a google images reference) and the penguin (but all it involved was applying some color on the right parts directly in 3d). Even the objects are mostly the result of applying modifiers to basic primitives. The tree was made by a tree generation program called ngPlant and even the penguin’s mesh was generated from a simple armature in ZBrush.

As for the code, it’s without doubt the LD I wrote the least code for. Probably about 250 lines of code and mostly easy stuff.

Another approach to answering the original question would be to know if I could have been able to make the same game from scratch, using only basic libraries like SDL, OpenGL and some texture loader?

Clearly no. No that week-end anyway, I have done 3d games from scratch in previous LDs and I know that it’s hard and it leaves no time for hesitating about a game idea half the week-end and that’s why many of my attempted LDs in the past ended up badly.

But what if I had known what I wanted to do from the start? What if I had been full of energy to write lots of code and basically had the best LD week-end of my life, how much of that game could I have done starting from scratch without Unity? It took me about 11 hours to watch my software make the graphics for me so assuming 10 hours of sleep during the compo and subtracting about 4 hours of level design and music, I could have coded for 23 hours.

I would have been able to have the island as it’s a simple height field terrain but it might have been less detailed (even though it’s sometimes surprising what you can brute force on modern hardware) and I would have had less control on texture placement. I would have added some of my trees but probably less and they wouldn’t have moved with the wind. I clearly wouldn’t have bothered to try to make the grass. The skybox would have been the same and implementing the same glow effect would not have been unreasonable. However, I would not have implemented any shadow. Per pixel specular would have been easy to add but I wouldn’t have added normal mapping.

The water would have taken a big hit as that effect is really nice in Unity. There wouldn’t be any dynamic refraction and reflection. A bumped reflection of the sky would have been possible though, assuming enough time left to do it.

Collision detection for the character would have been simplified and likely to result in lots of annoying bugs. But it probably would have been good enough to implement the same gameplay.

So it seems that under ideal circumstances, a slightly less advanced version of the graphics would have been possible. In reality, anything that would have gone wrong in the implementation would have prevented the completion of the game. So that’s probably just wishful thinking.

So in conclusion, it seems once again clear that without Unity, I simply couldn’t have done it. Therefore all credit for this game should go to the engineers who created Unity 3D, as well as the teams and individuals responsible for Photoshop, Cinema 4D, ZBrush, ngPlant, Reason, sfxr (thanks DrPetter), Windows 7 and all the hardware I used to run that software. 😉

Please do not vote for my game, I was lazy and tried to avoid doing any effort by using software to do all the work for me instead of doing everything by hand. 😀

EDIT: added context to the quote and smileys to avoid misunderstandings

10 Responses to “Codexus vs Unity 3D”

  1. madk says:

    fydo needs to not be so stuck-up. I have no issues with others using engines like Unity and Gamemaker. I look at my game, coded from scratch in a basic-like language, and I look at those developed with an engine, and I see equality. I am considering Unity for August’s compeition, though, because I’ve never really touched coding 3D games before, but I have some interesting things in mind. Honestly, I think the level of control you get from coding raw over that of using an engine really does balance out with raw coding taking most longer than using an engine. Everyone has their choice, and I personally am much more effective using code than I am using an engine.

  2. pekuja says:

    Well, maybe Unity didn’t give you a big advantage, but you did went on to list a whole bunch of other expensive software you’re using. All legitimate for the compo though, but I think it’s good to have full disclosure on the tools used.

  3. fydo says:

    How nice of you to take the quote out of context and remove the smileys so I sound like a jerk. 😛

    I know that Unity has lots of pre-made objects that people can use in their games, and I was a bit fuzzy on how those art assets fall under the rules.
    But really, it was more of a light-hearted jab at the fact that at one point in the not-so-distant past you were feeling guilty about using pre-made 3D engines. Do you remember this thread?

    However, I did vote for your game, and if you had bothered to the read the rest of the comment I left on your game, you’d see that I gave you the benefit of the doubt (i.e. I gave you high scores). So, the emo post whining about software usage wasn’t really required. :)

    • Codexus says:

      Ouch this is quickly getting out of control /o\

      I’m sorry if you feel the quote is misleading, that was not my intention. I’ll repeat once again that I think your question is interesting and valid, which is why I tried to answer it. Not to whine about it but to try to see if it can be answered.

      I hope people won’t misunderstand my attempt at humor but my point is that the game can’t really be separated from the tools used.

      Sorry, if I’ve offended you by quoting you, I’m sure a lot of people were wondering the same thing but didn’t write it.

      • fydo says:

        Are you using a text-only browser? I’ve noticed the smileys here are turned into images, so they can be lost in some cases. The classic smiley is often used to denote when someone is joking or light-heartedly speaking about something.

        In short, no, I’m not offended whatsoever. And if a lot of people are wondering the same thing, those people are taking this whole Ludum Dare thing way too seriously.

  4. Perrin says:

    I’m glad they’re doing this jam thing next time because it seems like it will alleviate the problem of different people seeing the focus of the competition differently. I used Unity because I was more interest in spending my time on game design and content than coding, in fact my game only had a handful of lines of code. And I know for a lot of people the thrill is the coding but that’s not for me. I think this only becomes a problem becasue we’re all technically in competition with each other. So this should be a lot easier when those of us just in this for fun can just enter our games as jam games.

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