Unity Empowers Canadian Indie Studio's First Celebrity Game
Here at East Side Games, we’re fairly new to Unity. For years, we had worked primarily in Flash, but we welcomed the change and embraced it with our recently launched mobile game, Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money. It’s been a long road, but Unity helped empower our growing studio to make a solid game for iOS and Android devices.
East Side Games has nearly 80 people working on various projects, and adapting is essential at this stage. We’ve come a long way since our small beginning, but we remain independent. Making the switch wasn’t all rainbows and flowers, but here are some thoughts from our developers. Take them as you may:
Steven Sauer, who has a Unity Emoji next to his username on our office chat, seemed like a good person to ask. Besides the emoji, he’s also a Software Engineer. “The major benefits to using Unity,” he says, “was having a built in visual interface. This allows our artists to build their own assets in the game world, our designers to quickly iterate and test in an environment, and our coders to extend that interface to meet our current needs.”
Tim Mann, another software engineer, says bluntly, “Unity solves tons of problems that nobody wants to think about.” He also mentions that it bridges the gap between design and engineers. “We can make tools that enable our designers to work more closely with the product, so I spend less of my time interpreting what they want and more of my time giving them the power to do what they need to do.” In a business that relies heavily on collaboration, that power can be a huge help.
But switching to a new engine can be a learning experience. Tim explains some issues with subassets, “Avoid using subassets. They sound nice but make life harder in practice, especially where version control is concerned.”
Steven also has some words of wisdom for those making the switch. “Unity won’t just solve all your problems. It's powerful and is full of useful features, but thinking that Unity will simply 'do that for you' will likely lead to disappointment. Tools are powerful, but knowing how to use them is crucial." He also adds, “All things considered, Unity was definitely the best fit for us as a smaller, indie studio.”
The producer of Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money, Jim Wagner, chimes in, “The best bit was having a closer relationship with the actual game by being able to directly interact with the systems through the editor.” He adds a final bit of warning, “But with great power comes great responsibility of not f**king up the project and breaking the build for the team.”
While this is only a brief look at our studio’s thoughts on Unity, we hope it helps anyone looking to make the switch, especially in the mobile game space. We have no regrets, and are pretty damn pleased with the product it allowed us to create. The game is now sitting on 2 million installs, so something must have gone right. If you want to check out Trailer Park Boys: Greasy Money, be sure to check in out on Android and iOS.