From game jam to Unity Showcase

How two devs in different countries created an awesome 2D game in their spare time

Phased: A Unity for 2D games case study

Back in June 2017, when Tim van het Kaar and Joshua Boren came up with a twist on the shape-shifting genre for a game jam project, they thought, ‘Hey, this is pretty cool. We should keep working on it as a full project.’ Then, the Unity for 2D solution made their production pipeline so smooth that the project just kept on rolling. Before they knew it, they’d formed a partnership, their project was featured at the Made with Unity showcase at Unite Europe 2017, and now they plan to release Phased as a full-scale game in 2018.

  • The game

    Phased。EpicHouse Games が開発した変身モノの 2D プラットフォーマー。独特のアートとユーザーを魅了するゲームメカニクスが特徴

  • The goal

    To see their unique game-jam idea all the way through to release

  • Platforms

    Windows, more platforms to follow

  • Team members

    2

  • Location

    The Hague, Netherlands

    Los Angeles, California

EpicHouse Studios の共同創業者兼開発者である Tim van het Kaar 氏が、2 人のパートタイム開発者が Tilemap ツールなどの Unity 2D 機能をどのように活用して Showcase で取り上げられるほどのゲームを空き時間に作り上げたかについて語ります。

A captivating, shape-shifting 2D platformer

導入障壁の低さと効率的な 2D ツール、そして拡張性に優れた Unity エンジンを利用することで、Tim van het Kaar 氏と Joshua Boren 氏は実験的なプロジェクトだったこの作品を、ヒットの期待できる本格的なゲームへと進化させました。

その成果は以下のとおりです。

  • タイルマップにより、週あたり 10〜20 時間の開発時間を削減
  • 2 人のチームがリモートで共同作業し、約 9 ヶ月で『Phased』を開発
  • Unite Europe 2017 の「Made with Unity Showcase」で紹介される

Suddenly they were making a full-scale game

After meeting on a social community web forum for game devs, Tim van het Kaar and Joshua Boren decided it would be fun to make a game together at a game jam. The two developers soon found that with Unity’s continuous updates–and its growing arsenal of 2D tools–they could create a rich game despite their limited time and resources.

“The theme of the jam was shapeshifting, but everybody was doing shapeshifting. We wanted to do something different, so instead of shapeshifting, we did world-shifting,” Van het Kaar says.

In the Phased universe, the hero is a girl on her summer break, who wakes up one day with the ability to twist reality. It’s a unique take on a well-known platform genre. Unity’s low barrier of entry has allowed them to see their idea to its fruition.

“With Unity, anyone can make a game that grows into something larger, and you can start doing it even if you’re not a full-time game developer. You can start doing it while you’re working on school. You can start doing it while you’re working a full-time job,” van het Kaar says.

“We’re two guys, I’m studying, he’s working a full-time job, and we’re still about to release a game that’s made in our spare time. And I think that’s because Unity allows us to save a lot of time.”

How the Tilemap made it easy to build 2D worlds

The two developers found Unity’s continuous updates–with its growing arsenal of 2D tools–made it possible for them to create a rich game despite their limited time and resources.

When they started creating Phased, the 2D experimental version of Tilemap had just come out in the preview version, and the two developers decided to experiment with it.

“We soon realized that we could extend it with brushes and features that matched our own workflow, and it was making it very easy to prototype and iterate on new levels,” van het Kaar says. “That meant we could just try out a feature in a separate scene and then once everything worked, put it in the main level, and we didn’t have to break things before they were ready.”

See how EpicHouse used Tilemap below.

Slicing and dicing rapidly with spritesheet support

Another 2D feature that van het Kaar loved was the spritesheet support, which made it much faster and easier to build their scenes.

“You can just throw in a regular spritesheet texture, click a button, and you have your whole spritesheet laid out. And if there’s one that’s not neatly lined up–because it’s actually laid out the way you want it for your game–you can still splice it however you want to.”

“Together, the Tilemap and spritesheet support have saved us hours and hours of work every week. In fact, if we didn’t have those 2D features, we simply couldn’t have made a game of this scale with two people working on it part-time,” van het Kaar says.

See how Spritesheet support made it easy for EpicHouse to work with 2D images below.

If it’s not there, build it

2 人のクリエイターは、Unity に搭載されている 2D 機能を活用するだけではなく、自分たちの作業方法に合わせて拡張できるという Unity エンジンの特徴にも着目しました。

van het Kaar 氏は次のように述べています。「1 つのエンジンでさまざまなゲームのすべての問題を解決することはできませんが、Unity の素晴らしい点は、エディターを拡張することで開発作業に必要なツールを作れるということです。」

「たとえば、攻撃しながら体長を増す敵キャラがあるのですが、長くなったときのフレームでは、より長いコライダーが必要になります。そこで私たちは、コライダーを移動させながら、スプライトアニメーションの各フレーム間でそれらをスケーリングするためのツールを作成しました。そうすれば、1 ピクセルごとにチェックする必要がなくなりますからね。」

また彼らは、Unity エディターを自分たちで拡張するだけでなく、Unity アセットストアからツールを見つけてきて追加することもあります。特に、Rewired は入力制御に非常に役立ったと言います。

「これを使えば、各種のコントローラーごとに設定を行わなくても、任意のコントローラーで操作できるようになります。プラグインするだけで、特定のコントローラー機能を利用できるんです。PC で PS ライトバーを使用するとかね。実に便利です」(van het Kaar 氏)。

Tim van het Kaar, Co-founder, EpicHouse Studios

“If we didn’t have Tilemap, we probably couldn’t make a game of this scale with two people. It allows us to rapidly iterate on game design and create game levels.”

Tim van het Kaar, Co-founder, EpicHouse Studios

How do you get started with Unity for 2D?

Follow this practical guide with information and resources that will get you on your way, save you time, and help you gain the most value when developing 2D games using Unity.

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