Tackling mobile and community requests
How do you score an enduring Facebook hit while constantly engaging and maintaining your player base? As their audience’s preferences leaned increasingly toward mobile and demand for a 3D version of their live matches grew, Nordeus took aim at releasing on multiple platforms.
Making 3D live matches available globally and hitting fps targets across devices
iOS, Android, Universal Windows Platform, WebGL
Volleying multiple platforms with one codebase
Top Eleven invites players to train and manage a soccer team, pairing fantasy football-style play with social engagement and connecting players from around the world in adrenaline-fueled 3D.
Iterating efficiently with Cinemachine
Bringing 3D live matches to life on multiple platforms means providing players with a strategic and immersive view of the match at comparable quality, regardless of format. The Nordeus team was looking for the sweet spot between meeting their creative objectives and efficient iteration and problem solving.
To get the best shots, they selected Unity’s Cinemachine, a suite of tools for codeless cameras that connected all of the football scenarios and set up different camera angles in slightly different ways.
Nordeus’s senior software engineer Miloš Marković says, “The diverse amount of options and tweaking capabilities that Cinemachine afforded us helped our technical artists and game designers get greenlit versions and confirm the creative direction in just a couple of iterations with no code effort whatsoever.”
Angling for highlights with Cinemachine
The team encountered another creative challenge trying to launch this new feature set on multiple platforms, since the selection of different football highlights being played meant that camera properties needed to constantly change to keep up. The team used Cinemachine’s camera blending options to create an exciting, informative, and cohesive experience for their players on each platform.
“We had to follow what was happening on the pitch, switching among camera setups for different situations such as free kicks, corners, or penalties, and also monitor other parts of the game’s UX, such as intro and outro sequences, and immediate transitions from one highlight to the next,” Marković explains. “Cinemachine not only made this feasible, but pretty easy.”
Optimizing code with Unity Test Framework
In addition to creating impressive visuals, the team focused on ensuring that critical parts of the code were optimized for multiple platforms. While they created their own customer solutions for automatic testing, they used Unity Test Framework and the Unity integration of NUnit testing library for .Net languages. This helped them test their code in both Edit mode and Play mode.
“We use Unity Test Framework extensively for writing unit tests,” says Marković, “which has increased our confidence in the quality of the parts of the code that contain complex business logic or algorithms.”
Enhancing performance with Profiler
The team was also determined to make all feature sets available to all users on multiple platforms and devices. They needed to deliver high-quality visuals, but they still wanted to achieve 60 fps on high-end devices and 30 fps on lower-end devices. The Unity Profiler quickly diagnosed bottlenecks, while its Compare functionality helped with quality assurance and validation.
“Unity Profiler helped us detect unneeded memory allocations frame by frame, thus reducing garbage collection activity, which is one of the major performance obstacles of any game,” explains Marković. They also used the Frame Debugger to optimize the number of draw calls and meshes that have too many vertices.
Getting an assist from Integrated Success
While working to bring 3D live matches to the goal line, Top Eleven engineers took advantage of the Integrated Success support plan and Project Review. They had engineers available to support them with issues, instructions, brainstorming ideas, and best practices. In the final stages of the project, one of their biggest challenges was to make sure the game ran on as many devices as possible with optimal performance.
“Unity engineers sat with us, and helped us identify bottlenecks in CPU, graphics, and memory. They were instrumental in helping us ship 3D Live Match on a larger percentage of devices than we initially planned,” says product manager Simo Kosanović.
Putting fans first
Kosanović says, “We’re fueled by our dream of making competitive games, and take pride in enabling millions around the world to be and feel like champions. Unity is an integral part in helping us make that happen.”