Como o Perguntados chega em várias plataformas ao mesmo tempo?

A Etermax escolheu o Unity para simplificar o desenvolvimento, acessar ferramentas flexíveis e liberar para iOS e Android simultaneamente.

Etermax: um estudo de caso do desenvolvedor Unity

How does a highly successful studio decide to move from a dual-track, native-code development path to a single cross-platform tool? Founded in 2009, Etermax is a major studio best known for its spectacularly successful Trivia Crack game (Preguntados in Spanish markets), which has over 500-million unique players. Read on to find out why they consolidated their development on Unity.

  • O projeto

    Unificar as equipes em uma plataforma de desenvolvimento enquanto aprimora um jogo líder de mercado

  • O objetivo

    Eliminar fluxos de trabalho redundantes e aproveitar o enorme conjunto de ferramentas Unity para artistas

  • Plataformas
  • Equipe do projeto

    Perguntados: 40 (antes do Unity); Perguntados 2: 15 (usando o Unity)

  • Empresa

    Mais de 220 em Buenos Aires (Sede), Argentina; Montevidéu, Uruguai; e Berlim, Alemanha

Cinco milhões de downloads em uma semana não é um assunto trivial

Quando começaram, a Etermax criou versões para iOS e Android do Perguntados em paralelo, usando código nativo para cada um. No entanto, a sobrecarga de manter várias trilhas de desenvolvimento foi considerável. Com o tempo, os benefícios de migrar para o Unity por causa de sua vantagem de "um código-fonte e várias saídas", bem como sua popularidade com alguns desenvolvedores e colegas de estúdio de jogos da Etermax, deram a eles muitos motivos para fazer a troca.

Os resultados:

  • Lançamento altamente bem-sucedido com 5 milhões de downloads na primeira semana, um dos 5 jogos de perguntas e respostas mais lucrativos nos EUA.
  • Uma base de código única que pode ser rapidamente exportada para diversas plataformas: móvel, web ou PC
  • Equipes menores e prototipagem mais rápida permitem um desenvolvimento mais eficiente e criativo
  • Os assets Prefab e o sistema de animação do Unity disponibilizam muitos benefícios artísticos de latitude e economia de tempo
  • Acesso à Unity Asset Store, que tem milhares de assets gratuitos e com preços acessíveis que economizam tempo e esforço dos criadores do Unity 
Os muitos benefícios de usar o Unity

Os usuários adoram a Fábrica de Perguntas

CEO Maximo Cavazzani got Etermax started with a series of word games, the most successful of which – Aworded Crack (formerly Angry Words) – was the Apple Store’s Best Game of 2012. They also partnered with Mattel for a mobile version of Pictionary. “After three successful games, we started thinking about doing a trivia app, and Trivia Crack was born, launching in Latin America in 2013.”

But to sustain interest in a trivia game, there’s a huge challenge generating fresh content, especially localized content. “If you live in Mexico, for example, you don’t want the same questions as people who live in Spain,” Maximo said. Brainstorming inspired a unique approach: design the game to let regional users create content and contribute their own questions and answers. Named the “Question Factory,” this feature was hugely popular and Trivia Crack became Apple Store’s most downloaded app for 60 consecutive days starting in December 2014.

Due to this kind of success, Etermax has become the fastest-growing game development company in Latin America. And Cavazzani is quick to point out the reason for their phenomenal growth: “Etermax is not a gaming company – it’s a ‘great idea’ company.”

O desconforto de manter duas versões separadas

Apesar de as versões do Perguntados para iOS e Android serem lançadas simultaneamente, o desenvolvimento da Etermax foi completamente dividido: uma equipe usava o Xcode, e outra, o Android Studio. A Etermax tinha que encontrar talentos com experiência para cada plataforma, as equipes nunca estavam em sincronia, bugs diferentes afetavam diferentes plataformas e, embora os produtos finais parecessem quase idênticos, eles poderiam ter sido criados por duas empresas diferentes.

Além disso, os recursos como a roleta, que exigiam sensores hápticos, eram difíceis de programar em código nativo. Questões como essas fizeram a Etermax considerar deixar suas ferramentas nativas e adotar uma nova plataforma de desenvolvimento de plataforma cruzada.

De acordo com Pablo Iacopi, proprietário técnico da Etermax, "Primeiro testamos a libGDX, que era uma boa biblioteca de código aberto, mas nunca tivemos certeza sobre sua compatibilidade. Em contrapartida, ela tinha uma curva de aprendizado bastante acentuada, e você precisava montar sua própria GUI." A empresa também considerou usar o React Native, que permitiria que criar a Build sobre o código específico da plataforma existente e, para novos elementos, usar uma camada lógica comum e, então, exportar para diferentes plataformas. No entanto, isso não unificaria adequadamente o desenvolvimento, que era o objetivo principal da Etermax.

Por qual motivo eles escolheram o Unity

A number of Etermax developers had Unity experience, and Etermax was aware that Unity was an increasingly popular platform that a number of their industry peers had enthusiastically deployed. “Seeing that other companies had gone with Unity gave us a lot of confidence, and we trusted our own developers who recommended it, so we gave it a try,” said Gonzalo Huertas, Etermax’s VP of Engineering. In fact, their lead developer for Trivia Crack 2 was a Unity expert.

They developed some prototypes to test speed and performance, and the results were conclusive. Gonzalo noted, “For the developers with Android or back-end experience, moving to C# was quite simple, and for the other teams, the switch to Unity was also very straightforward. We chose Unity to streamline our processes. Instead of continuing to develop on two different code bases, we now have just one development workflow and now we can effortlessly output to many different platforms from the same code base.” In addition, Unity integrated design tasks so developers could later modify graphic elements without importing from other tools.

Importantly, switching to Unity enabled faster prototyping and smaller, more responsive teams, which fundamentally changed the company’s philosophy of game development. According to Pablo, “In the past, we’d polish a game as much as possible to produce a production candidate. Now, we make a minimum viable product (MVP) and then gather extensive metrics. That helps us create a much richer game.”

Muitos benefícios dos assets prefab e do sistema de animação

Working with Unity 2018.3, Pablo revealed that: “One very big Unity feature for us is being able to nest Prefab Assets because that simplifies building the visual interface considerably. And it’s not just for characters – we have a lot of common widgets in different scenes that we can update automatically.” By building a widget as a Prefab Asset, Etermax can make a single code change and update all the nested assets simultaneously. He added, “Unity’s ability to build a glyph atlas at runtime – its dynamic font feature – really helps us with Chinese and Japanese character sets.”

Dimensionally, Trivia Crack’s decidedly flat 2D design works. Picking objects is easier in 2D, screen locations are very accurate, and the entire UI feels clean and simple. Etermax leveraged the rich and expanding Unity Animation System, letting them animate 2D sprites, manage different clips, and use the rules/timeline to transition from one animation to another.

Jogabilidade extremamente rápida: compartilhando os truques de desempenho

Despite Trivia Crack 2 being packed with most of the original game’s features and new game modes, it loads fast and feels instant. Pablo shared some of their tricks: “We started adding a lot of functionality to Trivia Crack 2 and suddenly the initial load went through the roof. That led us to investigate how Unity’s performance tools could help us. We started to measure what we were doing in that load, and basically now we distribute the game load only when and where it’s going to be used rather than indiscriminately loading everything all the time.”

The company actively shares its experiences and learnings with the Unity community. You can find articles about their Unity performance tricks and more in their Engineering team’s blog.

Qual o próximo passo dessa empresa de "ótimas ideias"?

Etermax is planning to replicate the unified and streamlined workflow of Trivia Crack 2 into other company titles, many of which get millions of DAUs, and refactoring some of them with Unity seems to be in the plans.

Unity’s broad capabilities allow them to experiment with other game genres and diversify their catalog; some of these experiments are 3D games that feature their well-known Trivia Crack mascot.

And perhaps foreshadowing exciting things coming from this innovative studio, a recent internal Etermax hackathon integrated Unity and Vuforia capabilities to create augmented-reality (AR) promotional collateral.

And now that Etermax has streamlined and accelerated its development processes with Unity, that leaves just one non-trivial question for this trivia-loving studio: What new Etermax game are we all going to get hooked on next?

Gonzalo Huertas, VP of Engineering, Etermax

"Escolhemos o Unity para agilizar nossos processos. Em vez de continuarmos a desenvolver em duas bases de código diferentes, agora temos apenas um fluxo de trabalho de desenvolvimento e podemos definir a saída sem esforço em muitas plataformas diferentes a partir da mesma base de código."

Gonzalo Huertas, VP of Engineering, Etermax
Pablo Iacopi, Technical Owner, Etermax

“One very big Unity feature for us is being able to nest Prefab Assets, which simplifies building the visual interface considerably. And it’s not just for characters – we have a lot of common widgets in different scenes that we can update automatically.”

Pablo Iacopi, Technical Owner, Etermax
Pablo Iacopi, Technical Owner, Etermax

“One very big Unity feature for us is being able to nest Prefab Assets, which simplifies building the visual interface considerably. And it’s not just for characters – we have a lot of common widgets in different scenes that we can update automatically.”

Pablo Iacopi, Technical Owner, Etermax
Gonzalo Huertas, VP of Engineering, Etermax

"Ver que outras empresas tinham escolhido o Unity nos deu muita confiança e acreditamos em nossos próprios desenvolvedores que o recomendaram, por isso, fizemos uma tentativa."

Gonzalo Huertas, VP of Engineering, Etermax
Pablo Iacopi, Technical Owner, Etermax

"A capacidade do Unity de criar um mapa de glifos em tempo de execução, seu recurso de fonte dinâmica, realmente nos ajuda com os conjuntos de caracteres chineses e japoneses."

Pablo Iacopi, Technical Owner, Etermax

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