Optimizing workflows and gameplay
Outfit7 is dedicated to creating memorable experiences that “look, play, and feel good.” With billions of game downloads and MAUs in the hundreds of millions, they tap into the lives of players around the world. To achieve this, they need solutions that help reduce iteration times for both developers and VFX artists while augmenting performance.
Ensuring games work on a broad range of mobile devices, regardless of CPU, RAM, or storage limits
Creating the perfect virtual pet project
Controlling quality and iteration time with SRP
Mobile studios sometimes struggle with optimizing graphics quality while reducing app size. Outfit7 chose to customize Unity Scriptable Render Pipeline (SRP). ‘‘Since the Universal Render Pipeline is extensible, we can adapt what we need to and avoid overhead from including other lighting elements. It also helps us avoid writing a large amount of code from scratch,’’ says director of engineering Jon Premik.
Rapid iteration and prototyping were also imperative. In the Editor, their artists used Shader Graph to reduce developer overhead in preproduction and improved collaboration. Senior VFX artist Kyrylo Samoilenko explains that, “It really optimizes our workflows.”
Improving teamwork and momentum with Timeline
To accelerate creation, Outfit7 uses Timeline. Samoilenko says, ‘‘It helps us deliver high-quality content three to 10 times faster, and save weeks and sometimes months of work.’’
It also streamlines collaboration and enhances editing precision for their VFX artists.
On Mythic Legends, there are 40 champions with up to six status effects and their own scalability. Samoilenko notes, ‘‘This was possible due to Nested Prefabs, which allows multiple people to work on the same champion, and Timeline, which combines character animation, effects, particles and shader property animations on the character material, and then scrub through the frames.’’
Testing screen layouts and code
Mobile game creation also means tracking different locations of camera and microphone cutouts and notches. Outfit7 uses the Device Simulator, deploying it as a default mode instead of a game window. “It speeds up iterations,” says Rataj. “We instantly test what we’ve built on any screen layout without having to collect and physically connect all devices.”
Unity Test Framework is also used to evaluate critical parts of their code. By running automated test suites every time a new change is pushed to source control. “We spot mistakes as soon as they’re made,” Rataj explains. “This saves a huge amount of time compared to finding and fixing bugs later.”
Analyzing with Unity Profiler
A common challenge of coding a game for mobile is the wide range of device capabilities. To overcome this, you must thoroughly understand the code’s interaction with hardware. “The Unity Profiler shows us what’s draining performance on particular devices and how the code is performing,” says Rataj.
By inserting markers at the beginning and end of every function call, the Profiler shows how and where code is affecting memory consumption, CPU/GPU activity, rendering, and other processes. Outfit7 uses it consistently along with the Frame Debugger, which Rataj says is an easy-to-use tool for less-experienced coders.
Enhancing performance and speed with source code
Optimizing performance is the team’s main focus. Source Code Access has provided them with an inside view of the Editor, enabling them to generate solutions tailored to their issues. Additionally, they’ve been able to diagnose and report bugs more quickly.
It also helped them cut back on unnecessary API calls to build faster games that run smoothly on thousands of global devices with performance and storage limitations. Premik says, “Once you hit 470 million MAUs and 20 billion downloads, every megabyte counts. It’s key that our games are as optimized as possible, and source code access has been very useful.”
Nurturing performance in all aspects
The company continually strives for excellence in their games, and know that, in addition to the right tools, cultivating Outfit7 into a healthy, collaborative and respectful workplace will foster great team performance. According to Premik, “Everyone affects the final game. It’s a helpful culture, and if an idea makes sense, we include it.”
Perhaps the takeaway is that with persistence, a happy team, and the right partners, a startup studio’s reality can overperform even their most extraordinary dreams.