- Should I create the entire level in a modelling package?
- What advantages would there be to composing the levels in Unity?
- Which techniques would be most suitable for mobile development?
Level CreationCreate bulk of scene using modelling package With the modelling package of your choice you can create the bulk of your scene with tons of flexibility. When taking this route I would strongly recommend creating an appropriate scene hierarchy (when supported) because this will make things a lot easier when working in Unity. I have also found it particularly useful to group objects using named empty objects; this avoids having to scroll through a very long list of objects in Unity! Whilst levels created using this approach will generally require more memory at runtime, this can lead to improved rendering performance. The only major problem that I found with this approach was with regards to changing and re-exporting the level. I found that on several occasions components (and component properties) that were assigned to sub-objects with the Unity editor get lost. This may have been something that I was doing wrong though... Compose scene in Unity Instead of creating and mapping the whole scene in a modelling package, create a selection of parts that can be reused. Compose your scene using the Unity editor by making the most of prefabs. This will often use less memory than the previous approach, however the dynamic batching of objects may be more intensive. When using this approach I did not encounter problems when updating meshes and re-exporting them. Use specialized extensions There are a number of extensions available from the Unity asset store that can make it considerably easier to create levels. It is well worth taking a look at what is available because there are some fantastic tools that can save a lot of time and hard work! Here are just a few that are relevant to level design:
- Rotorz Tile System - This is an extension that I created which aims to make it easier to design levels using 3D tiles. You can create tiles using your favourite modelling software and then import them into Unity for use within tile systems. You can control how painted tiles are transformed and can optionally be automatically oriented.
- UniTile (2D Map Editor) - Another fantastic tile based editor which specialises with 2D graphics. Easily create tiles from texture atlases and build highly optimized levels.
- RageSpline - Create and edit smooth 2D vector-style graphics. This is ideal for creating both levels and various other graphics. This tool can lead to some visually stunning effects with a similar look to Flash-type games.