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IcedCrow

Unity vs XNA

36 posts in this topic

One thing I am trying to puzzle through are what the limitations really are in english newb speak ;)  

 

It seems that basic Unity is perfectly fine for a prototype.  If you want to polish it further, to me, you could get a kickstarter rolling from it to raise up the $1500 to do so.

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In my opinion, you could absolutely make games with Unity's free version.  All of the main functionality of the engine is in the Unity free version.  If you need your game to have top-notch, amazing graphics, then you'll probably need Unity Pro for that because a handful of important graphics features are locked in the free version.

 

So I'm of the opinion that if you're trying to make games, you should go with Unity.  If you're trying to become a great programmer and make engines, then go with something else that is more in that realm.  It's not bad to use Unity and purchase/download other peoples' tools to help you make games.  It'll save you a lot of time.

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One thing I am trying to puzzle through are what the limitations really are in english newb speak ;)  

 

It seems that basic Unity is perfectly fine for a prototype.  If you want to polish it further, to me, you could get a kickstarter rolling from it to raise up the $1500 to do so.

 

Its fine for full games as well as long as you don't need a highly advanced renderer.

 

If you use 2D or 3D with a cartoony or retro artstyle the renderer restrictions won't be a big issue, if you're trying to make a realistic and modern looking game however you will want some pro features. (realtime dynamic shadows is the big one imo as you need it to let moving objects (players etc) cast realistic shadows and you'd have to go back ~15 years to find first person shooters on the PC that didn't have that functionality)

 

However, if you don't understand what the limitations actually are then it is highly unlikely that you would be able to implement the missing functionality yourself using a lower level framework such as XNA anyway.

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Hi,

 

Simple answer:  Your games developed with XNA will run in computers and some other devices for years to come, so just focus on learning game development. 

 

Eventually there may come a time when you need to offer a .NET Framework update to some of the end users of your game who still have older systems, but all newer .NET Framework versions since 2010 and into the future will run your games made with XNA.  There are utilities in Visual Studio which allow you to include the application which checks the end-user's version of .NET Framework, though the application itself may be acquired from Microsoft website or from third parties.  Upon checking the client's version, it will ask the end user to either update their system or you may program it to offer to do it for them.  Of course, you are required to include License and Terms for everything under license, but that is easy for the end user.

 

I am not a fan of changing ships in the middle of a voyage, so stay with XNA at least for a few more games. smile.png  

 

Unity was actually based and made from Mono of the same family as MonoDevelop.  Unity has implemented some ported coding related to XNA and Mono. XNA, Mono, and Unity targeted the .NET Framework in source code and implementation for hardware and OS cross-platform was developed from Mono.  At their core, they are all native in C# if you want to target only .NET Framework, but all may be ported to Mono either natively or by compiler to other languages, for example Lua or Python to script your gameplay.  

 

As you gain in knowledge by your research and experience in your community, these issues will become more clear to you, so just take it step by step according to your game concept.

Edited by 3Ddreamer
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I implemented a galaga type game last night in Unity.  It took a couple of hours, mainly researching syntax, but writing an xna engine for that would have likely taken me a week or so (as I am again fairly new).  

 

I suppose my juncture right now is that I'd really want to focus on game design as opposed to spending the rest of the year writing an engine and getting burnt out (this has been my obstacle for years).  

 

XNA excited me but when it comes down to it I suppose writing an engine from scratch is great fun for some, not so great for others.

 

"However, if you don't understand what the limitations actually are then it is highly unlikely that you would be able to implement the missing functionality yourself using a lower level framework such as XNA anyway."

I 100% agree with this statement.  One of the more terrifying things is figuring out shaders for me.  I've looked at that code and have a hard time finding any decent tutorials written for someone new other than to explain basically what a shader does.  I understand what shaders and renderers do, but if I wanted to implement them, I have had a hard time finding decent tutorials on how to go about making that happen, and the basic effects obviously don't cut it.

 

So the main question that I keep asking myself over the last couple of days is... what are you trying to accomplish?  WIth Unity I can likely have a working prototype of my idea within a month.  With XNA, realistically I'm looking at by the end of the year if I put in hours every day (and as this is a hobby amongst other hobbies, the time consideration becomes important). 

 

The tradeoff of course is if I do it in XNA then I would have a lot more experience and understanding of the low levels but I'm afraid of two things:

* i'll get burned out well before then and go back to 2D as I'll hit snags that I can't figure out

* I won't be able to make it look even a fraction of what I can do in Unity on basic settings due to working mianly in basic effects and basic shaders.

 

It is not an easy decision to make, but in the end what really matters?  The end product.  As some have already pointed out, and which I fully agree with... the end user doesn't care what I used to make the product.  They care that the product is functional and is fun.  That's the real evaluation that matters.

Edited by IcedCrow
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I started living by the adage "Make games, not engines". I would spend months making an engine to make a game in my head, and get burnt out because I wanted to make games, that is why I was writing the engine in the first place. Unity allowed me to save months and start working on a ACTUAL game idea I had the day I had the idea. I am creating levels, writing scripts and gameplay, all on day one. It would have taken me 3 months at least to get to that point in XNA. I think it is still good to have that knowledge to be able to write an engine from scratch(a basic one) to understand how everything fits together, but this can be seen as a side project, not a "I have to finish this crappy engine to make a game" type of endeavor.

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To make a typical AAA quality popular game or game engine takes years even with a team, starting from scratch to end-user, so nobody should feel bad about abandoning the game engine jungle.  

Edited by 3Ddreamer
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"However, if you don't understand what the limitations actually are then it is highly unlikely that you would be able to implement the missing functionality yourself using a lower level framework such as XNA anyway."

 

Third party coding plugged into XNA saves months.   Some coders are willing to give you their shelved libraries no cost, such as terrain editors, scene graphics, or gameplay scripts - all of which may be altered to your liking.

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That is true, a big profile game takes an entire team and much time.  My focus is not on designing an AAA game, rather it is on designing something smaller scale that I can enjoy and maybe a few others find entertaining as well.

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In that case, you made the right strategic decisions for an early stage developer.

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Also as I'm a C# developer for a living, I do coding all day long so getting to do some design is more fun :D

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Unity is a very cool engine, really easy to use, you have most of the needed features already implemented or you can buy them from the store.

 

On the other hand XNA is not an engine, it's a framework. Which means you have to code everything yourself, i.e., you'll learn more. :)

Also there are engines that are built on top of XNA, I recommend http://xnafinalengine.codeplex.com/. Hopefully there will be a MonoGame version.

 

When we are at MonoGame, it is basicly a Mono port of XNA, which means it can basicly run on Linux, MacOS or any  other platform. http://www.monogame.net/

If you'd like to start with XNA I'd recommend MonoGame, considering that XNA is not supported any more.

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