When as a game developer you have made up your mind to build a mobile game for iOS and Android platforms, you have to decide whether to go for cross-platform or native development targeting one platform at a time. Well, cross-platform game development engines like Unity offers an inclusive approach to developing games optimized for each platform and is preferred by a significant number of immersive games to target both the mobile platforms. We are here to enquire deep into this. While both have their respective pros and cons, for the vast majority of mobile game development companies Unity seems to be the ideal choice.
While the game development scene is fast evolving allowing access to a significant number of frameworks and engines, a deeper understanding of the pros and cons of each available option is crucial to make the right decision. Obviously, having a ready in hand, a robust and developer friendly platform like Unity comes as a better choice compared to the native development just because it can take off a load of building own game engine. With Unity, you have an array of tried and tested tools and all that you require offering a standout gaming experience. Before we weigh both sides through an in-depth analysis, let us have a look at basic aspects on both parts.
Native game development
Native game apps built specifically for a platform can offer unhindered access to an array of device functions, features, and apps including device cameras, microphones, GPS, accelerometer; device notifications, calendar, etc. Native apps also allow access to the full power of the built-in GPUs. For instance, SceneKit and SpriteKit are two frameworks respectively for 3D game and 2D game development that comes packed with iOS SDK. But when you build games using these frameworks you cannot port them to other platforms. So, besides allowing you full access to native SDKs and device features, native development requires building a new game app separately for each platform.
Pros and cons of native game development
As far as performance is considered, native game development seems to be unmatched. First of all, being developed for a particular device platform, it fits into the game interface easily. This ensures glitch-free app performance and look and feel of the app that suits the platform perfectly. Most importantly developers can offer gamers familiar UI elements ensuring better engagement.
In spite of so many positive aspects, native game development is still not as popular as the cross-platform development. There is a whole array of negative aspects. First of all, with increasing number of devices and their respective device-specific attributes, developers no longer find it realistic enough to address each one of them with native development. Native game development requires huge efforts to address each platform separately. Apart from the need of massive effort, native game development is time-consuming and requires huge investment just because it needs building the game from scratch each time. Lastly, the increased time to market for native games leads to bigger marketing challenge and corresponding financial risk for the game publishers.
Cross-platform development refers to the building of apps that can be ported to different platforms or operating systems. Typically cross-platform apps require developing once and deploying multiple times across various platforms. This typical platform independent approach of development allows easier and faster time to market for games and other apps. For cost intensive game development cross-platform is the way to go since easy interpolability across several platforms helps to reduce the cost while ensuring seamless performance across devices and OSs.
Key advantages of Unity game development
Unity as the cross-platform game engine has gained huge popularity with a multitude of games being developed for this platform. Unity is equally versatile enough to be implemented large AAA game development projects and also smaller 2D games for mobile gameplay. Unity began as a robust engine for 3D game development evolved as a great engine for 2D game building. With Unity, developers can target a broad spectrum of devices. Just because of Unity game developers now can build sophisticated cross-platform mobile games with the standout graphic output. Unity as s game engine is versatile and powerful with great graphic capability, ease of deployment, powerful features and easy porting across platforms. Let us have a look at the key advantaged of Unity game development.
- C # programming language which makes the core of Unity is a powerful and flexible language with easy learnability. Game developers can easily fit into the development process with C#. While most other engines use C ++ language which is a bit challenging for the developers to adjust, Unity because of C # offers an array of familiar elements and techniques making developers feel at ease.
- The biggest advantage of Unity is obviously the cross-platform approach allowing developers code once and deploy across multiple platforms as well as devices including PC, Mac, Android, iOS, The Web, video game consoles, WebGL, etc. This obviously results in faster time to market and lower cost of development.
- Another big advantage of Unity is the robust community support. Apart from the ready in hand guidance from the website regarding various functions and examples, there is a dedicated support center to answer all the queries of Unity game developers. Unity being used by millions of game developers worldwide offers unmatched online support for any query along with particular examples of similar problems.
- Unity has a great Asset Store comprising a variety of plug-ins and resources that can shape a game up to the expectation. While many of these assets and tools are free and a log many are paid, getting them bundled together in one place is nevertheless a great advantage.
- Lastly, Unity as a game engine became matured now. We just had the latest Unity 5. With so many big names of gaming world having put their bet on this platform, you can be assured of having all the tools that make a rich game experience.
Unity is versatile because it fits the bills equally for large game studios and Indie developers. Among the cross-platform game development engines, you cannot find one with so broader a spectrum and range to accommodate games of all types and niches.