Unity revamps iPhone engine

Tailored game engine promised to be significantly faster, offering â??full iPhone accessâ??
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Tailored game engine promised to be significantly faster, offering â??full iPhone accessâ??
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Denmark's game engine group Unity has launched an iPhone edition of its development platform, packaged with a suite of updates and improvements.

Unity offers a range of development platforms for mobile devices, as well as browsers and the Wii. Praise is often given to the group for providing development platforms that are highly suitable for indie developers, students and startups.

The company calls its newest engine “Unity iPhone 1.5”, and promises that the platform will run up to three times faster than the prior model. Crucially, 1.5 provides full support for native Objective C and C++ code – with Unity claiming this will open “full access” to the newest series of iPhones.

“We’ve squeezed out performance everywhere we could, and added a bunch of features to help people take advantage of the new iPhone models,” said Nicholas Francis, Unity’s chief creative officer.

Unity iPhone 1.5 will support 8-texture shading on the very latest edition of the iPhone – the 3GS – but also provides developers with the chance to implement many of the features found on all iPhones, from video-playback to on-screen keyboard support but also, intriguingly, access to the smartphone’s GPS and navigational tools.

The engine allows for a faster combining of multiple animations, while animation skinning can be as much as 400 per cent faster.

The platform introduces automatic batching for small dynamic objects and static geometry, a process which – says Unity – significantly reduces the draw call counts and thus boost performance levels in complex scenes.

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