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Asset Store: A year in review

December 18, 2017 in Games | 7 min. read
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This year you could get assets from demos like the real-time rendered Adam films and the TANKS multiplayer tutorial, as well as training and content from Swords & Shovels. We’ve introduced new Unity tools and support plugins like the Unity ARKit and the FBX exporter. And we’ve seen thousands of great new packages from Asset Store publishers. We spoke to the publishers behind three of the year’s hottest packages: Bolt, Odin, and the Realistic Effects Pack 4.

Bolt

Bolt brings complete visual scripting to Unity, empowering artists, designers and programmers to create gameplay mechanics and interactive systems without writing a single line of code. Bolt's comprehensive manual is full of gifs and pictures to get you started quickly, with no useless fluff. Basic scripting concepts are explained for absolute beginners, but advanced topics are also covered for experienced users.

About the publisher

Lazlo Bonin is a Montreal-based developer and designer, and the one-man-army behind Ludiq, the creator of the Bolt asset.

What was your inspiration for developing Bolt?

My experience working as a C# coder with 3D artists and level designers made me realize how visual scripting could enable members of a Unity team with different skillsets to collaborate more efficiently. Along the way, someone introduced me to UX superstar Bret Victor, and I was fascinated by his philosophy of Learnable Programming. As Bret puts it: “People understand what they can see. If a programmer cannot see what a program is doing, she can't understand it.” This made me realize that Bolt could be an incredible tool for learning all the concepts needed for game development.

What surprises you most about how people are using Bolt?

The extent to which people use it in their projects. Often, users end up using zero C# script, and relying entirely on Bolt. Some users have even started to use Bolt for procedural map generation. I hadn’t thought of using it for editor scripting, but in the future, I want to encourage this by creating more powerful ways to hook Bolt in the editor.

What can Asset Store users expect from Bolt moving forward?

In the next few months, there’ll be a lot of exciting new features that will improve the Bolt workflow, such as built-in tweening nodes, a new full-screen mode, more powerful events, a smarter search and even finer debugging tools. There’s a public roadmap that’s regularly updated, and you can influence the future of Bolt by voting on ideas at the Bolt community forum.

Check out Bolt on the Asset Store here.

Odin - Inspector & Serializer

Odin puts your Unity workflow on steroids, making it easy to build powerful and advanced user-friendly editors for you and your entire team. With an effortless integration that deploys perfectly into pre-existing workflows, Odin allows you to serialize anything and enjoy Unity with 80+ new inspector attributes, no boilerplate code and so much more!

About the Publisher

Devdog handles most of the marketing, social activity and communication efforts for the Odin - Inspector and Serializer. This allows the three-person Danish developer team at Sirenix to focus on great features.

Can you briefly summarize how Odin helps Unity users achieve their goals?

Odin makes it much easier for you to create and maintain huge custom editors for the most crucial parts of your game. And if you're a programmer, Odin frees you to use all of the techniques and language features you're used to in your Unity-facing data structures.

What was your inspiration for developing Odin?

We were developing our own game, which required a lot of very involved data setup that didn't fit in very well with the traditional way of doing things in Unity. In practice, this meant that we had to play the game in the editor as we built the levels. As a result, we needed to write a lot of complex custom editor code, make changes to our custom editors, and do our own data serialization. So we started writing our own serializer, and then we needed to render the data properly. Eventually, the idea of Odin as a fully-fledged product came into being.

What surprises you most about how people are using Odin?

Odin's scope is so broad, that we've learned we can't possibly cover every use case out-of-the-box. So we’re committed to giving our users the unhindered ability to adjust and tweak our product however they need to in order to fit their particular needs.

What can Asset Store users expect from Odin moving forward?

Odin is already highly extendable, but it’s still a challenge to meet the needs of some of the really exotic and unusual cases. So the need for extreme flexibility is a big part of what we're looking to address with our upcoming patches.

Check out Odin on the Asset Store here.

Realistic Effects Pack 4

Within weeks of release, Realistic Effects Pack 4 was one of the top VFX assets on the store, and was the most popular asset during the Biggest Sale Ever, in April 2017.  With an amazing demo and AAA effects, the popularity of this package is easy to understand.

About the Publisher

Andrey Turkov, AKA kripto289, is a Russian C# programmer turned VFX artist with dozens of particle system effects and shaders on the Unity Asset Store.

Can you briefly summarize how Realistic Effects Pack 4 helps Unity users achieve their goals?

With this package, even beginners can create beautiful effects with minimal effort. You just drag a prefab on to your scene, and then you can easily change the color, size, speed, distance and other parameters.

What was your inspiration for developing Realistic Effects Pack 4?

I saw a game trailer with an effect I really liked of a  stone flying out of a portal. My curiosity lead me to investigate, and I found that the technique of creating volumetric holes is actually quite common and simple. This in turn lead to many new techniques like a stencil buffer, turbulence script for particles, ribbonized trails with gravity and others, which I’ve used in my fourth effects package.

What other effect packages can Asset Store users expect from you moving forward?

I'm currently working on a comprehensive modern water pack that will include features like FFT waves and flow maps, and in the future, I plan to create an effects pack for teleports, portals, slashes and decals completely rewriting all the old effects. In addition, I welcome you to contact me with any ideas or suggestions you might have, at kripto289@gmail.com.

Check out Realistic Effects Pack 4 on the Asset Store here.

Unity Awards 2017

Our yearly awards ceremony is a way for us to celebrate the great thinking and creativity that exists in our community. This year, we had two Asset Store assets that stood above the rest to become Unity Awards 2017 winners.

Amplify Shader Editor

This user-friendly node-based visual tool enables you to create your own custom shaders without typing code. Working in a visual, graphical environment, you can quickly hone your visual style to make your game stand out.

POLYGON - Pirates Pack

A low poly asset pack of 477 unique characters, buildings, props, items and environment assets you can piece together to create your own impressive and consistent pirate-based polygonal style game.

Runner Ups

NEON

The Neon demo is a prototyping project made over one weekend by The Unity Demo team’s creative director, Veselin Efremov in Unity 2017.1. The atmospheric futuristic cyber-punk vibe was achieved entirely by repurposing models from the Asset Store.

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December 18, 2017 in Games | 7 min. read
Topics covered