During the past years, we’ve seen Unity being greatly improved in different areas: a new tool to create cinematics, a post-processing stack, better rendering engine, improved performance, etc.
Recently, Unity released a new set of tools aimed to make developers of 2D games’ lives easier: 2D Game Kit. 2D Game Kit is, as described by Unity, “a collection of mechanics, tools, systems and assets to hook up gameplay without writing any code” and it’s meant to be used as a starting point by those who want to make a 2D game using Unity.
I’d say the 2D Game Kit is a full “system” that runs inside Unity because it adds a few special tools and editors that will help during different aspects of creating a 2D game. For example, there’s a wizard that lets you create a new scene, setting up a special hierarchy to help users keep things more organized (like static elements, gameplay elements, sounds, etc.).
On top of that, that new scene will be automatically added to Unity’s Build Settings so it’s included in the final game.
Another example is the Title Palette window, that lets you select tiles that you can then “paint” on your scene to easily build levels. This is a very versatile tool, because it allows you to paint big areas very quickly, and also delete tiles that you no longer need, making level iteration a very quick process.
Unless you are making a “walking simulator” your game needs interactive and scripted elements.
Fortunately, the toolset includes scripts to make interactive elements like moving platforms, doors, switches and such, so you can create different kinds of platforming challenges or puzzles.
Likewise, the 2D Game Kit includes behaviors for enemies that you can use for your games.
At first sight, it looks like this toolset is specifically aimed at 2D sidescroller platformers, so it would be interesting to see people using it for other things, like a top-down shooter, a “bullet-hell” style game, or even an RPG.
Having said this, maybe my biggest complaint would be that it feels too focused on a specific kind of game.
However, if you check the documentation, you can see it has a lot of functionality that could be easily applied to other kinds of games, like an inventory system, item pick-ups, interaction systems, and such.
On the other hand, the entire toolset is very feature-rich and it is very clear they have spent a lot of time making a tool that can be very versatile and easy to use, making it easy for creative people who may not want to code all the functionality, because they would only need to focus on the actual creative side of things, like level design, gameplay design, mechanics, etc., without having to worry about knowing how to code a player controller or an enemy AI.
Unity is clearly doing many things to improve their engine and looking at their roadmap, more improvements are coming.
The 2D Game Kit is something that will surely help those developing 2D games (specially sidescroller games), so if you are working on one, or plan to, you should check that tool out.
Unity 2D Game Kit: https://unity3d.com/learn/tutorials/s/2d-game-kit