First Wave of Unity Games Published for Apple TV

Game Development
Posted 11/2/2015 2:04:51 PM by RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor

First Wave of Unity Games Published for Apple TV
The first wave of games built for Apple TV using the Unity for Apple TV platform have been released. Unity has been working under a closed alpha to work the kinks out of the Unity for Apple TV platform, treating it as a separate platform, rather than an extension of the iOS platform due to the differences on how content is presented, consumed and interacted.

The publishers of the first 11 Unity games that have shipped for Apple have worked closely with the Unity team to make sure the platform supports all the high fidelity graphics and performance capabilities of the A8 chip as well as the new features of tvOS, including On-Demand Resources and the new Siri Remote. A complete list of the first games launched for Apple TV can be found here.

Unity for Apple TV will be available in public beta in late November. Publishers who have a Unity Pro license and would like to join the alpha testing group now can contact the Unity for Apple TV support team.

Based on the feedback from the testing, Unity has provided tips for game publishers as they move towards launching games on Apple TV:

- Get to know the Siri remote and integrate it into game design.
- The touch surface is not an exact replacement for a touch screen due to the fact it is much smaller and it feels different to not be able to see what you are going to touch. 

- There are currently no ads available on Apple TV so consider a monetization strategy.
- Tackle the issue of the game size early (assets, sounds, package) as it can become problematic with Apple’s mandatory 200Mb limit.
- Thoroughly test controls and try control schemes as early in the development process as possible because using the Siri remote is a new way to control games that offers both new capacities, but also new issues.
- There are a number of ways to cut down development time through the Unity Asset Store including user interface kits, player controls mapping utilities and artificial intelligence systems. Also Unity's Asset Bundles can facilitate the implementation of Apple's On-Demand Resources, which will make it easier for releasing on Apple TV.

- Watch out for the differences between iOS and tvOS. Not every plugin and feature that can be used on the iOS side will function properly and input paradigms that work well on a touch screen will not necessarily work on the Apple TV touch surface. 

- When bringing games from iOS to tvOS, consider the structure of the UI and ensure navigation works well, especially that it adheres to Apple's human interface guidelines. If On Demand Resources will be required, get that working early and incorporate that into the work flow.
Included in the list of Unity for Apple TV features are:
- Apple TV Siri Remote exposed through Unity’s joystick API

- On-Demand Resources via Asset bundles which already shipped in Unity 5.2.1

- Deploy to tvOS platform as a separate build target

- tvOS Layered Images and Top Shelf support

- Improved Unity UI features to support TV controller style navigation

- Bitcode support

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About the author: RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor

As the Publisher and Editor for App Developer Magazine, Richard has several industry recognitions and endorsements from tech companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Google for accomplishments in the mobile market. He was part of the early Google AFMA program, and also involved in the foundation of Google TV. He has been developing for mobile since 2003 and serves as CEO of Moonbeam Development, a mobile app company with 200 published titles in various markets throughout the world. Richard is also the founder of LunarAds, a mobile cross-promotion and self-serv mediation network for developers. He has been a featured presenter at trade-shows and conferences, and stays active with new projects relating to mobile development.

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