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Dear Unity

An open letter to Unity, a call to wake up and save it before the train-wreck gets too bad.

Byron AtkinsonJones, Blogger

December 21, 2015

3 Min Read

Dear Unity,

We need to have a chat.

I woke up one morning this week to see a blog post about the new team that has been put together to deal with asset compression in Unity. This was great news and I’m sure we could all benefit from it. Actually, it’s been an amazing ride since 5.0 came out and ever since then a month doesn’t seem to go by without some new feature being announced. I’m currently seeing promoted tweets about heat maps so that you can track what your players are actually doing in your games. All amazing stuff!

While I applaud all these new features you’re adding I can’t help feel that an intervention is needed. We are not just people who use Unity, we are your family and we are concerned. This may be hard for you to hear and I’m sure your first reaction will be denial but… Unity is broken.

There, I said it.

I could go on about a long list of ways that certain features of Unity don’t currently work, they range from Enlighten, to occlusion culling to smaller bugs which are probably major to some game developer out there. This letter isn’t about trying to get you to fix individual bugs but address what appears to be a culture problem at Unity.

In your drive and determination to turn Unity into this kick-ass middleware platform full of all the features that you could want to the make the best games, you seem from an outsider’s perspective to doing so at the cost of basic core stability of Unity. Back in the early days when people used the “it’s middleware, what happens if we hit a bug” card as a reason for not using Unity you could hit back with the fact that Unity would work hard to eliminate those bugs. It’s become harder and harder to be an evangelist for Unity now because it’s no longer a matter of “if we hit a bug” but “when we hit a bug”

I used to love the fact that if you didn’t want to use a built in feature of Unity you could roll your own - for example I rolled my own particle system, but now that’s no longer really a choice you had but a necessity now to bypass completely broken features. It shouldn’t be this way. We should be able to rely on that core stability.

I still love Unity and I will still continue to use it but I’m seeing more and more of my fellow game developers running into the arms of Unreal. Not because Unreal has more features but because the frustration of having to work with a fundamentally broken Unity has become too much pain. I must admit that I myself have been looking at Unreal….

Please fix Unity, and I don’t just mean the individual bugs, it's currently like watching a train-wreck happen in slow motion that you have no power to control other than to get off - and I don't want to get off.    

Yours faithfully,



Byron started his game development company Xiotex Studios in 2007 and has worked for Lionhead Studios, EA Canada, Sega Sports Interactive, Introversion, PomPom, Kuju Entertainent, Rebellion, Attractive Games, Stainless games, Mediatonic and Future Games of London.

Byron has worked on a lot of games - Football Manager, Mutant Storm Empire, Darwinia+, Multiwinia, NHL 2005, Hungry Shark Evolution and Robot Unicorn Evolution to name just a few.

You can follow Byron on twitter where he talks about the development of Caretaker and Nandos a lot: twitter.com/xiotex

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