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As part of our Unity 4.3 announcement here at Unite ’13, we’re thrilled to show off our native support for 2D development. Our users have been making 2D games for many years at this stage, and we felt it was about time we stepped up and acknowledged that fact, and brought native support for Sprites and related 2D workflows to Unity.

With the knowledge that Unity users love making 2D games in Unity – evidenced by some incredible titles (see BattleHeart, Tumbledrop, Ski Safari, Bad Piggies, Year Walk, to name but a few) as well as some fantastic tools in our Asset Store – we decided to look at how to make the Unity workflow you already know and better support 2D. In future you’ll see a lot more in these tools, but as part of the first release you can expect features such as –

  • New Sprite type, with an editor that will auto slice your 2D graphics for you
  • Upgraded Animation window with Dopesheet style view and quicker parameter animation
  • Integration with the Animator to easily create states for 2D animated characters
  • An integrated 2D physics engine with rigidbodies, colliders, joints

We have also created a demo project to show our beta users how they can make a game with these new tools. Our Learn team has created this in much the same way we expect users to use our 3D tools, so we hope it’ll be both familiar and reassuring to those wondering how these 2D workflows make sense in a 3D engine.

unity 2d game development

We look forward to seeing what you create with these new tools and workflows in Unity, have fun!

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  1. It is great if there are some tutorial making game in 2D. I love making game 2D with cocos2dx but I fall in love with your tool with 3D, and now it support 2D, totally worth its

  2. Maksim Shamihulau

    November 6, 2013 at 7:46 am

    Any update on unity 2d tools ?

  3. Oh God, wheeeen?

  4. I guess this will blow every kind of 2d software that is around. You’ve done a great job.

  5. Like the others, I am eager to start using the Unity native 2D tools. Does anyone have a rough list of Unity features that are important to 2D-only workflow? Would be great to get a head start.

  6. Feel so blue and sad for keeping waiting 4.3 from Aug. as waiting to give a birth to a son.
    Oh, God, pleaseeeeeee give the team more power to let it be ready ASAP. It’s so burned in my heart, I want to do my new project with it.

  7. Siegfried! you need it? well why didn’t you say so! In that case, the release is the… nah I’m just messing with you. Still when its ready.

  8. what is the release day of 4.3? I need it ;)

  9. Everyday i’m coming back here to find a release date announcement for 4.3 and the massive 2D support!

  10. Is there a release date for 4.3?

  11. Salivating in anticipation of this release. Is there any way I could join in on beta testing?

  12. Fantastic. I cnt wait to try this out ><

  13. It’ll be ready when its ready folks! calm yourselves :D

    @NGOAHO91 Unity 1 supported isometric games, just set camera to orthographic mode! But don’t download that, get 4.2.2, its way better ;)

  14. will the new version support isometric game??? i really want it.

  15. Can we have the documentation before the 4.3 release?

  16. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? [/donkey]
    Seriously though, is there any rough estimate of a release date? this year?

  17. well,this is a great feature,most 2D developers are expect on it,so come on!

  18. @WILL GOLDSTONE

    Thank you for your efforts . Tutorial is very very important in Unity
    Unity engine is made ​​to be easy to use for anyone

    For non-English speaking people English subtitles are very important

    Now if I say my hope Intermediate Scripting and Project #01: Stealth subtitles are required

    Thank you again for your efforts

  19. @UNITY PLANNER ! we have subtitles for most of our tutorials, just enable them in the player. For the rest, these are currently being written.

  20. @WILL GOLDSTONE

    Unity is a game engine for the world
    Tutorial videos will need English subtitles for world developers
    please~

  21. Fernando Madruga

    October 6, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Any date estimation? Major blocks, like, less than 1 month, before/after Xmas, something?

  22. @WILL With the new 2D framework for Unity 4.3, I’ve seen that there’s a rather important feature missing in the info Unity has released.

    Let’s say that a have a sprite animation for a 2D character, and I want him to have a gun following its hand (with a very complex animation), or something like picking up an item and have it following the hand until it’s within the character’s backpack. It would take some serious work to get that up and running, since there’s no way to achieve something like that in Unity through the editor. Take a look on how 2DToolkit deals with this:

    http://www.unikronsoftware.com/2dtoolkit/docs/2.20/reference/sprite_attach_point.html

    I think that it is a very clever solution, and would be highly appreciated if Unity included something similar in their next releases, since it would only benefit the workflow. Are there any plans on developing something like this?

  23. @Sarah Lupo – yes we’ll be making a guide for beginners that covers how our 2D demo is built, then tutorials after this.

  24. @KMH840414: It’s not an expensive 2D tool because 2D features are in the Free version!

  25. This is great. I’ve been waiting for this for so long. Thank you Unity3D team for this amazing tool.

  26. It’s an expensive 2D tool

  27. Viktor Bogdanov

    October 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Now when Apple has introduced their fully-featured 2D engine Sprite Kit in iOS 7, do you guys feel you’ll lose a substantial share of 2D games to Apple?

  28. When i get this amazing 4.3 ver unity? I need this sooooooooooooooooooo much. Anyone knows?

  29. That’s awesome !
    Is there a chance that it comes out before Xmas ?

  30. Will the 2d sprites support multiple resolutions (ex @1x, @2x, @4x)?

  31. THIS IS TORTURE!!!! cant wait till 4.3 comes out!!!

  32. any word about the new GUI system? texture atlas for 3D mesh?
    also when can we expect 4.3 out of beta?

  33. These updates look awesome! One worry through.
    Will these sprites be optimized for mobile devices? specifically how mobiles handle lot of alpha materials badly, I’m worried if it will make sense to build mobile games with these system.

  34. Awesome, i whould like to try, but where can i donwoal the native 2d tools ?

  35. Hi staff. Sorry for bad english :)

    This is a great news. The news i’m awaiting for to pass from Flash to Unity. But… since, for now, i’m only interested in developing 2d games, there will be a specific guide for those are entering for the first time the Unity world to develop in 2D?

    Ty in advance :)

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  37. This is great news. However, The 3d workflow is not so easy to learn and different comparing to 2d workflow.

    Instead expanding features of existing 3d tools, you should create separate one – Unity2d, focused on 2d games.

    For example, look to YoYo’s GameMaker. It’s UI may look a little odd, but its workflow is really simple to grasp and focused on creating 2d experience fast and easy way.

    I’d like to see power of Unity with GameMaker workflow.

  38. Plzz release it.. now.. now. plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

  39. I hope the Unity2D sprite workflow will b as smooth as it is working with 2D toolkit (not having to worry about needless 3D stuff is a BIG improvement)

  40. Finally!!!! This is the best news I’ve heard in a while! I was just starting to consider switching to another game engine but it looks like I’ll b sticking with Unity…

    Please release it as soon as possible!!!!

  41. I hope they add.

    – Orthogonal, isometric and staggered tilemaps.
    – UI tools.

  42. When will we get proper UI support in Unity? I love the ideas behind Unity, and Unity2D is one step closer to making this everything I’d dream of, but as long as the framework cannot handle complex UI (relative layouts, scrollers, table layouts, spinners, etc), it remains not worthwhile for my purposes.

  43. Few question:

    1. Will you be able to combine 3d models with 2d sprites?
    2. Will there be support for tilemaps (see e.g. RPG Maker for example) and not just freeform sprites?
    3. When you add support for damn animated textures?

  44. Still waiting for the Linux version… ¬¬

  45. how will the lighting engine work to be able to blend seamlessly together 2d and 3d ?

  46. This is super super cool and I’m very happy about that announcement. You did an awesome work and I can’t really wait to try this out.

  47. Really looking forward to this!

  48. @Stephen: You can set the resolution through script like always.

    And as for 2.5D components, will you be able to call 3D functions? IE sprite stretch and screw? I was thinking of doing a console styled RPG.

  49. How will different resolution (hd/sd) be supported via 2d support in 4.3?

  50. You guys are awesome… thanks for hard work!

  51. Very good! I’m looking forward to seeing this quickly…

  52. I want to create the game in this tool as soon as possible.
    Thank you for your great tool’s UT!

  53. Can’t wait to try out the new release. Was starting to download the new version 4.2.1 but after seeing this, will wait till the next release.

  54. How well will the workflow integrate with Mecanim? I create a great deal of traditional animation vFX and currently use hybrids of Shuriken and Legacy, neither of which allow me to carefully track and time frame by frame with Mecanim.

    Atlas batching, trimmed textures and pivot point control are all crucial but will I be able to author a single mesh that has a lightning bolt animation so that it launches from a Mecanim characters sword into its hand without the extensive technical direction currently needed?

    Something like Shurikens render “Mesh” feature which currently does not allow sprite sheets to animate…

    I imagine creating a seamless water animation of 12 frames, projected onto a curved mesh, distorted UVs for slow-in and slow-out texture scrolling + vertex alpha on the edges, while transforming, scaling and rotating to track perfectly between characters hands during an idle spell motion. I’d never need to open the character animation in Maya to try to get an approximate location for the keyframes and do it all while it can favor (pivot) towards camera along selected axis to maintain as much visual estate as possible.

    So optimized! flawlessly tracks the animators key frames without our TD and Engineers attention…
    dream on?

  55. As a Flash dev, this sounds cool… But the major thing that’s still holding me back is a proper developer’s workflow. As long as step 1 is “open our artist-centric GUI, click this component and drag it over blah blah blah”, you’ve instantly lost a portion of your potential audience. Flash has a much broader appeal with its animation tool (Flash Pro), a developer IDE (Flash Builder), third-party workflows (like Haxe or FlashDevelop), and command-line SDKs for hardcore coders like myself. One can create a game or app entirely from any of those sources, or from a combination of them. It’s quite a lovely little confluence of code+art.

  56. Is there a release date?

  57. The final nail to the flash coffin!! Good work team.
    Now you’re officially the de facto game engine for Mobile Development!

  58. I’m needing for Unity 4.3. How do i get beta version?
    I create 2d-game use of Unity.
    You can look my

  59. How do I get onto this beta? I have several 2D games that I am working on using standard Unity but, it sounds like this 2D system and the new GUI system would make that job infinitely easier.

  60. This is amazing and make Unity more appealing for 2d game dev.

    Can’t wait for the release

  61. OMFG! Can’t wait to take unity 4.3!

    Nice job guys!

  62. NGUi creator guys is hired by Unity so we expect better and enhanced GUI, can’t wait for this one

  63. What happens if 2 objects of the same layers were to overlap (due to a lack of colliders or something)?

  64. So this will work well as the new gui interface right?

  65. Corey Skiffington

    September 1, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    Any chance of access to the Script Documentation files for 4.3 so we can get a head start on looking threw the new classes and commands for the 2D stuff? I’d like to see what I need to do to migrate my TiledMap importing classes to the new format and if any classes need to be renamed for compatibility.
    If not a list of the new class names at least would be handy. (Or are they all in new namespace(s) ? )

  66. 2D water was mentioned by another commenter, I think the New Super Mario Bros games are a good example of 2D water, it’s wavy and if you jump in or out of the water the waves react to it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C25PExb-8Z4

  67. Given that this will not support line drawing, I assume it also doesn’t support custom shapes (I tend to generate procedural level graphics)?
    Will the 2D physics engine at least support this?

    And, is the physics really box2d? That would be a bit of a shame, given that it has some very weird behavior like not giving the real normal at a collision, and true one way platforms are relatively nasty to implement (mostly because of the normal issue I’d say).

    Regardless, it’ll beat having to use physx for 2d physics.

    Looking forward to seeing it live :o)

  68. Now the most important, when will this masterpiece come out?
    Do you guys already have a release date to this new Unity’s version?

  69. Awesome ._.

  70. Very good news indeed. Now we just need a decent GUI system…

  71. As always, new features with real value!!!

    Neat!!!

  72. I have a question about physics system. the Shuriken is based on Physx. are you sure it still compatible with Box2D ?

  73. 2d with 3d tool… small lib is better and maybe faster

  74. MD Phillips Productions

    August 31, 2013 at 7:23 am

    Nice to see that the Unity roadmap is in sync with the communities needs, it’s a great platform and it just keeps getting better! Keep up the good work!!

  75. Hey will therw be a learn tutorial for that 2D demo? Also will the scene editor become availble in 4.3?

  76. I’ve been waiting to get into Unity, and with the Oculus Rift coming up I’ve been planning on jumping in for some time now – but in the meantime I’ve been doing 2D game development in Game Maker Studio. I’ve got to say, once this update hits, I’m almost certainly going to switch immediately!

    Way to stay on top of things guys, Unity is looking better and better all the time. Thanks for supporting where the community wants to go, rather than saying “Our tools, our rules”.

  77. Tomas Jakubauskas

    August 31, 2013 at 12:03 am

    @LEECOMSTOCK: Mecanim state machines use animation clips which can now change sprite references, so yes.
    Lighting system can be hooked up as sprites are simple meshes in the end. You only need a shader which outputs a normal vector, as we don’t do it by default.
    Emissive maps means rendering a sprite with two textures and we will not have support for this in 4.3.
    As for masks – we’ve added stencil access recently which can be used to mimic Flash’s masking.

  78. Very nice! Thank you again.

  79. Sweeeet!

    As a Flash game developer that’s also been using Unity this is definitely enticing me to switch. Seems like it’s easy to make my animations in Flash and then get them into Unity, and I take it spritesheet animated characters use mecanim state machines as well?

    Can you use lighting, like point lights with this? Say you’re in a dark cave with torches lighting up the area. And can the sprites have emissive maps?

    One thing that would be awesome would be the ability to use masks like in Flash.

  80. Love you GUYS!

  81. Amazing !
    The animation system will support skeletal animations too?

  82. my question is that .is it can be used for j2me game development.

  83. Amazing work you guys! Thank you for giving us these brilliant tools.

  84. My very first Android game “Fast Drop” was a 2D game created with Unity. I purchased 2D Toolkit, Uni2D and NGui and never used them. It was more work trying to get updated tuts and docs from those guys than it was worth.

    This is a big step in the right direction for Unity no matter how you look at it. I wasted so much time and money on Unity 2D tools and my next two games are being made in Corona because it was so much easier to learn. Now hopefully I can come back to Unity and stay with it.

  85. Calm down, guys. They “only” implemented sprite-bitmap based stuff. As long as they don´t implement real vector-drawings (We’re not adding any functionality for line drawing in 4.3) it isn´t a soo hot update. Look at the Rage-Spline plugin: http://ragespline.com/ . This is the real deal ! imho.

    Of course, it´s the right direction. Evolutionary, not revolutionary.

  86. Mr.ProfessorDoctorTroll

    August 30, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Ok, since you are making this, PLEASE, integrate 2D ragdolls. I tried making some in flash, but it is just terrible. And yes it is possible I have seen some demos of people who made 2D ragdolls. And with ragdolls, that means…… SKELETONS! BONES! Better make them. Anyways, your engine is one of the best that I have used in a while now. Keep it up!!!!!

  87. Also: can I play with the beta? Can I? Can I? Huh? Can I? Please? Can I? Pretty please? Huh? Can I?

    (etc.)

  88. I’m gonna get 4.3 on yo’ ass!

    Looks like my tutorial will be getting its rewrite once 4.3 hits. I can live without the new GUI… for now.

    Ah yeah!

  89. Unity…. maybe I…. maybe I…. falling in love for you!

  90. Wow coming from a 2D animation background and just started learning Unity last week, this is brilliant timing. I know its a little while before it’s live, but wonderful to know its coming!

  91. This amazing thanks for acknowledging the whole 2d games community

  92. How might one become involved with 4.3 Beta testing?? I would love to be able to learn the new systems ahead of time.

  93. Tomas Jakubauskas

    August 29, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    @LONEINDIE: what coordinate system do you have in mind?

  94. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!!! I have been waiting for some good 2d game development tools and here you guys read my mind and make it wonderfully!! thank you SOOOO much!!!

  95. HEEEEELLLL YEAAAH!!!!

  96. Oh God can’t wait for that, it really seems awesome.
    Goodbye other 2D tools!!

  97. Andre @PixelInteraction

    August 29, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Uhm! Fucking awesome! As of now we’re far in production using Uni2D, but our next title will be sure to use the native 2D support. right on guys! Loving it!

  98. WIll you also change the coordinate system ? It would be great if it is similar to the one Cocos2d-X is using..

  99. OMG god bless you guys. I’m absolutely stoked by this new development from Unity!!!! You guys are seriously amazing.

  100. Tomas Jakubauskas

    August 29, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    @INDY: Yes, the newly added 2D features work with our discontinued Flash product.
    @CHRIS: 2D water? Can you describe what that is?
    @RAMESH: We’re not adding any functionality for line drawing in 4.3.

  101. Tomas Jakubauskas

    August 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    @SAVE: SpriteRenderer component works with dynamic batching, so the same rules apply: match the material and the texture to get one draw call.

  102. This sounds exciting, you’re doing precisely the right thing. I’m wondering how you handle draw calls with this technique? – For instance the main character is separated into several objects. Integrating a sprite manager as well?

  103. wow looks awsome, gunna have to give this a go when its released maybe do a mappack in my 3d game in 2d just to have a proper go with it

  104. How can we try this beta project you speak of? I am about to start new 2D project and was just going to buy 2D Toolkit to get things going faster (those guys must be rather unhappy now :P)

  105. What about 2D water?

  106. Only closed BETA???? I would really love to start playing with these new tools…

  107. Aras Pranckevičius

    August 29, 2013 at 11:37 am

    @JT: in 4.3 Mecanim can animate anything (component values, script properties etc.)

  108. This is great! I’m starting a 2d game project and I would like to try the 4.3 beta, how can I join the beta testing group?

  109. roll over game maker studio its time for unity to take over all 2d game development!

  110. Will it be possible to export “2D Projects” to Flash?

  111. @RIEF: They’re 3D games with a fixed camera.

  112. At 0:44 it shows mecanim controlling the animation states for sprite animations. Has Mecanim also been changed to do 2D sprite animation or are you manually starting/stopping animations through Mecanim’s callback functions?

  113. Great initiative by Unity. We have been using 2D Toolkit for making 2D Games in Unity. Looks like great initiative

  114. This is a very nice and long awaited addition to Unity.
    A real killer feature for future would be some tilemap support for this.
    Favorable the Tiled / TMX (or JSON) format.

  115. With 4.2 i have experienced that the asset store launcher is very buggy, i can download one asset then i have to restart the editor, btw awesome new features :D

  116. Awesome, but what about Games in 2.5D? Like Klonoa on the Wii or Pandemonium on PSX?

  117. UNITY JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER AND BETTER… UNITY FOR LIKE \m/

  118. (There are NGUI but) What are some of the new GUI system?

  119. Very cool guys, very cool!

  120. And here I was about to purchase Uni2D. Very curious about how this compares to it.

  121. You guys are really awesome,
    This extension is great help to many developers.
    Expecting some cool 2D line drawing APIs in it.

  122. Maciej Kozlowski

    August 29, 2013 at 8:28 am

    Finally! I was so tired of working with third party components that sometimes had problem with animation sheets, sometimes had different offsets of textures on different platforms. I absolutely love Unity3D, but I also like making 2D games. Jumping through all the hoops was annoying. Good job, you guys!

  123. Tomas Jakubauskas

    August 29, 2013 at 8:25 am

    @KAI WEGNER: 4.3 just entered beta, so we can only guesstimate when it will be ready to ship.
    @AARON: we have a Pixels-To-Units property which lets you map different textures sizes to meshes of the same sizes.
    @PIXNLOVE: you can use Shuriken for both 2d and 3d particle effects. There’s really no difference.
    @IMAGINARYHUMAN: sprite editor supports slicing a texture into a grid of sprites. That’s how you define a set of rectangle sprites for tile maps. Creating a tile map is a task we don’t handle for you in 4.3.
    @ZIRUN: you get early access if you’re on the beta testing group.

  124. Create stuff! So, I am just wondering…will there also be some kind of tileset editor?

  125. UT really gives a lot!

    Thanks for the hard work!

  126. Hello, I am working on a 2D game in Unity3D, and Im just getting into the documentation and runtime classes, and I have a question.
    Will we be able to have access to the things like the runtime classes for the official 2D support ahead of time?

  127. Aras Pranckevičius

    August 29, 2013 at 7:14 am

    @CSTUNNER: yeah, Unity 4.2.1 should be out any time now.

  128. What a great feature!!! :D I was just reading and trying to decide between the already 2D extensions but now I’ll wait for this free 2D option =)

  129. Looks cool, nice integration with Unity editor etc… lots of good features. No tilemap support/background animations?. . maybe in a future version?

  130. Will 4.3 be the next release WITH the 4.2 crash fixes? Or will there be a pre 4.3 release with 4.2 crash fixes?

    BTW, very nice tools every time, UT is progressing not in steps but in leaps.

    Thank you

  131. 2D physics engine sounds really really good, so does the layer and sprite sheet tools
    Well I think it is about time I move to Unity 4 now.
    When will I be able to play with these new tools?

    Next on the wish list:
    1. Efficient 2D particles Systems.
    2. Native and efficient SVG import.
    3. Standard 2D Asset inluding standard 2D shaders and effects.

  132. This could be great. I was just considering Unity my next project and had discovered 2dToolKit and was thinking of using that.

    The real big thing I need however is resolution/device independence. I’m not sure if this 2d Framework (Or unity in general) supports that well. I need to have textures of the right resolution loaded depending on the device resolution and I need to be able to work in one world space that auto scales.

  133. Hey Will, any prevision about 4.3 release date? I don´t want to be boring, but showing us these feature and say “wait for next release” is torture. :p

  134. This is really cool guys, I’ve been looking forward to something like this for a long time.

  135. This announcement is really exciting. Handling 2D physics and avoiding the funky things that happen when trying to coerce 3D physics to 2D will make development much simpler, and makes Unity a no-brainer for almost every game type. The extra optimizations demoed like auto-atlasing make it all the better. Great work; can’t wait for 4.3’s release.

  136. Good news for you! This is exactly what is shown in the video! See the part where the swan is animated – all that is happening here is that we automate the frames being swapped each keyframe.

  137. that’s a WONDERFUL NEW! seriously guys, you rox!
    Now, all I want to know, it’s if we can swap texture during animation, that would be perfect!

  138. When you make a virtual controller support as standard Input? In order not to rewrite other people’s scripts for use on mobile platforms?

  139. Can’t wait to get my hands on the new version. When will it be released? Sadly we can’t use a beta for production…