tvOS, the new operating system for the Apple TV, opens up opportunities to bring great games to the living room. Unity, the maker of a development platform for creating 3D and 2D games, has recently announced that they are already working to bring Unity runtime and all the games made with Unity to the new Apple’s platform.
Actually, Hipster Whale’s Crossy Road, one of the very first games for Apple TV 4 that was demoed during the announcement of the new Apple TV in September is using the Unity technology.
Unity is currently working with a closed focus group to iterate, improve and polish Apple TV support.
When we feel it is ready, we will open it up for public beta testing. We don’t have any dates to share yet; although we expect this to happen later this fall.
This is how Unity describes the differences between tvOS and iOS:
While tvOS is built on iOS heritage, it went under heavy cleanup process: numerous of frameworks are absent on tvOS and some new requirements are in place. TV in general is quite different in terms of how content is presented, consumed and interacted, which makes it more accurate to treat it as a separate platform rather than extension of the iOS platform.
Developers can already start preparing their game content for tvOS. According to Unity, the iOS developers can get pretty close to the tvOS experience by connecting an iPhone6+ to an external TV via HDMI cable and pairing it with a wireless MFi certified Game Controller.
The company has also published a quick checklist of what an iOS game should pass to be ready for tvOS:
- Make sure your game runs fine on the latest Unity 5.x version. Apple TV support will be based on the latest Unity 5 version available at release time.
- You should be able to control your game with just the Apple TV remote alone. However, we think the best way to prepare in its absence is to make it work with Game Controllers first. Make sure all of your in-game UI responds to Game Controller inputs. It should be playable without ever touching the screen. Later, you can easily improve on that by using the new remote touch gestures and gyroscope or accelerometer input.
- Apple TV devices will have virtually no persistent store for your games, so moving your game saves to Cloud becomes a necessity.
- Apple TV is a streamed content device and your games are expected to be streamed if they take more than 200 MB of disk space. Here comes On Demand Resource support to the rescue. You can learn more about it in our forum post.
- Most of the plugins will need to be recompiled specifically for this new platform, some of their functionality might even be unavailable on this platform. Please review all the plugins you are using inside your game and contact their providers for Apple TV support.
The new Apple TV will be available at the end of October/in early November the first starting at $149 for a 32GB model and $199 for a 64GB model.
More on Apple TV 4:
- MAME emulator running on Apple TV 4
- Official Plex app is coming to the new Apple TV
- VLC coming to the new Apple TV
- tvOS not coming to Apple TV 2 and Apple TV 3
- How Apple is fixing what’s wrong with console gaming today