The road to 2021: The many dimensions of the 2D team

We recently shared our roadmap plans for 2021. Now we invite you inside Unity to meet some of the teams working towards these goals. In this third post of the series, we introduce you to the 2D team.

Our Unity 2021 roadmap explains some of our focus areas for next year. We’re committed to updating production-ready features and delivering key new features based on what you have told us you’re missing from Unity. But we’re equally determined to improve workflows and your overall quality of life.

This post is the third of a series that aims to give you a glimpse behind the scenes. Today we are meeting with Paul Tham, who leads the team behind 2D and tools, and Rus Scammell, the Product Manager of 2D.

A team of wide-ranging backgrounds

The dedicated 2D team provides creators of 2D experiences in Unity with a feature set that covers foundations, world-building, animation, graphics and physics in 2D (including tools like Sprite Renderer, 2D Tilemap Editor, 2D Lights). The core team today is 15 people strong, including software engineers, software quality engineers, a designer, a technical writer and a product manager, but several other individuals contribute their expertise to evolving 2D.

“It’s a team built for multifunctional conversations,” says Rus.

“The team is also diverse. They are Singaporean, American, Swedish, British, Indian, Malaysian, and Chinese. We share our cultures with each other and it makes our lunchtime discussions very lively,” adds Paul.

Paul and Rus began their careers developing games together for the PlayStation 2. Paul later met some of the other current team members at Ubisoft. The team consists of passionate game developers involved in various areas of game production and tool development in support of both indie and large-scale projects.

Connecting with 2D users

The team likes to engage with users (in the 2D forum and Beta forum) and keep a close eye on the conversation happening on Twitter, where, for example they connected with Odd Bug Studio, which was using 2D lights in its upcoming title, Tails of Iron.



“At the community level,” says Rus, “we make announcements when a prerelease feature is available so that creators can try it out and give us their feedback. We are also doing more to make sure that performance is tested on a range of mobile devices. At a strategic level, our features are really driven by users.” 

The team closely observes how studios are using the 2D tools and listens to their feedback. This was the case with B2tGame during the making of the Lost Crypt and Glu Mobile for the development of Isometric Tilemaps.

When users report problems or dissatisfaction or suggest solutions or ideas, the cross-functional team strives to understand what the user is ultimately trying to build. By examining a user’s problem space, the team can determine if there’s a larger need for a solution. For example, if a user reports “pixel art” as a problem space, the team evaluates common workflows and desired outcomes and makes sure that the resulting solution (features and resources), in this case the 2D Pixel Perfect package, can support those outcomes.

“Design has also become a critical part of how a feature comes together,” states Rus, “and it is championed by a dedicated design team that spans

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