What is Chipmunk2D?
"[Chipmunk2D] has opened up doors for us. Made games possible to develop that otherwise we wouldn't even think about pursuing.” - Eric Busch
Chipmunk2D is a powerful low-level physics engine used in many libraries such as Cocos2D. It has also been used in many top selling games, especially on mobile, like Waking Mars, Feed Me Oil, and Zombie Smash. It’s very portable and has been used on just about every sort of hardware from desktop PCs, to mobile devices, to game consoles all the way down to graphing calculators. Now we'd like to bring our engine to one of the most popular and fastest growing engines, Unity3D.
We’ve been maintaining, optimizing and extending Chipmunk since 2006, and writing physics code for years before that. A few years ago, we decided to try and make a “Pro” version with some extended functionality and optimizations for mobile platforms. That opened up the opportunity to work on Chipmunk as more than a hobby project, and a lot of people have had very nice things to say about it. That just gives us warm fuzzy feelings that our users are willing to pay us to work on a project we love, but also that they like it so much that many have felt the need to tell us.
“After five days I felt comfortable with [Chipmunk2D Pro], and after five weeks my current project is at the same state it took eight months to get to with [other leading engine], and it’s more stable with a better framerate." - Greg from Sleepy Cactus Games
"It is worth every penny, and I don’t think you can find anyone who bought it and would disagree with me." - Lars from The Backfire Games
Why Chipmunk2D on Unity?
Chipmunk2D is a great match for Unity, since so many Unity devs are making mobile games that are either 2D or 2.5D. Touchscreen devices just work so well with 2D gameplay, and it's natural to add physics to the mix. Chipmunk2D brings you performance and features that you don't get when doing 2D physics inside a 3D physics engine.
While you can use Unity’s 3D physics engine in a 2D game, it's will hold back your game and limit your performance. It works by forcing object positions to be clamped to a single plane, but it’s still doing all the calculations in 3D. It also really doesn’t offer the sort of features that 2D games need to really shine.
Chipmunk2D offers features you can’t get in Unity like advanced collision events and filtering. You can modify collision information as it occurs, and you can inspect individual collisions to make things like one-way platforms or other objects that collide conditionally.
Ten joints are available in Chipmunk2D, and they are much more configurable than what’s available in Unity. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ZgJJZTS0aMM )
We don't want Chipmunk to feel tacked on to Unity, we're devoted to giving our plugin a Unity-like feel. The Chipmunk2D components work as closely as possible to their built in siblings. We’ve also tried to improve on them when possible. For instance, the built in editors for colliders don’t allow you to edit them directly in the scene. You can translate/rotate/scale the game object they are attached to, but that is it. The Chipmunk2D editors allow you to edit the shapes visually in the scene, including custom polygon shapes. Perhaps the killer feature is visual joint editing. No more typing in numbers and guessing if it’s set up correctly!
Here is a video showing how it takes only minutes to set up a custom vehicle including all the custom shapes and joints.
We want to get this out to as many people as possible, so we're offering copies of the Unity binding along with Chipmunk licenses as rewards to contributors. If you’ve been considering buying a Chipmunk2D Pro or Chipmunk2D Indie license, and are interested in Chipmunk2D for Unity, this is a good way to get a deal on both. You can find out more about Chipmunk Pro here. We'll also be providing beta access to Chipmunk for Unity by the first week of July.
Waking Mars and NightSky are available for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Android.
Even if you don’t make games, there have been some great games produced using Chipmunk2D. If you like to play games, you can still help us out too! We’ve teamed up with the makers of Waking Mars and Night Sky to offer a little cross-platform, DRM free, Chipmunk2D game bundle. Both games were finalists at the Independent Games Festival and both have also been included in past Humble Bundles. You can support the game developers and the tools they built their games on.
I found Chipmunk to be quite stable, never causing a problem, works as expected. From a programmer's perspective it is awesome (no kidding!), most of the player controller code that I have with PhysX was to overcome shortcomings, avoiding situations that trapped the player or made him behaved in a way that looked or felt wrong. With Chipmunk, I have not had to add any of that logic. - Patrick Simmons, Chipmunk2D for Unity beta tester
Please note that Unity Pro is essentially required to use Chipmunk2D, since the basic versions do not allow native plugins in the editor. While Unity Basic can put a working Chipmunk2D game on a device, the game won't work in the editor.
We're participating in http://kickingitforward.org, by pledging to donate 5% of our kickstarter profits towards other Kickstarter projects, especially video games and tools!
So your support will help us complete the documentation, examples, and test it on more platforms. We'll continue to tune the performance of the Unity plugin. Most of all, we'd love to hear your suggestions and feature requests.
Thank you for your interest!
Risks and challenges
We started our plugin a few months ago, and we need your help to finish it off. We wanted to be certain we were able to integrate Chipmunk into Unity and provide a great experience before announcing the Kickstarter project. Everything you’ve seen so far is already working on our devices, and greatly outperforms the built in physics.
So Chipmunk2D for Unity is already in a solid beta state now, but there's more we'd like to do. We need to finish documentation and create more example projects. You can never have enough documentation or example projects, but that takes time. So far we have a 2D platformer and are working on a color matching puzzle game. We want to ensure we can afford to spend the time to make more and make them as good as possible.
Currently we have the plugin building for Mac and iOS since we are most familiar with those platforms. Adding Windows and Android support shouldn’t require any code changes -- Chipmunk2D has already been extensively used on them -- but it will take time to get the plugin built and tested on those platforms.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (20 days)