There was a time when the second dimension kind of fell by the wayside in gaming. It was back during the dawn of 3D gaming in the 90s, when everyone was just discovering 3D graphics technology. Although, looking back, the games of the time were almost universally ugly(by today's standards); they were downright revolutionary for their era, and most people thought they didn't look too shabby at all. Everybody was interested in the new tech, and the old style of development sort of fell by the wayside. 2D games were generally the realm of handhelds if they even got a fair shake at all.
Then something kind of weird happened. As we continued our march forward and developed newer and better technology, platformers began to make a comeback. 2D graphics - elegant in their simplicity and beautiful without needing ten tons of bloom - surged back onto the market, helped along by a whole new crop of independent developers. Today, some of the best titles on the market only exist in two dimensions - and I can guarantee that most of you have probably played at least one of them.
Plus, there's quite a few 3D games out there that make use of a number of 2D assets, besides.
The Unity Team has apparently taken notice of that trend. Today, they announced Unity 4.3, which features the addition of 2D development tools to the Unity Game Engine. These tools, says Unity, are designed to help developers streamline the workflow of 2D development with a Sprite Texture import mode, automated antialiasing, drag-and-drop functionality and optimised rendering for 2D graphics. What's more, the team's integrated Box2D physics into the engine, as well.
Those of you who are interested (and particularly knowledgeable) can check out the full patch notes on Unity's website.
Originally launched at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in 2005, Unity was first intended to build projects for Macs. It proved incredibly popular - enough so that it was eventually developed to work on other platforms. Before long, it had become one of the world's leading cross-platform game development engines.The current build has pretty much everything a developer could possibly need, including a deployment add-on that allows the dev to publish games to the desktop. You can grab a copy of it for yourself here.