By Cristiano Ferriera and Joseph Wells
Figure 1. Dreamworks' School of Dragons* now supports X86 natively
The partnership between Unity* and Intel® is paying rewards for mobile device gamers via Android* x86 optimization. Gaming companies, like Jumpstart*, want to release their software on as many platforms as easily as possible, while achieving better performance. Unity’s 4.6 release that provides native x86 support, is making these goals a reality. When Jumpstart applied the new Unity 4.5.4f1 version to their School of Dragons game, they achieved both a 146% frames per second speedup and an 87.6% lower CPU utilization simply by enabling Unity native x86 support1.
A side by side comparison of non-native and native x86 support within JumpStart's School of Dragons.
Unity software’s native Android x86 support provides these potential benefits over previous non-native support:
- Significant reduction in load times
- Frame per second (FPS) performance increases
- Lower power consumption
Prior to the Unity 4.6 release, all Unity-based games on Android ran in non-native x86 mode. JumpStart’s School of Dragons was underachieving on both frames per second and CPU utilization as seen in the Non-Native column in Figure 2 below.
Enabling x86 Support
Jumpstart’s lead developer Thomas Su immediately began use of the limited release alpha 4.5.4f1 version when Unity made it available. After enabling native x86 support, School of Dragons realized a significantly increased FPS, improved load times, as well as noticeable power savings as shown in Figure 2.
With the newest releases of Unity 4 and 5 products, automatic x86 support is now built in. In addition to the gaming code, Jumpstart had several key plug-ins such as Facebook* SDK, Supersonic* and selections from Prime31* that needed to be included. Su saw how simple the entire build was: “It is very easy for us. We just opened our Android project with new version of Unity containing x86 support Unity and rebuilt our project.”
The development team at Jumpstart was very happy with the results: “The performance is very good. The FPS is double on this native support build.” In testing, the load time for School of Dragons dropped by several seconds as measured by the length of time to reach gameplay from the Character Select Screen as reported in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Both FPS and Load Time Improved over 20% in Jumpstart’s School of Dragons*
Jumpstart realized significant performance improvements by simply enabling native x86 support. Unity software’s latest 4.6 release can help Android developers see similar results on Intel processor-based mobile devices.
Enabling x86 native support on Unity article link
Enabling x86 native support on Unity video link
About the Authors
Cristiano Ferreira is a software engineer working in Intel’s Developer Relations Division with a specialization in mobile games and graphics. Cristiano helps game developers give their customers the greatest experience possible on Intel hardware.
Joseph Wells holds a Masters in Technical Writing from Northern Arizona University as well as a BSc in Computer Science. As a lifelong technology professional he enjoys supporting others with insight and instruction to further their interests.
 Software and workloads used in performance tests may have been optimized for performance only on Intel microprocessors. Performance tests, such as SYSmark* and MobileMark*, are measured using specific computer systems, components, software, operations and functions. Any change to any of those factors may cause the results to vary. You should consult other information and performance tests to assist you in fully evaluating your contemplated purchases, including the performance of that product when combined with other products.
System configuration for the testing done in this paper: Intel reference design tablet, Android 4.4, and Unity 4.5.4f1. Intel® Atom™ processor Z3775 (2M cache, 4 cores, up to 2.39 GHz), with Intel® HD Graphics at 311mhz base frequency, 2 GB of memory, and a 16GB solid state disk. For more information go to http://www.intel.com/performance.
Product and Performance Information
Performance varies by use, configuration and other factors. Learn more at www.Intel.com/PerformanceIndex.