June 2024 Dev Update

Hey everyone, we’re here again for the Dev Update!

:computer: Update Progress

In the last dev update, we were wrapping up the Bumper Cars update, and we gave an overview of what we were working on, such as Minigolf & Ball Race SDK and other projects. Since then, our plans were to release an update with the new Workshop rig, Workshop sound packs, some Arcade optimizations, and accessibility changes.

However, this update’s been having some technical challenges that are both complicated to resolve and to complete. And, as you all probably know, we’re a small team, so it’s taken a lot of work to resolve these issues.

Basically, we’ve been having a very busy month, and this update is jam-packed with stuff, so let’s just get into what we have going on!

:exploding_head: Reconstructing Core Code

So, sometimes when you fix something, something else breaks, or you find another issue or a flaw in the system. With many interconnected parts and a long development history, it’s easy for this to happen with Tower development. This has been happening a lot with this update. We’ve had to reorganize and refactor a lot this month. The issues have not been ones we can just let slide, either.

So, as you read through all of the following tasks we’ve been working on, know that it was probably juggled with fixing a frustrating regression. But we’ve been getting it done and working on ways to not cause these issues in the future.

:loud_sound: Workshop Sound Packs

Workshop sound packs are a highlight of this update, adding the ability for players to upload custom sounds. We’ve also introduced new options for playlists, sound volumes, Game World Music override Manager, and “SetSound”, “Fade”, and general improvements to the sound emitter. You’ll be able to upload sound packs to Workshop, and we’ve made an easy to use editor in the Workshop editor for these. These tie into other I/O changes that will be explained more later on.

:wrench: Workshop Fixes

A major issue we’ve been trying to resolve is a bug with Workshop models not appearing on Linux machines. This is notable as it affects Steam Deck users as well as any PC Linux users. Since work is being done on various areas of the Workshop, and this is a big issue, we have been tackling this and have resolved this issue after weeks of work. The change needed required us to rework how Workshop models are installed, and, with the added sound packs, the pipeline had to be gutted and refitted. We’re very happy that Workshop will be working again for Linux.

:wrench: Workshop Rig 3.0 & Animations

Implementing the new Workshop rig has been an arduous task, but it’s been having great payoff. This new rig has allowed for more fluid animation of player models, IKs, and easier options for modifying proportions of a model, and massive improvements to the process of rigging player models. We’ve retargeted the old rig to work with the new rig (and existing player models) without any changes needed. That means that legacy Workshop player models will be compatible immediately. The animations have all be overhauled and improved in many ways.

We’ll have more information on the new SDK 3.0 very soon. But first, we’ll be releasing the updated animations and new rig support next update.

:people_hugging: Accessibility Options

We’ve been hard at work implementing accessibility suggestions requested by players.

These include various changes to improve general visual and audio experience, changes to reduce eye strain and nausea, changes to controls for easier interactions, and improvements to existing accessibility settings, among other changes.

Plaza Minigames, Arcade, Minigolf, Drunk Effects, Condos, Stores, Controls, and other parts of the game all had accessibility changes, and you’ll get a full overview of the changes in the update change log (or on Trello).

:joystick: Arcade Optimizations

Arcade physics server optimizations have been in progress for a few months now, and we’ve been working hard at getting the Arcade into a better state. These optimizations involve arcade physics which are a very finicky thing to work with due to the amount of machines that have unique physics to each game.

We had to refactor our code so the physics simulations would run as a system instead of independently on each machine. This required us to take the existing code and port the majority of it to C++. Server-side optimizations were made and a massive cleanup of the code was done. We improved the networking and reduced the amount of work the simulation has to do so it’ll execute it faster.

:card_file_box: Item and Inventory Changes

We’ve made some updates to how items are categorized in the inventory. This has allowed for some previously hidden items to come out of the woodwork, as well as improving the search experience.

Speaking of searching, you can now see quick results as you type in the inventory search bar. This will allow you to get to your intended items quicker and to have a better view of your inventory as a whole.

Some items have been moved around to the appropriate stores or categories, and some items have had their names adjusted to better reflect their purpose.

Internally, we also optimized how items are queried in the system to make improvements to the inventory UI and you’ll see an FPS boost for large inventories.

Lastly, our item editor was bogging down development time and making it harder for us to continue to add new items. So, we improved our own item creation tools, which has already immensely helped us create items faster than before.

:building_construction: Condos / SDK

Big features in this update have had a connection to Condos, so other work has been done on our building tools as well. There are some accessibility additions such as a 3D grid visual and more editor options such as Noclip Speed Adjustment.

There’s also a new Replace Canvas URL tool and Find Canvas tool that will help out with quickly fixing dead image links in a Condo, as well as updating URLs quickly.

Changes have been made to the inventory system, grid snapping, organization, I/O options, and much more.

And that’s not all! We also massively improved the time it takes to reset your Condo and load Condo snapshots. For builders, you’ll see immediate improvements to these systems.

:electric_plug: Condo I/O

There’ve been quite a few updates to Condo I/O, but some of the highlights are that we’ve added Cylinder and Sphere shape types for Volumes!

We also moved some items to be I/O items; Sound Emitter, Floating Text, Floating Dialogue, Hidden Seat, Aquarium Volume, and Sound Emitter are now I/O items (no unit cost).

:houses: Co-Op Condos

We’ve also implemented some fixes for bugs with co-op Condo building. These include fixes for Copycat, Connection Tool, and editing Notebooks. We also fixed drag-copy for I/O and grouped items.

:video_game: Libretro

We’ve made some improvements to Libretro support, too. These improvements include automatically positioning the camera for Arcade cabinets (allowing for easier play with controllers) and Fullscreen support. Fullscreen also comes with lightgun and touchscreen support!

You can also disable automatic save states and we’ve added hot keys for save states (F3, F4 keys).

:snail: God, this update is inconceivable! When’s it coming out?!

We are in the late stages of testing the update! We are resolving more issues with the Arcade physics rewrite but the majority of the other features mentioned are ready to go! So, as soon as possible. We’re really working as hard as we can to get this out to you all.

:hammer_and_wrench: Future Update Progress

In any downtime we’ve had while working on the next update, we’ve been making progress on various features that will be implemented in future updates.

These include:

:golf: Minigolf SDK Progress

A lot of exciting progress has been made on the Minigolf Map editor. We’ve set up the settings menu and customization options for course pieces. We’ve finished up work on the loop size setting, base settings, wall variation and height settings, corner shape and magnitude settings, fill settings, the corner tool, path-curve tool, ramp settings, the half-pipe tool, and intersection tool.

Additionally, there have been some updates to I/O for Minigolf. These include the course pieces being considered I/O items, an Out of Bounds Volume, In Bounds Volume, a Friction Override Volume, Boost Volume, and a Putt Zone Override Volume.

We also have made progress on Pipes, Cannons, Launchers, and Camera Volumes.

The testing tools have also been completed and you can quickly test Minigolf courses by interacting with the start pad and it’ll automatically put you into a golfball.

:checkered_flag: Ball Race SDK Progress

For Ball Race SDK, progress has been made on Finish Goals, Finish Volume, Attractors/Repulsors, Bumpers, Boost Volume, and of course Melon pickups.

The testing tools have also been completed and the editor now can run custom Ball Race maps.

We plan to roll out both the Minigolf SDK and Ball Race SDK out at the same time after the update.

:station: Transit Station Optimization and Art Pass

Along with Arcade Server Side Optimization, we’ve been working on optimizing the Plaza Train Station area as we found through profiling that it was impacting performance across the entire Plaza. Doing this required aggressive modeling work, which led to… a complete overhaul of the artwork of the transit station! Fans of Lobby 2 will be happy to know that the overhaul takes notes of the best parts of the transit station and the escalators actually work this time!

If you want to follow along with the update, check out the “Next Releases” section on our Trello.

June Calendar

Here is the Tower Unite calendar for June! If you’d like to give feedback on bonus events, please do so here!

That’s gonna do it for this Dev Update! Thanks for reading.
<3 PixelTail Games


Y’know, having to reconstruct a lot of the code for this update explains quite a bit to me. Glad to see development is still going well, though. Can’t wait for the extra music options the whole sound pack update will bring! And the escalators, too. Clearly, the most important part of the update.


i am personally extremely excited about new rig and animations!! i think it’s the new addition i’m most excited for :heart: i hope that means new emotes in future!!

i’ve been keeping my eyes on update progress for a while and i’m very excited about a lot of QoL changes, both SDKs, item/inventory changes, tons of bug fixes (especially ones on Condo), updated transit station, and more!! it sounds awesome!!! :slight_smile:

keep the amazing work up!! i’m absolutely hyped >:D


So hyped for the animation overhaul! Here’s hoping that the joints are reconnected, and that the necks return from their long journey to the stars.

I’m wondering, will there be an officially maintained Blender tool for creating the workshop models this time? Or a rig template file?


The Sound Emitter being free is such a big deal it deserved to be mentioned it twice!


I am so glad for this fix, thank you guys!


After reading that all, really goes to show how much work goes into TU. I love these monthly posts, a great down-to-earth insight into the struggles but also the achievements of game development.

Really looking forward to its fruition! :brown_heart:


escalators actually work this time! :partying_face:


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