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Balatro's Card Movements & Shaders Recreated in Unity

André Cardoso shared a detailed breakdown explaining how he translated Balatro's "game feel" to another engine.

Game Developer and UX Designer André de Miranda Cardoso, whom you might know as the brain behind the Mix and Jam YouTube channel, returns after an eight-month hiatus with a new fascinating game development experiment inspired by one of the most popular indie games of 2024 – Balatro.

Being an experienced Unity user, André has decided to translate Balatro's "game feel" to his go-to engine, recreating poker-themed roguelike's appealing card movements and shaders entirely within Unity. As always, the developer has also shared an insightful breakdown detailing the working process behind the experiment and explaining how the visual separation of cards was achieved, how the gameplay logic was set up, how the shaders were made, and more. You can watch the full breakdown attached below and download the project files on GitHub:

And here are some of André's previous breakdowns, we highly encourage you to visit the Mix and Jam YouTube channel to learn more about Unity game development:

It's also interesting to note that, unlike André's recreation, the original Balatro game is powered not by Unity but by LÖVE, a free and open-source game engine that uses Lua as its scripting language. Developed in C++, the framework enables the creation of 2D video games and, despite its relative obscurity, receives regular updates and full support from its developers. Attached below are some guides that will help you learn more about LÖVE:

Interestingly, Balatro isn't the first 2024 best-seller powered by an obscure engine few even know exists. Earlier, we found out that Helldivers II runs on Bitsquid, later rebranded as Autodesk Stingray, an engine that's been discontinued since 2018 and hasn't seen an update in six years. For more insights, we highly recommend reading the full story of how Arrowhead managed to build a successful game on an archaic engine you can't even access anymore.

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