It’s high time I write some lines about the game engine Unity 3D. I’ve been working with Unity since October 2011 and have gotten to know its strengths, which by far outweigh the downsides. Here’s an introduction to what Unity is and why you should use it for game development.
Development on Unity began as early as 2001, in 2005 Unity 1 and in 2007 Unity 2 were released. 2008 brought export function to the Wii and iOS. The breakthrough came in 2009 with the first free version giving everybody access to the engine. Version 3 saw the rise of Unity to a trend in game development in 2010, right now there are over half a million developers working with Unity.
A second great advantage is portability. Unity games can be published directly on almost all available gaming platforms. From Windows and MacOS to the gaming consoles PlayStation3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii down to mobile platforms iOS and Android and any web broweser via the Unity web Player and (since version 3.5) also Flash. Linux- and Google Native Client support are in the making. And that’s all direct export! No mucking about with long and costly porting. This extreme range opens the whole gaming market to developers.
Game development with Unity is fun, especially because the huge community is very helpful and thousands of code pieces are available when you’re stuck.
For independent game developers, costs ale low, with a pro license only costing $ 1500, including lifetime upgrades.
What can I do with Unity?
You can develop any kind of game with Unity, from 2D jump and run games to 3D ego-shooters. However, for the latter it is probably a better idea to us a specialized game engine like the CryEngine. There are a couple of ‘big’ games developed with Unity out there, but the mass of Unity games falls into the category of small and casual games. Probably because they’re mostly developed by single persons or small groups.
Unity doesn’t end with game development. Due to its enormous range of platforms, especially the Internet via Flash and the UnityPlayer, new possibilities arise that were hitherto only possible via 3D modules for Flash. Interactive 3D presentations and virtual shopping malls are just the start of what’s going to come.
An excellent game developed with Unity is Rochard, a space adventure by Recoil Games. To see what’s possible look at the results of the competition ‘Flash-in-a-Flash’.
A list of games developed with Unity can be found here: http://unity3d.com/gallery/made-with-unity/game-list
Free start to game development
Unity is available in a basic version for free. This version is perfect for learning game development. It can do almost everything that the Pro version can do, except for advanced effects like shadows.
What are you waiting for? Go download Unity and start developing!