Unity (game engine)


Unity (game engine)

Infobox_Software
name = Unity



caption =
developer = Unity Technologies
latest_release_version = 2.1
latest_release_date = July 24, 2008
operating_system = Mac OS X (creation and deployment), Microsoft Windows (deployment only), Wii (deployment with special license)
genre = Game engine
license = Proprietary
website = [http://unity3d.com/ unity3d.com]

Unity is an integrated authoring tool for creating 3D video games or other interactive content such as architectural visualizations or real-time 3D animations. Unity is similar to Director, Blender game engine, Virtools or Torque Game Builder in a sense that an integrated graphical environment is the primary way of authoring the game.

Although the editor only runs on Mac OS X, it can produce games for Mac, Windows and Wii [cite web | url=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18840| title=Unity to Support Wii Console as Authorized Middleware Provider | publisher=Gamasutra] platforms. Support for making games for the iPhone has been announced in 2008 cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/company/news/iphone-press| title=Unity is Coming to iPhone | publisher=Unity Technologies] [cite web | url=http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=18062| title=Unity 3D Engine to Support iPhone | publisher=Gamasutra] .

Unity was a runner-up in the "Best OS X Graphics" category in the 2006 Apple Design Awards cite web | url=http://www.macnn.com/articles/06/08/09/apple.design.awards.2006/| title=Apple Design Awards 2006 winners | publisher=MacNN] .

Major Features

* Integrated development environment with hierarchical, visual editing, detailed property inspectors and live game preview cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/unity/features/| title=Features: Fully Integrated Editor | publisher=Unity Technologies] . Due to ease of use and speed of development, Unity is sometimes used for rapid development and prototyping [cite web | url=http://tale-of-tales.com/blog/the-graveyard-post-mortem/#chapter2 | title=Tale of Tales: The Graveyard post mortem| publisher=Tale of Tales] [cite web | url=http://creativemac.digitalmedianet.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=82608&afterinter=true | title=Unity 1.5.1 review| publisher=Creative Mac] .
* Deployment as Microsoft Windows executable, Mac OS X executable, on the web (via the Unity Web Player plugin for Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Mozilla, Netscape, and Camino), Mac OS X Dashboard widget, Wii executable [cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/unity/features/deployment | title=Features: Deployment| publisher=Unity Technologies] .
* Automatic asset importing - assets load into Unity and automatically imported, and are re-imported if the asset is updated [cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/unity/features/asset-importing | title=Features: Asset Importing| publisher=Unity Technologies] . Assets are created externally, in various 3D modeling, graphics, and audio software. These assets are then imported and assembled into a game using Unity. Although many of the most popular 3D modeling applications are supported by Unity, its integration with Maya, Blender, Cinema 4D, and Cheetah3D are the most complete.
* Graphics engine uses Direct3D (Windows), OpenGL (Mac, Windows) and proprietary APIs (Wii) [cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/unity/features/graphics | title=Features: Graphical Fidelity| publisher=Unity Technologies] . Support for Bumpmapping, Reflection mapping, Parallax mapping, dynamic shadows using shadow maps, render-to-texture and full-screen post processing effects.
* ShaderLab language for using shaders, supporting both declarative "programming" of the fixed-function pipeline and shader programs written in Cg or GLSL [cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/unity/features/shaders | title=Features: Shaders| publisher=Unity Technologies] . A shader can include multiple variants and a declarative fallback specification, allowing Unity to detect the best variant for the current video card and if none are compatible, fall back to an alternative shader that may sacrifice features for broader compatibility.
* Built-in Support for the Ageia's PhysX physics engine [cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/unity/features/physics | title=Features: Advanced Physics| publisher=Unity Technologies] (version 2.6.2).
* Game Scripting via Mono [cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/unity/features/scripting | title=Features: Scripting| publisher=Unity Technologies] . Scripting is built on Mono, the open source implementation of the .NET Framework. Because of this, programmers can use JavaScript, C# or Boo (which has a Python-inspired syntax).
* The Unity Asset Server - A full version control solution for all game assets and scripts and optimized for multi-gigabyte projects with thousands of multi-megabyte files.
* Audio system built on OpenAL library, with ability to play back Ogg Vorbis compressed audio. Video playback using Theora codec [cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/unity/features/audio-and-video | title=Features: Audio and Video| publisher=Unity Technologies] .
* A terrain and vegetation engine [cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/unity/features/terrains | title=Features: Terrains| publisher=Unity Technologies] .

Criticism

*Currently there is no Windows version of Unity's IDE, as Unity Technologies seeks to focus on completing the Unity featureset. A Windows IDE is planned for the future.
*Because it is not open-source, studios that use Unity are reliant on Unity Technologies to provide software updates to keep their games up-to-date with modern features unless they get a source code license.
*Unity's IDE has limited tools available for debugging scripts; for example, there is no way to stop execution of scripts in the event of an infinite loop.
*Unity is not compatible with some external source control management software.

History

Before commercial release, Unity was in several years in development. Gooball was released in March 2005 with a pre-release version of Unity.
* June 2005, Unity 1.0.1 was released.
* August 2005, Unity 1.1 release added building games for Windows, C/C++ plugin support and more.
* December 2005, Unity 1.2 added image postprocessing effects, ragdolls, blob shadows, built-in first person controller, ability to extend editor with custom scripted wizards and more. Unity 1.2.2 release in March 2006 added support for building Mac Universal Binary games.
* June 2006, Unity 1.5 release highlights were web browser plugin for Windows, new character animation system, Universal Binary editor, car physics and lightmap support. 1.5.1 release in September improved support for old graphics hardware and added Unicode support.
* November 2006, Unity 1.6 added support for browser-to-game communication, streaming of levels in web games, Windows Vista support and more audio effects.
* October 2007, Unity 2.0 added real time dynamic shadows support, the Unity Asset Server, video playback, a terrain engine, a DirectX 9.0 renderer (for Windows games), improved Game GUI creation, and improved Networking with NAT punchthrough.
* July 2008, Unity 2.1 extended support for streaming assets, procedural characters & animation, scriptable asset processing pipeline and more.Full release notes can be found [http://unity3d.com/unity/whats-new here] .

Unity Asset Server

The Unity Asset Server is a full version control solution for all game assets and scripts cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/unity/features/unity-asset-server| title=Features: Unity Asset Server | publisher=Unity Technologies] . The asset server supports multi-gigabyte projects with thousands of multi-megabyte files. Import settings and other metadata are stored and versioned while updates, commits, and graphical version comparisons are all performed inside the Unity Editor. When files are modified, their status is updated instantly. The Unity Asset Server runs on the open source PostgreSQL database server and is available for both Mac OS X and Linux.

Games

Some of the released and in-development games created with Unity are:
*GooBall - the first commercial game created with Unity
* [http://freeverse.com/braingames Big Bang Brain Games] , developed by [http://www.graveck.com Graveck Interactive] and published by Freeverse
* [http://www.shockwave.com/gamelanding/megapixel.jsp MegaPixel] , developed by [http://yogware.bluegillstudios.com/site/ Yogware] and released on shockwave.com
* [http://www.shockwave.com/gamelanding/epictowerdefense.jsp Epic Tower Defense] , developed by [http://www.mrjoy.com/ MrJoy] and released on shockwave.com, also released as "When Orcs Attack!"
* [http://freeverse.com/orcs Hordes of Orcs] , successor to "When Orcs Attack!"/"Epic Tower Defense", also developed by [http://www.mrjoy.com/ MrJoy] , published by Freeverse
* [http://www.globalconflicts.eu Global Conflicts: Palestine] , a serious game on Israeli-Palestine conflict
* [http://www.freeverse.com/games/game/?id=7003 Tiki Magic Mini Golf] , developed by [http://mondorobot.com Mondo Robot] and published by Freeverse
* [http://splume.flashbangstudios.com Splume] , online game by [http://www.flashbangstudios.com/about/ Flashbang Studios]
* [http://www.bluetorchstudios.com/games/openfire Open Fire] , a freeware game created with Unity
*WolfQuest, a serious game by [http://www.eduweb.com eduweb]
* [http://shiftcontrol.dk shiftcontrol] uses Unity for a number of commercial non-game projects
* [http://www.bydesigngames.com/tlc The Late Call] a neo-noir stealth game currently in development at [http://www.bydesigngames.com ByDesign Games]
*Off-Road Velociraptor Safari, a game which currently takes advantage of Unity's web plugin and which involves hunting and retrieving Velociraptors using a truck.
* [http://idiots.com/game/lerpzworld/ LerpzWorld] Help Lerpz (a space caracture) collect enough gas so he can get home.
* [http://www.bydesigngames.com/mbb Make Bouncy Bouncy] Earn & collect Bouncy Bouncys through fun & layered gameplay, where each bounce can lead to an explosive bonus!
*, a Massively multiplayer online game currently under development by Cartoon Network. [cite web | url=http://www.macworld.com/article/134679/2008/07/cartoon.html | title=Cartoon Network working on browser-based kids’ MMO game | publisher=Macworld]
*Funcom, the developer best known for is currently developing a browser-based Massively multiplayer online game.More projects using Unity can be found in Unity's [http://unity3d.com/gallery gallery] .
* [http://www.c2estudio.com/webPlayers/Beta/Robot/CloudWitchWeb.html Cloudwitch] Project Cloudwitch is a space survival style shooter where you command a Mecha able to transform into a fighter jet. You need to defend your space station against waves of oncoming foes. Developed by * [http://www.c2estudio.com C2Estudio]

Licensing

There are two main licenses: Unity Indie ($199), and Unity Pro ($1499) cite web | url=http://unity3d.com/unity/licenses| title=Unity License Comparison | publisher=Unity Technologies] . The Pro version has additional features like render-to-texture, postprocessing effects, and the ability to build standalone Windows games. Unity Pro users can purchase an Asset Server client license, giving them the ability to communicate with Unity Asset Servers for $499. Unity Pro is also required for businesses with over $100,000 turnover/year. There is a free 30 day trial of Unity Indie.

Both Indie and Pro licenses include the development environment, tutorials, sample projects and content, support via forum, wiki, and future updates in the same major version (i.e. buying Unity 2.0 gets all future Unity 2.x updates for free).

Source code, educational and Wii licenses are negotiated on a case by case basis. Unity Technologies has not yet announced licensing details regarding their upcoming iPhone release.

External links

* [http://unity3d.com Unity Website] Official Web site
* [http://unifycommunity.com Unify] Unofficial Unity collaboration community and Wiki
* [http://www.widgetmonkeys.com WidgetMonkeys] Unity-created 3D Dashboard widgets
* [http://www.newoldskool.com New Old SKooL] More Unity-created 3D Dashboard widgets
* [http://www.unitydeveloper.com/ Unity Developer Magazine] Printed publication
* [http://www.fusionfall.com Fusion Fall] Upcoming MMO from Cartoon Network made in Unity

References


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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