Unity (game engine)
Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies, which is primarily used to develop both three-dimensional and two-dimensional video games and simulations for computers, consoles, and mobile devices. First announced only for OS X at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in 2005, it has since been extended to target 27 platforms. Six major versions of Unity have been released. For a list of games made with Unity, visit List of Unity games.
|Initial release||1.0 / June 8, 2005|
2017.3 / December 17, 2017
|Written in||C++ (Runtime)
C# (Unity API)
|Platform||IA-32, x86-64, ARM|
The engine targets the following graphics APIs: Direct3D on Windows and Xbox One; OpenGL on Linux, macOS, and Windows; OpenGL ES on Android and iOS; WebGL on the web; and proprietary APIs on the video game consoles. Additionally, Unity supports the low-level APIs Metal on iOS and macOS and Vulkan on Android, Linux, and Windows, as well as Direct3D 12 on Windows and Xbox One.
Within 2D games, Unity allows importation of sprites and an advanced 2D world renderer. For 3D games, Unity allows specification of texture compression, mipmaps, and resolution settings for each platform that the game engine supports, and provides support for bump mapping, reflection mapping, parallax mapping, screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO), dynamic shadows using shadow maps, render-to-texture and full-screen post-processing effects. Unity also offers services to developers, these are: Unity Ads, Unity Analytics, Unity Certification, Unity Cloud Build, Unity Everyplay, Unity IAP, Unity Multiplayer, Unity Performance Reporting and Unity Collaborate.
Unity supports the creation of custom vertex, fragment (or pixel), tesselation, compute shaders and Unity's own surface shaders using Cg, a modified version of Microsoft's High-Level Shading Language.
Unity supports building to 27 different platforms. The platforms are listed in the following: iOS, Android, Tizen, Windows, Universal Windows Platform, Mac, Linux, WebGL, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Steam VR, PlayStation VR, Gear VR, Windows Mixed Reality, Daydream, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, tvOS, Nintendo Switch, Fire OS, Facebook Gameroom, Apple ARKit, Google ARCore, and Vuforia.
Unity formerly supported 7 other platforms including its own Unity Web Player. Unity Web Player was a browser plugin that was supported in Windows and OS X only, which has been deprecated in favor of WebGL.
Unity is the default software development kit (SDK) for Nintendo's Wii U video game console platform, with a free copy included by Nintendo with each Wii U developer license. Unity Technologies calls this bundling of a third-party SDK an "industry first".
Unity comes with four license options. Here is the list of all available licenses and their differences:
|License Name||All Engine Features and Platforms||Splash Screen||Cloud Build Queue||Multiplayer||Revenue Capacity||Performance Reporting||Premium Support||Access to Source Code||Price|
|Personal||Yes||Made With Unity and optional Custom Animation||Standard||20 CCUs||$100,000||No||No||No||Free|
|Plus||Yes||Custom Animation and/or Made with Unity||Priority||50 CCUs||$200,000||Yes||No||No||$35 Monthly|
|Pro||Yes||Custom Animation and/or Made with Unity||Concurrent Builds||200 CCUs||Unlimited||Yes||Yes||No||$125 Monthly|
|Enterprise||Yes||Custom Animation and/or Made with Unity||Dedicated Build Agents||Custom Multiplayer||Unlimited||Yes||Yes||Yes||Negotiated Pricing|
In 2012, VentureBeat said, "Few companies have contributed as much to the flowing of independently produced games as Unity Technologies. ... More than 1.3 million developers are using its tools to create gee-whiz graphics in their iOS, Android, console, PC, and web-based games. ... Unity wants to be the engine for multi-platform games, period."
For the Apple Design Awards at the 2006 WWDC trade show, Apple, Inc. named Unity as the runner-up for its Best Use of Mac OS X Graphics category, a year after Unity's launch at the same trade show. Unity Technologies says this is the first time a game design tool has ever been nominated for this award. A May 2012 survey by Game Developer magazine indicated Unity as its top game engine for mobile platforms. In July 2014, Unity won the "Best Engine" award at the UK's annual Develop Industry Excellence Awards.
Unity 5 was met with similar praise, with The Verge stating that "Unity started with the goal of making game development universally accessible.... Unity 5 is a long-awaited step towards that future."
Following the release of Unity 5, Unity Technologies drew some criticism for the high volume of quickly produced games published on the Steam distribution platform by inexperienced developers. CEO John Riccitiello said in an interview that he believes this to be a side-effect of Unity's success in democratizing game development: "If I had my way, I'd like to see 50 million people using Unity – although I don't think we're going to get there any time soon. I'd like to see high school and college kids using it, people outside the core industry. I think it's sad that most people are consumers of technology and not creators. The world's a better place when people know how to create, not just consume, and that's what we're trying to promote."
In December 2016, Unity Technologies announced that they will change the versioning numbering system for Unity from sequence-based identifiers to year of release to align the versioning with their more frequent release cadence.
On December 16, 2013, Unity Technologies Japan revealed new screenshots for an official mascot character named Unity-chan (ユニティちゃん Yuniti-chan), real name Kohaku Ōtori (大鳥 こはく Ōtori Kohaku) (voiced by Asuka Kakumoto), with exhibit of the character in Comic Market 85 event in the Tokyo Big Sight between December 29 to the 31st, where themed goods would be distributed and her voice actress would be present at the event. The character's associated game data were to be released in spring 2014. The character was designed by Unity Technologies Japan designer "ntny" as an open-source heroine character. The company allows the use of Unity-chan and related characters in secondary projects under certain licenses. For example, Unity-chan appears as a playable character in Runbow. The popularity of the character also led to her appearance in VOCALOID adaptions, including her own sound library for VOCALOID4 and a special adaption of VOCALOID designed to work with the Unity Engine 5.0 version called Unity with VOCALOID.
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- "ユニティ・テクノロジーズ・ジャパン、開発者向けに無償利用可能なキャラクター『ユニティちゃん』を発表 コミックマーケット85にも出展、３Dモデルデータなどを来春提供予定".
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- "DATA DOWNLOAD-Guideline - UNITY-CHAN! OFFICIAL WEBSITE". UNITY-CHAN! OFFICIAL WEBSITE. Retrieved November 27, 2015.
- "Exclusive: Check Out Runbow's Complete Cast of Colourful Crossover Characters". Nintendo Life. Retrieved November 27, 2015.