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Programming Graphics Games

How Unity3D Became a Game-Development Beast 115

Nerval's Lobster writes "In the early 2000s, three young programmers without much money gathered in a basement and started coding what would become one of the most widely used pieces of software in the video game industry. 'Nobody really remembers how we survived in that period except we probably didn't eat much,' said David Helgason, the CEO and co-founder of Unity Technologies, maker of the Unity3D game engine. A decade later, untold numbers of developers have used Unity3D to make thousands of video games for mobile devices, consoles, browsers, PCs, Macs, and even Linux. The existence of Unity3D and similar products (such as the Unreal Engine and CryEngine) helped democratize game development, making the kinds of tools used by the world's largest game companies available to developers at little or no cost. This has helped developers focus less on creating a video game's underlying technology and more on the artistic and creative processes that actually make games fun to play. In this article, Helgason talks about how Final Cut Pro helped inspire his team during the initial building stages, how it's possible to create a game in Unity without actually writing code, and how he hopes to make the software more of a presence on traditional consoles despite Unity3D being several years late to supporting the PS3 and Xbox 360."
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How Unity3D Became a Game-Development Beast

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  • by Richy_T ( 111409 ) on Monday June 03, 2013 @01:15PM (#43897699) Homepage

    Pfft, noob. Everyone knows you let a company build up a nice wad of cash before you unleash the patent lawyers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 03, 2013 @01:22PM (#43897781)

    AAA titles cost millions to produce, and are mostly bland risk-averse garbage. (With a few notable exceptions)

    Unity enables creative people to publish high-concept games that are actually a lot of fun. They're often cheap too. I'm ok with this, because I've found that playing a handful of cheap games that are very good at one or two things to be a lot more interesting than large bland titles that do nothing well.

    If your game is a success you can move on to better frameworks or brew your own.

    Of course, Unity also enables a lot of crap companies to make shovelware games, but that's a function of the market ant not really unity's fault.

  • by Hadlock ( 143607 ) on Monday June 03, 2013 @01:23PM (#43897789) Homepage Journal

    You can build a 3d physics sandbox (Kerbal Space Program) or a 2d side scroller in unity, there's not a lot of homogenization going on with Unity.
    Unreal is used for FPSes, as well as 2.5d side scrollers like unmechanical. People were building flight sims with the Quake 1 engine (Airquake). Simply having a 3D engine doesn't shoehorn you in to a particular style of play.

  • by bluescrn ( 2120492 ) on Monday June 03, 2013 @01:36PM (#43897927)
    Unity doesn't suck (although the workflow doesn't suit everybody). A lot of Unity users are inexperienced, and don't fully understand how Unity's rendering tech works.

    Without a background in lower-level games/graphics programming, It's very easy to over-use expensive features (pass-per-light dynamic lights, projectors, full-screen post effects) without knowing what Unity is having to do behind the scenes.
  • by s13g3 ( 110658 ) on Monday June 03, 2013 @03:20PM (#43898963) Journal

    LOL... "muck about", he says, as if that is relevant.

    At least Unity lets you create and publish games, and for free at that. Go ahead and "muck about" in CryEngine, get something like the basis of a game conceptualized, start building and importing assets and writing code. Let me know how relevant or useful that is when you realize you need more than $1 million USD per license for CryEngine and everything you learned "mucking about" has no bearing on development processes or standards in an engine you can actually afford to release in without being owned by a AAA-class publisher or succeeding in a record-breaking Kickstarter. There's a REASON indie devs don't use CryEngine.

    Because otherwise, CryEngine has little to no bearing on developing in any other engine. How do I know this? By spending 3 years as a member of the dev team for Mechwarrior: Living Legends, as well as being a developer at my own studio, working in... you guessed it, Unity3D. After the MWLL project wound down, a group of us set out to start our own studio, and even with numerous, highly-placed contacts at CryTek, we *still* chose Unity for a reason: value, because Unity is actually affordable by us merely mortal developers without Chris Roberts-like bank accounts and industry connections and multi-million dollar Kickstarters.

    I could release a game in Unity tomorrow. It might look like crap and have bugs, but I can release and publish a game in 24 hours. CryEngine? HAH, good luck with that. At best, it still won't work or look any better than my Unity game would, due mainly to the quality and quantity of art that I could produce, which the engine has nothing to do with, and the amount of code I could pump out, which CryEngine doesn't just automagically make better. If you've never *worked* with CryEngine (ala, more than just "mucking about"), you simply aren't qualified to comment about features being locked away or unavailable in Unity, much less things just working, because no matter the features CryEngine might let you "muck about" with, they're not relevant if you can't afford the engine license in the first place. Despite what the fanboys think, CryEngine is not some shining bastion of game engine perfection that can do no wrong: and it is a giant square peg that fits in a giant square hole, filling a purpose, whereas Unity is a little more like a bunch of legos - the starter kit for which is FREE - that, when assembled, fit a series of differently shaped, if generally smaller holes, and it fits them well.

    I doubt anyone who has actually published a title in CryEngine AND Unity would say this is is really anything more than and apples and oranges comparison at best, as they are different engines with different strengths and weaknesses, and they fill different niches within the game development community.

Each honest calling, each walk of life, has its own elite, its own aristocracy based on excellence of performance. -- James Bryant Conant