Unity 3

By: Derek Yu

On: September 28th, 2010

Unity 3

A long-awaited new version of the 3d game creation tool Unity was just released. Unity 3 has a lot of new features, including Android support, a unified editor for all platforms, source-level debugging, and many other improvements to its editor, graphics engine, and assets. Check out the full list of changes here.

The regular version of Unity is free, with the Pro version going for $1500.

  • http://www.godatplay.com Godatplay

    And it is totally awesome. :) Using it makes having to go back to Flash pretty painful.

  • David

    $1500 per developer seat

    and yes, as somebody who's been using 2.6 for a while, Unity3 is amazing

  • Skofo

    Neat, but I don't see why Unity is worthy of the special attention.

  • allen

    Well a lot of indies are using it now, it's certainly relevant. Plus it couldn't have took him but a few seconds to write up, it's not like he spent three hours on a huge article about it.

  • AConcernedCitizen

    Skofo, you are just the cutest little tool, oh yes you are! *pinches cheek*

    Shut your mouth you piece of shit.

  • Skofo

    That was definitely called for.

  • The Monster King

    ouch 1.5k for the best version

  • http://twitter.com/Imaginationac Dorian Patterson

    I see the ability to target multiple platforms very sexy. Now if only I could get my free license activated to see the update.

  • David

    that's actually an amazing bang for the buck, considering the free license is limited to 250k of revenue, and most other comparable engines are much more expensive

  • David

    woops, I mean 100k turnover for the company doing said licensing

  • Skofo

    But what if you REALLY want that black theme?

  • Onymous

    Still no cloth prunking Linux version. It's like some sick joke that a Mono/OpenGL based game engine will run on a Linux based phone but not a desktop. I don't even care about the IDE. I'd just like to be able to play on/sell to linux

  • http://jamesgecko.com/ James

    Then you get that post processing stuff tossed in as a bonus!

  • http://jamesgecko.com/ James

    Patience, young grasshopper. The Unity folk have demonstrated a working Native Client[1] export option, which will likely be released about the time Native Client is actually usable. This will give us the ability to run Unity games in Linux web browsers (as well as standalone, potentially).

    1. http://code.google.com/p/nativeclient/

  • http://roachpuppy.com chrisz

    That is a sexy ass changelist, holy crap. $1500 is a steal especially with Beast and Umbra integrated right in.

  • deadeye


    As cool as this is I just installed 2.6, like, a day and a half ago. I haven't even had a chance to use it yet.

    Oh well, time to uninstall and download 3, I guess :P

  • Flumsy

    Out of curiosity: What's the full list of differences between the free and $1500 version? Is it just licensing for commercial titles? Or are there some features cut from the free version?

  • David

    I'd say, business considerations aside, the technical and aesthetic differences are significant.


  • Fred

    yay lets drown teh interwebs with 3d its teh future lolwut

  • Dodger

    I understand why people keep saying “$1500, this is a steal” but honestly, it's not. Instead it is “reasonable”. I'm not disagreeing with the enthusiasm people are showing, instead I think it's time for developers to wake up and realize that the only “Steal” going on is when creators of SDK's charge these exorbitant prices. I was reading more about the Unreal 3 engine and the fact that the engine (like Unity) is free to use and develop with, but if an indie does decide to make a commercial release and earns over $5000 dollars, 25% of all profit must then go to Epic for use of their engine. It's not unethical incur such a price after profit, but considering you'd basically be giving 1/4 of your creation to Epic – I think the price is pretty hefty depending on how you look at it, but worst of all, if you take the development and sales that far with the Unreal 3 Engine, then you are no longer “indie” – there's no denying it, you may have made the game yourself, put your time, effort, and maintained a budget for development, but make more than $5000 and from then on Epic owns 25% of your “product” which means you are not “indie”. So for the modest limitations of the Unity engine (and yes, even the smaller kits out there), at least as an indie, you can maintain control of your developments and for $1500 or less (a reasonable price range if you can see yourself making a living from developing with these kits) you maintain your independent integrity – however, if you do not care whether or not your work is donating money to another company then this doesn't apply to you, you just need to remember that you really are no longer an independent developer since a quarter of your product is owned by another entity. This is not the same as giving a percentage to a download portal for hosting your game on their site, because in many instances you may still sell your game elsewhere, and still have people purchase your game directly from you. This has entirely to do with the fact that no matter where or how you sell your game, whether you're already giving a download portal 25% just to host your game, you'd still have to give 25% of whatever profit is left to a company such as epic, because they own 25% of it – this is only if your game makes over $5000 dollars though. In which case, I'd recommend making 10 – 15 games with the unreal engine, and only sell 500 copies of each game at a price point of $9.99 – this way you'll only make $4995 dollars off of each and when you multiply that by 10 you get $49,950 which is an amount a person could actually live off of for a year… However, if you make $51 dollars more than that, you owe Epic $12,500.25 leaving you with $37,500.75. That's still not too bad, but that's a lot of work to have to pay such a large chunk of money to someone who didn't really do anything for you. Anyway, you get the picture. So all in all, the Unity 3D engine offers reasonable licensing.

  • http://roachpuppy.com chrisz

    The way engine prices are typically justified are by estimating how many hours you'd have to pay per developer to implement similar functionality in-house and comparing that to the licensing fees. Royalities aside, I argue that makes Unreal reasonable, or at least close to it, for AAA studios. As someone who has written 3D engines, as most 3D game developers end up doing at some point, I could never write Unity's full feature set for that price even if I paid myself minimum wage. In this case, Unity is most definitely a steal. I personally havent bought it because it doesnt target XNA platforms.

  • Dodger

    Unity is most definitely a bargain, but the fact remains that if you were to use the Unreal Engine and plan on profiting over $5000 dollars through development, Epic then owns 25% of your games profit. I guess you could say I'm unimpressed by that fact. There's nothing wrong with it, and I'm sure it appeals to some developers, but I personally think that this kind of arrangement would be best suited for an ex-employee of one of the major AAA development studios and to the point, someone or somebodies who are familiar with the Unreal engine so that they can bank on it's name and the their own rep based on working for one of the heavy hitters. It would be easier for such people to profit from and afford the engine and the royalties incurred. Imagine Cliffy B. saying he's going to make an indie game, using the Unreal Engine, and he ends up charging $20 – $30 bucks for the game when it's finished. I'm sure he could do very well, based on the name of the engine, and his name alone. Then take a real indie developer, even one who is a little more well known, such as Cliffski or lets say Jeff Vogel, just as a couple of examples (no they probably wouldn't make an attempt at using these engines), but just for reference lets say they made a game using the Unreal engine. Even if they could make and sell a game and earn 50 – 75 K per year for that game, they would be paying 12.5 – 17.5 K per year just to sell it through their own site let alone some download portal.

    So my point really was that the Unity engine, and many other smaller engines that can be used for developing games, are both reasonable and feasible tools and choices for independent developers. The Unreal engine is appealing simply based on it's namesake and the fact that so many AAA titles have been churned out using it. Unfortunately, it's just not a very practical tool for indie developers unless they can afford the steep cost at such a low entry for profit. $5000 bucks isn't much if you're serious about making a living, and at $6000 bucks, you're paying Epic $1500 which means you're only making $4500 if you are so lucky. So the practicality for the price doesn't really match, even as appealing as it all seems. What it comes down to is you do get more bang for your buck if you have a limited budget and want to make enough money to survive as an independent developer.

    I can't argue with anyone which engine is better, but I find it more appealing to have the control over not only the game but the profit and proceeds associated with it. Distribution is one thing, prostitution is another.

    But I think we both agree that this is where Unity is a great platform for indies as a reasonable choice in terms of development tools, and the price is extremely reasonable – hopefully it won't go up, and hopefully more and more people will use it.

    I'm waiting for the day (and believe me I'll be dead before it happens) but I'm waiting for the day when this sort of thing has such an affect as to shift the balance and costs of mainstream games. People will be tired of paying for mainstream games because indie games are more affordable AND just as fun. We're a long way from that, because I can't even resist some of the AAA titles that come out, but I can always dream.

  • Snakeoil

    blah..blah.. how about learning to write “less” to get your point :D

  • http://roachpuppy.com chrisz

    I wholeheartedly agree that Unreal isnt feasible for indies, but what does this have to do with Unity? :)

  • Vania

    Seriously, learn to summarize what you want to say,
    It's not like we're talking accross the kitchen table.

  • anthonyflack

    Considering that, for an indie game made with the Unreal engine, Epic staff would have likely contributed more than 25% of the actual work done, it doesn't seem like too bad a deal. But hey, write all your own tools if you prefer.

    Your comments about “prostitution” and “not being indie” because you don't have “control over the profits” just seem like nonsense to me. Or at best, severely misplaced idealism. “Indie” isn't a synonym for “freeloading”. You can't complain about loss of earnings on one hand while demanding cheap or free tools on the other.

    And people don't choose their middleware based on how trendy it is, they choose it for its featureset and useability.

    And enough with the artificial divide between “indie” and “mainstream” games. These so-called “mainstream” games are made by game developers just like the rest of us; often by smaller independent studios, even.

  • Dodger

    If there wasn't an “artificial” divide between indie and mainstream we wouldn't need these bloody sites covering indie games, would we?

  • Dodger

    You're right, nothing really to do with Unity, I rambled on. I was just comparing the cost between one engine that's “free” and another and got lost in thought. :-)

  • Dodger

    Ya, you're right, true dat! LOL

  • Dodger

    Your points are valid, but I never said anything about freeloading, never mentioned that at all… so you didn't read the whole thing or couldn't be bothered to read the whole comment, in which case – why are we talking? The thing is, I wasn't complaining about loss of earnings on one hand while demanding cheap or free on the other, I was stating how in the case of indie development cheaper is better, and these kits are both free – unless x = y, in which case one is very affordable while the other is not (25% is not cheap). You're right about writing all of your own tools, that's the best direction if you have the means to do it then that's definitely the way to go and I can't argue with that. Since we're talking about paying for development kits though, the unreal engine is expensive if you're an indie (unless you just want to make freeware games or mods – or you like the idea of as little profit as possible), while the Unity engine isn't expensive at all. There, that's more to the point.

  • anthonyflack

    Of course I read your whole comment!

    More to the point, the Unreal engine is cheaper if you make less than $6000 in sales, the Unity engine is cheaper if you sell more. But more important is which engine suits your needs better (unless you really place little value your time).

    For that reason, I seriously DON'T recommend writing your own tools unless you really have to; economies of scale mean you'll most likely have spent more than $1500 worth of time developing something inferior. This is why professional developers license their tools wherever possible; it's faster, more efficient and cheaper in the long run.

  • anthonyflack

    This is the perennial question “what is indie”, and it does raise the question of what sites like this really are “for”.

    Covering obscure games, freeware games, amateur games, games with little or no marketing budget that people wouldn't otherwise hear about? But that's not really about “independence” from a developer's point of view.

    Treasure, for example, are a great, small independent studio who have been successfully producing idiosyncratic, original games for over 15 years, but even though in spirit they fit the description very well, we don't usually think of them as “indies” because they work alongside mainstream publishers and get coverage in mainstream publications.

    But then again, so do people like Derek.

  • Jmonkeyengine

    yet another blow to the indie game-engine developer

  • Not Dodging Purpose

    HAHAHAH I just had to come in here and read the comments. Nice stuff Dodger. Blahdy Blah…. Ok, I must get back to my purpose

  • Razz


  • Dodger

    I agree with you there, but it's the independent developer who needs the coverage because they don't have a publisher to help them promote their game. I think “indie” means doing everything yourself, or having the help of other do-it yourselfers. Not counting on, relying on, or adhering to an overseer of any kind. That's the most literal and most accurate description of indie, and since people do love examples when making general comments I can immediately think of one such developer who personifies the term “indie” would be someone such as Jeff Vogel. Again, I use him as an example, but I think he's a pretty concrete example of what an “indie” developer truly is and he's been doing it for a longer period of time than most. He's kept at it, made a living from it, and hasn't changed his work ethic to conform to anybody else' rules (except maybe to make things better or more intuitive for his fans and customers). There is another side of this conversation, and that is the “idea” of “indie”. There really isn't anything wrong with the approach, being a small developer having little funds and wanting to promote, profit, and live off of indie game development, but literally speaking, once a developer needs to adhere to another entities will, they are no longer independent.

    Anyway, this has nothing to do with Unity, LOL I just get what you mean about their being different view points as to what exactly “indie” means.

  • Dodger

    I agree with you on all of this, I just didn't want you taking my comment as me thinking that developers should be able to freeload or having things for free. It wasn't what I was stating at all.

  • anthonyflack

    High five!

  • Dodger

    Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

    High Five! :)

  • bombboy

    The uncalledforness of the citizen of concerned nature makes your first post shine like a beacon of calledforness.

    (not that it was completely uncalled for, just the tiniest bit)

  • traylorpark

    I'm just upset that I have to pay 1.5k to get the dark theme. I really want that dark theme!

  • John Sandoval

    Space Funeral wasn't that great. I mean sure, the Dracula part was pretty funny (and so was the wizard), but every single battle could be won by pressing AUTO. You were completely overpowered throughout the whole game (enemies only ever did like 10 damage), and levelling and equipment were all pretty unnecesary. Every single boss in this game could be killed in less than 30 seconds.

    That having been said, the music was pretty good.

  • http://billy.wenge-murphy.com/ Billy

    Wow, such hostility. I remember when it used to be cool to hate on the proprietary.

  • http://billy.wenge-murphy.com/ Billy

    Sophisticated and intellectual gents in this community. I ought to stop by more often, what a lovely place. I'm sure your code is as impressive as your comments.