Unity is a cross-platform game engine. This means Unity is software that comes with pre-made tools to aid and speed up game development. More recently it has been used to produce software and new media projects.

Unity3D – An Overview

Unity allows developers to create 2D and 3D games inside a unique development environment. Small teams, of all skill levels, can rapidly create games with Unity. With the addition of Unity’s Asset Store and Answers website, it’s even easier to create custom mechanics, games, and experiences (such as in VR/AR).

What do you mean “cross-platform”?

Unity projects developed for one platform can be switched over to other existing platforms. Although considerations such as input and optimization would have to be addressed by the developer in order for the project to fully work on its new platform.

  • Desktop – Projects may be built to PC, Mac, and Linux desktops/laptops.
  • Mobile – Projects may be built to Android, iOS, and a few other mobile OS’s
  • Projects may also be built for platforms such as game consoles, virtual reality, and augmented reality

Why use Unity?

Over the last decade, small teams have become able to build games that took teams doubled or tripled their size. Part of the reason why smaller teams are able to produce games at such an incredible speed is thanks to game engines such as Unity. These engines come with useful features and functions that drastically decrease development time. Unity and other game engines make it so that teams don’t have to start from scratch. Instead, they build off of premade code using tools included with the engine.

Premade Components

Unity comes with premade components which add functionality to game objects inside of the engine. These components allow developers to quickly add physics, collision, lights, cameras, etc. These components give developers a nice starting point for project creation/development.

2D and 3D

The components that come with Unity have been split into 2D and 3D where applicable. This allows for developers to create 2D colliders/physics for 2D games and 3D colliders/physics for 3D games. If a developer wants they can even let 3D game objects use 2D colliders and 2D games objects use 3D colliders.

Scripting-API

Unity has created a huge collection of classes and functions that aid in game development. This decreases development time as a lot of the general tools that developers need are included. If they aren’t it is easy to create a new class and add functionality to it.

User-Friendly Interface

Artists, designers, and programmers can all work inside of Unity. Unity comes with an editor which is the front facing application for game development. Scripts can be added inside of the editor to extend the functionality of the editor.

Asset Store

The Asset Store is a marketplace where developers can purchase bundles, add-ons, and plugins for Unity. These assets could range from a pack of models all the way up to interfaces where developers can customize and edit shaders in Unity.

Community

Unity has been around for over a decade. This lifespan has enabled Unity to gain notoriety and build an expansive community. If a developer has a general question on how to do something in Unity, the answer can probably be found with a quick google search unless the functionality is custom.

The Future of Unity

In the last few years, Unity has started promoting itself not only as a game engine but as a complete 3D development package. Unity has announced what they call Unity Services, which are a set of products which can be enabled inside of the game engine to extend its functionality. One example would be Collaborate which Unity will be using as its personal solution to version control.

With the advent of Unity 2018, Unity has once again improved its engine by allowing developers to model inside of the Unity Editor by allowing integration with what used to be Probuilder. Now developers can both create functionality and build prototype-level art inside of Unity.

Unity has also released a course bundle and developer certificates. Developers may go through the Unity courses and when they feel they are prepared may take a certification test to become a Unity Certified Developer. If a developer feels like they don’t need the courses then they may still find a testing location and take the certification test.

With Unity Services and the Unity Certified Developer tests, Unity is securing itself as a standard for game development and creation.

Unity Services

Read more about what Unity has to offer with its Services bundle.

Unity Courseware

A collection of courses created by Unity so that new and experienced developers can learn Unity’s workflow and how to use the game engine.

Unity Connect

A social site where Unity developers can show off their work and look for potential employers. Employers also use this site to fill positions.

Summary

Unity has grown from a game engine that a niche group used to a standard in the game development community. With the company rapidly adding more features and updating old features Unity is continuing to grow both as a tool and as a community.

Next Blog Post

Section 1 – Unity’s Interface

In this post, readers will learn how to install and open Unity. They will then begin to get an understanding of the different windows and screens involved in Unity development.

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