Interview with Unity 3D – E3 2011
June 7, 2011, Electronic Entertainment Expo, Los Angeles—We talked with Owen Tverty and Brian Bruning about Unity 3D and the game development platforms they are producing. Unity and their content development and distribution arm, Union, are serving over 150 k developers and over 500 k copies of the tools have been downloaded.
Unity assists developers with content development tools, game engines, and middleware to enable rapid prototypes and cross-platform operation from a single source code source. The basic license is free for each platform, but the "pro" level tools cost $1,500 per seat and per target OS. They support iOS, Windows, Android, and Apple OSx.
The software structure is all system-level functions like engine-specific functions such as models and physics get called through an API. Third-party tools can use their native APIs. The open workflow allows any tool to be plugged in, so personal preferences or special tool functionality is always available. An example of the ease of tool integration is the ability to automatically update files across all of the tools.
Because of the size of their developer community, they can aggregate development for future models for TV and on-line games across platforms. Currently, over 10k games being developed on their tools and over 1000 are released for iOS. The basic philosophy is to abstract as much as possible so the developer doesn't have to code everything. They can do right resolution graphics (including transcoding) and have a Flash plug-in.
They will be hosting a Unity developers' forum in September in San Francisco. To encourage developers, they have an academic discount program and over 300 college-level schools are teaching game development on their tools. They will be applying their tools to other markets like military, medical, and education in the future.