Unified: Unity 3 Released

While not exactly about playing games (this is more for the making of games) the launch of Unity 3, the third iteration of the free-to-use game engine, has me excited. Of all the game-making tools out there, Unity is the one I’ve spent the most time with, and it was actually responsible for the RPS game, RockPaperShotgunity, which we cobbled together last year. Also, I totally made some big spheres move about making booming noises. I am The Creator. People who know stuff are more excited about the unified editor, the post-processing and shader improvements, the occlusion culling, deferred rendering, and other tech stuff. Full What’s New list here, although some of that is for the paid-for Pro version, which I think is limited to a month demo, something like that.

Never made a game before? Spong In A Posty! Although that’s probably a bit out of date for Unity 3. Maybe it’s time to do another one.


  1. John Peat says:

    I tried Unity earlier this year in the hope that I could move away from tinkering with things like Blitz Basic and get into a proper GDE – but the whole thing just melted my head.

    My mistake was having a specific goal tho – I really should have followed the (extensive and decent) tutorials and samples first and gotten to grips with the thing.

    I think the message here is that it can do amazing things BUT it’s not something you’re going to get to grips with in an afternoon.

    Also – if you do pour your entire creation into it – bear in mind that you’re locking your creation into their licensing model etc. If you want to avoid that, something like Blender might be better (where your assets etc. are freely exchangeable with other GDEs etc.)

    • SpinalJack says:

      That doesn’t make any sense. Blender makes 3D models, Unity doesn’t have any 3D modelling capabilities, you would require 3D models to be made outside of Unity in the first place.

      It’s mostly personal preference what software you use to make games, some people prefer c++ or some other language (you can still link to external code from unity btw)

    • Reverend Speed says:

      Actually, I believe Unity has model making (and animation) facilities and Blender has both a game engine and physics capabilities.

      They’re both pretty specialised, though and Unity has both a better interface and learning curve for newbies and more grunt for releasing your project – on the Web, .exe, Mac, iPhone, Android, Wii, PS3, 360, Hamster, Corduroy, y0ghurt, Aether, Warren Spector, 3rd Circle of the Inferno…

    • James says:

      Wait, what? Unity doesn’t have a built in 3D model editor. You can do a few things with rag dolls and physics, but that’s about as close as it comes. Blender or Maya or Sculptris or SOMETHING is pretty much required if you want to make your own 3D models for Unity games.

  2. Reverend Speed says:

    Try the soldier demo. It’s not entirely… feature complete, but it’s very VERY exciting.

    link to unity3d.com

    Would love to see a sequel to Shotgunity as I might actually be able to participate this year. Would want some clear design goals, though – in accordance with article, I think you could aim lower than last year.

    Perhaps take a scrum approach – spend two weeks on a mechanic and release a game BASED on that mechanic (learnt how to create a fps walker? Make a maze game! Learnt how to create a timer? Make a timed maze game!).

    This way you get to make a load of Shotgunity games (if it’s the same duration – Nov to Dec – that’s about 4 games of increasing complexity), you get a load (?) of time for polish, you can keep your community up to date, compare and choose different creator’s methods used to achieve commonly set goals and (if you’ve set up proper Unity Webplayer hosting) you get lots of publicity.

    Use the resources you have. For example, make targets out of pictures of Kieron and Alec and John… and record samples from them, etc. Might be annoying over time, but at least you’ll have a novelty attractor for a while. Also: Fast and cheap!

    Lastly – a name. I like “Shotgunity 2: Kill Them In The Face”. What RPS phrases would you suggest, fellow readers?

    • Reverend Speed says:

      Gah, something went horrifically wrong in that last post. Sorry.

    • stahlwerk says:

      I think we really need a game where you can talk to the monsters.

      Rock Paper Verbosity

    • Reverend Speed says:

      Well… we DO have some Sims pseudo code.

      link to donhopkins.com

      You could do a game where the monsters are unkillable but work to a dynamic schedule of needs which the express via speech bubbles, allowing the observant player to disable them by supplying their needs.


      Hungry monster rampaging through alleyway?
      Gather food and shoot it at him!

      Aggressive monster blocking doorway, thinking of toilet?
      Build portaloo to move him out of the way.

      Bit overcomplicated for a first project, though.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      @Reverend Speed

      Like your thinking. I probably won’t have time to participate this time either, but if anyone is interested in learning more, this looks like an intriguing book (on my to-read list).
      link to amazon.com

    • Komus says:

      Shotgunity 2: The Paradox of Fred Wester?

  3. Tei says:

    Time to repost a link from the past sunday papers
    link to makegames.tumblr.com
    (note: at the moment the page is down).

  4. MadTinkerer says:

    I wish I had the time to get into the Unity toolset. I kind of have my hands full with my C++ class, Source Engine tutorials (might actually finish a Portal level I’m working on), and a Game Maker thing I’m doing with my brother. Plus I want to check out Inform 7, Starcraft 2 map editing and Cosmigo Pro Motion.

    But hey: I’ll play Shotgunity 2 if it’s made. :)

  5. T says:

    I was waiting on this 3.0 Unity 3D and also at Shiva 3D 1.9 version is expected (within days/ weeks).

    From the looking at and reading some docs Shiva 3D seems to already do everything Unity proposes/ advertises as breakthrough things like unified editor multi-platform etc.. for a fraction off the price.

    But then Unity gets all the attention from the casual-indie-industry like its an Apple with a bite!? Is it really that good.. mmm

    • Starky says:

      Yes it is – it isn’t so much the features, other engines have all of that as you say, it’s that it has all those features in a layout and design that is very, very easy to learn.

      Literally anyone can get it and start playing with it.

      It is to Google sketchup, what Unreal 3 is to Autocad/3DS Max.

    • Starky says:

      Wait no, that last bit doesn’t work at all…

      Unity is to Unreal 3, what Google sketchup is to AutoCAD… yeah that is better.

  6. AndrewC says:

    Spong In A Posty!

    • Starky says:

      Spong in Posty is my favourite meal to start the day, so yummy.

    • Reverend Speed says:

      Starting Shotgunity2 with a new group version of Spong in a Posty might not be a bad idea, actually. The basics are easy to understand and you have a game at the end of it, giving everybody a chance to build a game and polish it up. A few useful FPS techniques in there too.

    • AndrewC says:

      My design brief is: you start off powerless and have to navigate a level using paper and rock to sneak by/distract enemies and then you get to the end of the level where you pick up the shotgun. Then you run back through the level to the start shooting the fuck out of everything.

  7. Guildenstern says:

    A bit disappointing that all big improvements seem to concern paid version only. Oh well.

    • AndrewC says:

      My second design brief is: a cross between a tower defence game and tetris, where you are trying to build a decent comments thread from all the comments dropping in, trying to group like-minded comments together so they will become more strong and able to push away nasty/stupid comments. But some types of comments are better at pushing away certain other types of negative comments away (enthusiastic posts are strong against apathetic posturing, but weak against cynical griefing), so if all your comments are of the same type you will get group think, and will be weak against an attack from a new type of negative comment.

      There will be a booze meter, and the game will end when the comments thread has turned you toward terminal alocholism.

    • AndrewC says:

      Reply fail! Woot!

  8. TSA says:


    I’ve been waiting for this, and it’s been rumbling at Unity for a while. Now, they just need Wii parity, but since they’ve sold exactly three Wii licenses I guess I understand.

  9. Torgen says:

    Saw this last night before turning in, and downloaded it. No more excuses not to learn it and get to work on one of my game ideas (though I guess I *could* say I was waiting on new Tornado Twins tutorials, in a pinch.)

  10. Max says:

    Is anyone else having trouble downloading it? I click the download link and it just takes me back to the same page.

  11. Meatloaf says:

    Aaaaaah holy crap yes! I love working with Unity, and I’ve been looking forward to this release ever so much.

  12. Devenger says:

    Still doesn’t help me past the Great Modelling Wall of 3D Game Development. Never mind, I’ve got FlashDevelop + Flixel to play with right now.

    Though if anyone know of any free, exceedingly accessible modelling programs that can export to Unity without a hitch (and have brilliant tutorials describing both making and exporting models), I wouldn’t mind knowing. Bonus points if it gives any solution for explaining seemingly super-confusing model texturing.

  13. Impossible says:

    Wings 3D? Blender is not really accessible and I’m not sure if the free version of Sketch up can export to a format that Unity can import. Might want to try out scultptris for modeling and texturing.

    There are now all these tools for “easy game development” assuming the major barrier is technical. Now I’d say the main barrier is being able to produce art. Of course you can still make a fun game with horrible art, and you’re not going to make any sort of video game without a game engine to run it. I think integrating free easy to use character creators, usable props, game ready mocap data, and procedural content generation into Unity would be interesting. The problem is in the worst case (and most likely) scenario you just end up with a bunch of identical looking and playing games. Last thing you want to do is turn Unity into RPG Maker…

    • Devenger says:

      Thanks for the response. You are right, the free version of Google SketchUp doesn’t export in any format that Unity is prepared to use (I read up on an unorthodox two-stage conversion that involved Google Earth, but I couldn’t get my head round it). The links are much appreciated – I’ll take a proper look at those modelling programs the next time I want to dabble in 3D. (For now, 2D offers a suitable plethora of opportunities – my main limiting factor is willpower, not availability of methods.)

      I think that adding premade assets to Unity would, as you suggest, make it run the risk of becoming a game clone conveyor belt, when it can be so much more. I’d much rather they just try and give as much advice and support about making assets (even very simple stuff, like a shape of cuboids and cylinders) as is humanly possible.

  14. TSA says:

    Wings is a very good modeler, but hardly more accessible than Blender. You also can’t do animation in it.

    Full disclosure: I develop with Blender and Unity. The current stable version of Blender, 2.49b, exports geometry, armatures and animations to Unity quite well. I wouldn’t use that for serious organic modeling myself (I’ve bought Silo for that), but as far as unwrapping, texturing, baking, animation and general swiss-army-knifeness goes it’s very good. I wouldn’t recommend learning that right now if you can at all wait. The next revision, an almost-complete rewrite that’s currently in beta, has a totally different and better interface. Trouble is, I think the exporters and such are not yet complete.

    You can, of course also choose a different 3D package. (Not to start a flamewar here but) most of the options that can do animation and have the right exporters are either free crippled versions or very expensive commercial software. And as hard to learn as Blender is for a complete beginner.

  15. Wozik says:

    Multi-editor is a matter of convenience, feature list is a matter of marketings, but it’s actual product quality that matters.