Unity3D is a revolutionary game platform that allows for almost anyone to create a video game and reach a world-wide audience.
Many small teams are on record of having a game with 7 or even 8 digits of annual revenue. With over 1MM developers now use Unity, it is responsible for 100,000+ games on the iPhone and Android.
Multi-million dollar games can now be created by a small team, even a single person. Historically this was not the case, games used to cost millions to create. Unity3D is a revolutionary idea to democratize the building of computer games, much like these:
In the 80’s computer games were very much the wild west. Anyone and everyone could create a game to compete in the market place. As games became more advanced in the 90’s, both with desktops and with consoles, the cost of creating games rose substantially. Game budgets increased to 10 million and even 100 Million – small studios had almost no chance to compete.
That all changed with the development of Unity3D, mobile devices, and the Internet – creation, hardware, distribution. Unity provides the ability to create both 2D and 3D games, easily with minimal skill sets. Recently Unity announced version 5 of their product. Including expanded graphics and lighting, better animation and WebGL support. You can even lease the product for a monthly fee:
Unity’s success can be attributed to (3) three brilliant strategies.
Unity doesn’t invent the technology in games, they simply license the technology they need from parties of over the world. Their physics engine is from NVidia’s PhysX, graphics is both OpenGL and DirectX, light mapping is done with Beast, etc. By not inventing the wheel, Unity was able to leverage the best game technology in the world and bring it to all developers on a common platform.
Second, Unity games run on almost all platforms. You build a game once and it will run almost anywhere. Including XBox, iPhone, iPad, Android, PS4, PC, Mac, and even in web pages. Much as Java once was created to write once, run everywhere, Unity3D does the same for games.
Finally, Unity also created an asset store. This is where artists and developers can sell their wares in a marketplace. Do you need a tree, lighthouse, or animated girl for a game? No problem, you can probably find it for sale in the asset store. Functionality like custom user interfaces, artificial intelligence, social gaming – all there. There are also many third party sites that sell content such as Pond5 for audio, ShutterStock for images, or TurboSquid for models. Other useful add-ons found the asset store include:
User Interface – NGUI, Daiken Forge, or EasyTouch
Materials – Allegorthmic
Shaders – Shader Forge, SkyShop
Cameras – CameraPath, RTS CameraPro
Shapes and Paths – MegaShapes or MegaFiers
Visual Software – Playmaker
Audio – SoundManager, MasterAudio
Particles – Particle Playground, Cartoon FX
Cloud Services – Everplay, Game Analytics
Terrains – Relief Pack, World Builder, Terrain Composer, SkyBoxes
Interesting and Fun – QuickRopes, Circular Gravity, Vectrosity
Learning to create a game has never been easier. Unity provides tutorials for free and many websites offer classes (Lynda, Learn Unity, Digital Tutors). There are many books at Amazon or videos on YouTube. Unity has excellent documentation both as a reference and manual. Here is an example of someone building a version of Minecraft in a week:
The world-wide market for mobile is 1.5 billion devices. Its no accident that the mobile market for apps, dominated by games, is doubling almost every 12 months. Unity provides very useful market and hardware statistics to track industry state.
The market has never been larger, the ability to create a game never been easier, the opportunity is simply immense. If you ever wanted to try you hand at being a game entrepreneur, the time is now.