|Initial release||1.0 / June 8, 2005|
5.5.2 / February 24, 2017
|Written in||C#, UnityScript,Boo (Unity API)|
|Platform||IA-32, x86-64, ARM|
Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies and used to develop video games for PC, consoles, mobile devices and websites. First announced only for OS X, at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in 2005, it has since been extended to target 27 platforms. Nintendo provides free licenses of Unity 5 to all licensed Nintendo Developers along with their software development kits (SDKs) for the Wii U and Nintendo 3DS Family.
Five major versions of Unity have been released. At the 2006 WWDC show, Apple named Unity as the runner up for its Best Use of Mac OS X Graphics category.
With an emphasis on portability, the engine targets the following APIs: Direct3D and Vulkan on Windows and Xbox 360; OpenGL on Mac, Linux, and Windows; OpenGL ES on Android and iOS; and proprietary APIs on video game consoles. Unity allows specification of texture compression and resolution settings for each platform that the game engine supports, and provides support for bump mapping, reflection mapping, parallax mapping, screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO), dynamic shadows using shadow maps, render-to-texture and full-screen post-processing effects. Unity's graphics engine's platform diversity can provide a shader with multiple variants and a declarative fallback specification, allowing Unity to detect the best variant for the current video hardware and, if none are compatible, to fall back to an alternative shader that may sacrifice features for performance.
Unity is notable for its ability to target games to multiple platforms. Within a project, developers have control over delivery to mobile devices, web browsers, desktops, and consoles. Supported platforms include Android, Apple TV,BlackBerry 10, iOS, Linux, Nintendo 3DS line,macOS, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Unity Web Player (including Facebook), Wii, Wii U, Nintendo Switch, Windows Phone 8, Windows, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. It includes an asset server and Nvidia's PhysX physics engine. Unity Web Player is a browser plugin that is supported in Windows and OS X only, which has been deprecated in favor of WebGL. Unity is the default software development kit (SDK) for Nintendo's Wii U video game console platform, with a free copy included by Nintendo with each Wii U developer license. Unity Technologies calls this bundling of a third-party SDK an "industry first".
Unity comes with four license options. Here is the list of all available licenses and their differences:
|License Name||All Engine Features and Updates||Cloud Build Queue||All Platforms||Performance Reporting||Pro features (UI, Splash, etc.)||Source code access||Premium Support|
|Enterprise||Yes||Dedicated Build Agents||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (September 2016)|
In 2012, VentureBeat said, "Few companies have contributed as much to the flowing of independently produced games as Unity Technologies. ... More than 1.3 million developers are using its tools to create gee-whiz graphics in their iOS, Android, console, PC, and web-based games. ... Unity wants to be the engine for multi-platform games, period."
For the Apple Design Awards at the 2006 WWDC trade show, Apple, Inc. named Unity as the runner-up for its Best Use of Mac OS X Graphics category, a year after Unity's launch at the same trade show. Unity Technologies says this is the first time a game design tool has ever been nominated for this award. A May 2012 survey by Game Developer magazine indicated Unity as its top game engine for mobile platforms. In July 2014, Unity won the "Best Engine" award at the UK's annual Develop Industry Excellence Awards.
Unity 5 was met with similar praise, with The Verge stating that "Unity started with the goal of making game development universally accessible.... Unity 5 is a long-awaited step towards that future."
Following the release of Unity 5, Unity Technologies drew some criticism for the high volume of quickly produced games published on the Steam distribution platform by inexperienced developers. CEO John Riccitiello said in an interview that he believes this to be a side-effect of Unity's success in democratizing game development: "If I had my way, I'd like to see 50 million people using Unity - although I don't think we're going to get there any time soon. I'd like to see high school and college kids using it, people outside the core industry. I think it's sad that most people are consumers of technology and not creators. The world's a better place when people know how to create, not just consume, and that's what we're trying to promote."
In December 2016, Unity Technologies announced that they will change the versioning numbering system for Unity from sequence-based identifiers to year of release to align the versioning with their more frequent release cadence.
On December 16, 2013, Unity Technologies Japan revealed new screenshots for an official mascot character named Unity-chan (??????? Yuniti-chan?), real name Kohaku ?tori (?? ??? ?tori Kohaku?) (voiced by Asuka Kakumoto), with exhibit of the character in Comic Market 85 event in the Tokyo Big Sight between December 29 to the 31st, where themed goods would be distributed and her voice actress would be present at the event. The character's associated game data were to be released in spring 2014. The character was designed by Unity Technologies Japan designer 'ntny' as an open-source heroine character. The company allows the use of Unity-chan and related characters in secondary projects under certain licenses. For example, Unity-chan appears as a playable character in Runbow. The popularity of the character also led to her appearance in VOCALOID adaptions, including her own sound library for VOCALOID4 and a special adaption of VOCALOID designed to work with the Unity Engine 5.0 version called Unity with VOCALOID.
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