Friday, 26 February 2010
00:11 | Posted by Rock
Back in early November 2009 I reported on the free version of Unity that had been launched, and renamed from the Indie version to simply Unity. Today I will take a closer look at both versions and what they can do.
Before deciding whether to purchase Unity Pro you can download the free Unity which comes with a 30 day trial of Unity Pro included (after the 30 day period is up the software simply reverts to the free level of functionality). The main differences between Unity and Unity Pro are that with Unity you do not have real-time shadows, and with Unity Pro you do not have any splashscreens or watermarks. A detailed comparison of the differences between the two versions is on the Unity License page. Unity, with the 30 day trial of Unity Pro can be downloaded from the Unity download page.
Companies that have a turnover in excess of US$100,000 per annum must use Unity Pro. When using either Unity or Unity Pro no permissions are necessary to launch commercial products built with the software. However, they would take a dim view if someone took all the included asset bundles and resold them with a new name on them as if they were their own. No royalties are payable with either version.
Unity currently uses Nvidia's PhysX for its physics engine, and this is included in Unity.
Unity can import 3D models, textures, bones, and animations from almost all 3D applications, including 3dsMax, Maya, 3D Studio Max, Cheetah 3D, Cinema 4D, Blender, Carrara, Lightwave, XSI 5.x, and meshes and textures from Sketchup Pro and Wings 3D. For images, Photoshop .psd and .tiff formats are imported with layers automatically flattened. Non-layered JPEG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TGA, IFF, PICT and many other image formats are also supported. Ogg video and audio are natively supported, but MOV, AVI, ASF, MPG, MPEG, and MP4 video files can also be used, and are recoded by Unity with a configurable bitrate. Audio formats such as AIFF, WAV and MP3 are also supported, and are stored uncompressed (great for high-quality sound effects).
Unity supports one-click deployment to either MAC OSX or Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7. All Unity games can be played using a standard web-browser including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and most Mozilla-based browsers, after installing a Unity Web Player Plug-in. The plug-in is small at around 3 MB, and auto-installs without a browser restart.
Unity provides great terrain tools to create all terrain types. An impressive range of foliage types can be painted directly into the scene, and with lightmaps showing the effects of all directional lights a realistic feel to a scene can be easily achieved.
|Beautiful Terrains Can be easily Created|
Unity has full network support via it's built in Raknet-based multiplayer networking system as well as c# socket support with which Unity can talk to any back-end software you want.
The most popular being Smartfox Server and Exitgames Neutron/Photon services. Smartfox Server already has an existing Unity based API, meaning you can actually get up and running in a networked, multiplayer environment. The API is right here:
Asset Bundles and other Resources
Examples projects are available to use on the Resource pages, including one nice Character Customisation project, called Dressing Room, that comes in one zip file, and includes all the source code! Have a look at the demo here to see it in action.
Unity comes complete with a tropical island demo, but other projects can be downloaded from the Resources page, including: 3rd Person Shooter, Shadow demo, Character Animation, and Networking capabilities.
What are you waiting for? Go get it!