A quiet revolution.

If you read a lot of gaming websites – which, somewhat depressingly, I do – you start to notice several things; That you should avoid the comments at all costs, no-one is ever entirely happy, no matter what games makers do, and that there is a lot of talk about engines.

And one engine I’ve noticed quietly and calmly strutting it’s stuff is Unity.

As you may have noticed, I’m not overly technologically minded. If I open up a computer I’m just as likely to break something as improve it, and I have all the coding knowledge of your average mongoose. But the relatively quick rise of Unity has fascinated me. The most recent piece of creative software I picked up was google Sketchup, a 3d Modelling software, and I’m not doing too badly with it. With that in mind, I decided to have a look to see just how intuitive Unity is to use, and precisely what a newbie like me can do with it.

At 600+ MB, the installer is a pretty hefty download, so whilst it was going I had a little explore of Unity’s site. An impressive list of games was one of the things I came across, and I was a little surprised to see just how many significant independent projects used the engine. I’d heard of Sir, You Are Being Hunted and Endless Space.

So I fired up the interface and had a look, and since my primary goal was to have a look around, I headed for the Asset Store and downloaded a third person shooter tech-demo called Bootcamp. Another 192Mb of data later and I was importing a ratehr long list of textures and files into my program.

It’s worth pointing out that the basic version of Unity is free, allowing people to play around with it on an amateur level as well as use it for professional game creation. It also offers a long, LONG list of tutorials to get you off the ground.

By the time I got into anything, it was getting a bit late, but I was very impressed by how intuitive the interface was. I was able to drop spheres and basic shapes into a scene quite easily. I did get the impression that even after using the basic tutorials, I would have been able to put something very basic together. The thing that most grabbed me about Unity’s design interface was it’s accessibility, and given that you can obtain licences to publish to everything from an iPhone to a PS3, that accessibility can only be good for the games industry.

If you want to try your hand at making a game, or you’ve tried before and want access to a good toolkit, I recommend Unity. Not only could you make something quite impressive, you can also get it to the markets you want to be successful – and with the level of help available to get you going, you’ve genuinely got nothing to lose.


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