Guest Post: The Unity Game Engine

Hello. This is Alana. Nick is busy today doing God-knows-what, so I’m taking over again.

I thought today I would talk to you about Unity. What’s that? Well, it’s a 3D game engine that you can download for free at www.unity3D.com and start making your own video games today. Despite how simplistic that sounds, Unity is not a toy. You really can create your own games, totally personal and customizable. It takes time, though. If you’re new to game development, you won’t be able to spit out a fully functional first person shooter on the first day.

Do you have an artistic side? This is your chance to try game design. You can create terrains and simple objects in Unity, or import graphics from another program. Use Blender for free 3D modelling, or any image manipulation software for 2D images that you can import.

Are you interested in programming? Well, get your JavaScript skills out and put them to work. You can control your characters, keep score, shoot objects, create obstacles, enemies, treasure, health, new levels…whatever you need to keep your game fun and playable. Unity comes with some standard scripts, and you can download countless more. Unity also works with C.

You can do graphics or scripting or both. Between Unity’s asset store, resources page, and forums, you can find plenty of free tutorials, scripts, and models to incorporate into your game. The forums, particularly, are a good place to find collaborators once you get on your feet. If you have the scripts, somebody else might provide the models in exchange for a credit in the game.

When you look into Unity, something you will find a lot of is tutorials. There are approximately 800, 000, 000 Unity tutorials on the internet. Find one. Learn something. Use it for something new. Repeat. That’s how you get good at it. You can also find completed projects to download and figure out how they work.

Unity is used to make casual games. You won’t find 80 hour epics made on Unity, but there are many indie developers making their living using the platform. At the end of the post, I’ll link to some games made in Unity so you can get an idea of the versatility and possibilities of Unity.

Additionally, if you are already good at modelling or scripting, you can submit your work to the Unity asset store to be sold. They take a cut, and you keep the rest of the profits. There is a rigorous selection process, though, so don’t submit anything that isn’t great.

One caveat: while you can create fully functional games in the free version of Unity, the $1500 pro version has some pretty sweet features that a professional developer would want. For instance, you can’t import videos into free Unity, so no motion intros. Unity Pro makes team-based development easier, and most games are developed by teams. Only Unity Pro can put games on IOS devices. Advanced audio filters and light mapping are only available on Unity Pro. Plain old Unity can still create some fantastic games, but there are limitations. If you ever actually try to make your living developing casual games, go Pro.

Click Here for a gallery of games developed with Unity

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