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Unity Technologies has been disrupting big budget 3D games with its light 3D game technology. The company’s engine lets game developers create a 3D online game that runs in a browser, without the need for big downloads as with traditional massively multiplayer online games.
And today, Unity is announcing it has made even more progress, bringing in support for the Google Android, Apple iPad and Sony PlayStation 3 platforms. It is also launching Unity 3.0, the latest release of its game engine for games on the web, PC, Mac, Wii, Xbox 360 and iPhone. Now the company’s engine will work with essentially all of the major game platforms in the console, web and mobile markets.
Since 2005, Unity has acquired more than 100,000 registered developers for its platform. The goal is the democratization of 3D games. It allows even small game developers to come up with cool 3D creations that look good even though they aren’t made with big budgets. It competes in that way with high-end game engines such as EpicGames’ Unreal Engine 3. While Unity’s focus has been more casual, Epic focuses on hardcore games on the most powerful computing platforms.
Unity’s engine started with bare bones 3D graphics. But it keeps adding new features. This release has physics features, optimizations to make a game run on multiple platforms more easily, better performance and fidelity in rendering, and licensed technology from Illuminate Labs and Umbra Software. Illuminate allows for global illumination, like putting a sun in the game and allowing it to cast realistic shadows. The iPhone version of Unity will now include things like faster in-game graphical user interfaces, a fast 2D image engine, and Bluetooth multiplayer support.
Unity has a free version of its product. It also has a premier version, Unity Pro, that sells for $1,500 per developer seat. The final release of version 3.0 will be planned for the summer, but beta versions are ready now.
David Helgason, chief executive of Unity, will be speaking at our executive game conference GamesBeat@GDC at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. Note: Online registration for the conference on Wednesday is closed but you can still register on site. Monday onsite registration is 5-7 pm. On Tuesday and Wednesday, on-site registration is open all day. Reminder: A press pass for GDC or an All-Access Pass for GDC can get you into GamesBeat@GDC. You can also get a GamesBeat-only pass by registering on site.