Unity Technologies actively develops the Unity game engine, which game developers use to create beautiful and engaging 2D, 3D, VR, AR games and apps. Using a fully-featured editor interface enables users to realize a creative idea quickly, and deliver finished content to virtually any media or device from PCs, to consoles, to web, mobile devices, head-mounted displays and more.
An example of the Unity Editor interface
How many people use Unity?
Initially released 12 years ago in 2005, Unity quickly became the industry standard for creating video games. Their market share grew incredibly fast - in 2016 they commanded 45% of the game engine market and as of 2017 38% of the top 1,000 free mobile games were Made in Unity. Although, Unity's biggest competitors tout different statistics to paint a different picture (mainly regarding overall revenue) the fact remains that Unity dominates in user-base.
Why do so many developers choose Unity?
- Ubiquity - after creating a game in Unity, an author can publish it to 28 different platforms with little to no code changes. Want to support Amazon Fire stick, iPhone, and Xbox One? No problem!
- Cost - Unity is absolutely free to use and publish games with; Unity Technologies only starts to take a cut of your revenue once your game starts earning over $100,000 annually.
- Power - Just like the Unreal engine and similar tools, Unity combines a game engine with a code editor1 (Visual Studio or MonoDevelop) plus an "Editor interface" within which users can "play" changes or additions to a game instantly, making rapid iterative testing a breeze. Coupling that with Unity's ability to deliver stunning graphics2 makes it a powerful tool.
There's plenty of additional reasons why folks choose Unity like it's drag-and-drop features, or the thousands of amazing third-party assets available via the Asset Store, or the ability to temporarily Live-Edit a game at runtime. These are just what I think are the big three.
1. Also known as an IDE - Integrated Development Environment
What's the Asset Store?
Integrated right inside the Unity Editor is the Asset Store - a marketplace for programmers, game designers, texture artists, 3D modelers, animators, and more to share their creations with the entire Unity developer community. Users can sell3 3D models, editor extensions, audio files, programmatic tools, animated sprites and tons of other types of content.
For example, at Happy Code Club we use Bolt, a premium visual scripting plugin made for Unity created by Ludiq. It's a great way for beginners to learn or those with significant experience in other visual languages such as Scratch or ALICE.
How does Happy Code use Unity?
As part of our effort to consistently offer new and innovative curricula, I've developed a series of classes that use the Unity engine to learn Computer Science, game development, and game programming. This series includes:
- Unity Unwrapped - the entry class which uses Bolt to ease students into the engine and accompanying concepts
- Unity Unleashed - solidify coding skills while learning how to develop games for mobile platforms, building 2 simple games for iOS and Android from "concept" all the way to "release"
Want to learn more about what is covered in these courses? Click here:
What have Happy Code students created with Unity?
Our students have created a great deal of amazing projects, below are screenshots of only a few of them:
What have game developers in general created with Unity?
Unity Technologies keeps an excellent up-to-date showcase here, but to name a few big ones:
- Monument Valley
- Thomas Was Alone
- Castle Story
- Crossy Road
- Ori and the Blind Forest
- Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft
- Pokémon Go
- Enter the Gungeon
- Kerbal Space Program
I'm sold, Unity is great! What now?
Install it! Checkout the minimum system requirements to ensure your laptop or desktop can handle running the engine before you jump in. There are excellent tutorials created by Unity Technologies to get going once you have installed the engine. Consider registering for one of our classes if you'd like to supplement your learning with material taught by experienced Unity developers.
3. Unity Technologies does take 30% of Asset store sales, leaving content creators with the lion's share of 70%