Unity is huge. And that’s why many questions arise with its size, mostly from beginners, who are worried about everything. It’s great engine suitable for the majority of indie developer needs, for small to huge companies.
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What Unity Really Is
These questions mainly come from fear of using the wrong tool, or of spending years on a project in wrong engine. Which is very understandable, and if you browsed Reddit for a while then you would be shocked by how many developers regret making huge project in RPG Maker or Game Maker. So what Unity really is?
Is It A Framework, API Or An IDE?
No, Unity is not framework and not IDE – its a game engine. Difference between engines and frameworks is that frameworks are huge libraries that can be loaded into your applications.
There are indeed frameworks that focus on game development like Java’s LibGDX – however engines are much more developed and provide way more functions and tools, that are supposed to make the game creation process much faster, easier and more bearable or even entertaining.
API are just predefined properties and methods of a framework or library. Difference between engines and IDEs is that engines are focused entirely on game development while IDEs focus entirely on programming.
Engines also have way more tools and functions, and they can coexist with IDEs and other code editors very well. The main similarities of engine and IDE is that they both have a compiler and can edit files with code.
Is It Good?
As of 2019 Unity is considered as best or second best engine by the masses. Even if it wasn’t #1 but #2 instead – would you lose anything working in it? There are many reasons to love this engine, like:
- C# support, which is probably most loved language due to its easy and comfortable syntax.
- Ton of free tutorials on internet.
- Easy to learn API.
- Free till you make money on games.
- Easy usage thanks to objects and components.
For now, even if someone truly hates Unity, he can’t say its a bad engine because there’s not much serious competition around.
Is It Completely Free?
Unity isn’t completely free. If you want a 100$ free 2D & 3D game engine then check out Godot. But it’s nowhere as developed or as huge as Unity is so have that in mind – it’s terrible for beginners because whenever we encounter a problem – we won’t find any solution in internet. So how free Unity really is?
Anybody can buy Unity Pro regardless of his or her yearly income. The licensing restrictions only state that any company or incorporated entity (note: does not include individuals) whose business income (turnover) is more than US$100K per year must use Unity Pro and cannot use the Unity Free.
So as long as you don’t earn more than $100000 yearly which is about $8000 monthly in total (from your games and products that were made in Unity), you don’t have to pay and can use free license/version.
If you however earn over $100000 yearly from products made in Unity then you have to buy Unity Pro, which costs $125 monthly. So Unity really seems like free unless you plan to make ton of money.
But will you? A lot of people switch to Godot hoping they will never have to pay any fees, but they don’t make any money at all and this factor loses its importance.
Is It Open Source?
Jokes aside, Unity will never be open source because they want to “stay in the business tomorrow” as they openly stated:
If you want open source engine then try Godot. Unreal’s source can be edited, but it’s not open source, as in it can’t be distributed by anyone except them.
Is It C++ Or C#, What It Supports?
Unity was made in C++, however, its users code in C#. It was probably a smart marketing tactic because C# is more liked than C++ by far. And its also now one of main reasons why gamedevs love this engine so much.
Is It Better Than Unreal Engine, Godot, RPG Maker, Game Maker & Cry Engine?
All of these engines are mainstream as in they became popular and gathered huge user-base. And they all have one good thing or two about them. However, they are nowhere near #1.
Unity is much closer to the winner position. Only serious competitor to Unity as of now is Unreal Engine but the majority of gamedevs still prefer Unity.
Is It Hard To Learn Or Easy & Good For Beginners?
Yes. It’s one of best engines for beginners. But it’s not limited anyhow. Usually the more limited an engine is, for example RPG Maker or GameMaker (which can’t do 3D or multiplayer properly), the easier it is to learn.
Working in it is really similar to working in Game Maker, which is as easy as possible. Just like in GM you have objects and “code blocks”, here you have objects and components.
In the former you create an object in the room and assign code blocks to it. In the latter you create an object in the scene and assign components to it.
And UI is also similar. Two more reasons why Unity is perfect for beginners is because it’s “kind of” free, and there’s ton of tutorials, advice, solutions and assets for it available in internet. That’s why its best engine for beginners or one of best.
Is It Cross Platform?
Unity isn’t cross-platform in Java sense as in you can’t compile game once, and send that executable to every platform and it will magically work.
However Unity is in fact cross platform, as it supports ton of platforms such as Windows, Mac, OS, Android, PS & XBox – the difference is that you have to compile the game few times, once for every targeted platforms.
It’s not really an issue. Java’s “compile once, run anywhere” is very effective marketing slogan but it’s not worth the struggle with this language. It’s much better to have a bearable language like C# and just compile the game few times. Which makes Unity perfect.
Is It Multi-Threaded?
Yes, it is multi-threaded. It can be also single-threaded, depending on your code. By default one thread runs. If you want to make it multi-threaded it can be done via C# Job System.
Summarizing Unity Basics
Unity is great engine for 2D and 3D games, beginners and professionals. Here’s what you learned in this post:
- Unity is 2D, 3D cross-platform video game engine that supports export to all major platforms.
- Unity is most popular engine and it’s not changing anytime soon.
- Unity is not open source.
- Unity is completely free to use till you start making certain amount of money on it.
- Difference between frameworks, libraries and engines is that game engines are more packed and devoted.
- Unity is multi-threaded.
- Unity was made in combination of C++ and C#. Users can code games in C#, which is well thought, easy language with lovable syntax.
- Unity is considered the best engine or second best by the majority.
- The best thing about Unity is how easy it is and how many tutorials are there already made by its huge community.
The truth is, if you want to make a game in 2019 and compete with other game designers for money or recognition, then you have to use game engine. And Unity is one of best choices, if not top #1, for your game.