Unity (game engine)
|Stable release||4.5 / May 2014|
|Written in||C++ and C#|
|Type||Game creation system|
Unity is a cross-platform game creation system developed by Unity Technologies, including a game engine and integrated development environment (IDE). It is used to develop video games for web sites, desktop platforms, consoles, and mobile devices. First announced only for Mac OS, at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 2005, it has since been extended to target more than fifteen platforms. It is now the default software development kit (SDK) for the Nintendo Wii U.
Unity is notable for its ability to target games to multiple platforms. Within a project, developers have control over delivery to mobile devices, web browsers, desktops, and consoles. Supported platforms include BlackBerry 10, Windows Phone 8, Windows, OS X, Linux (mainly Ubuntu), Android, iOS, Unity Web Player (including Facebook), Adobe Flash, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii U, and Wii. It includes an asset server and Nvidia's PhysX physics engine.
Unity Web Player is a browser plugin that is supported in Windows and OS X only.
Unity is the default software development kit (SDK) for Nintendo's Wii U video game console platform, with a free copy included by Nintendo with each Wii U developer license. Unity Technologies calls this third party provisioning of a free SDK, an "industry first".
Unity Pro is available for a fee, and Unity Free has no fee for noncommercial and low-end use.
With an emphasis on portability, the graphics engine targets the following APIs: Direct3D on Windows and Xbox 360; OpenGL on Mac, Windows, and Linux; OpenGL ES on Android and iOS; and proprietary APIs on video game consoles. Unity allows specification of texture compression and resolution settings for each platform the game supports, and provides support for bump mapping, reflection mapping, parallax mapping, screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO), dynamic shadows using shadow maps, render-to-texture and full-screen post-processing effects. Unity's graphics engine's platform diversity can provide a shader with multiple variants and a declarative fallback specification, allowing Unity to detect the best variant for the current video hardware; and if none are compatible, fall back to an alternative shader that may sacrifice features for performance.
VentureBeat said, "Few companies have contributed as much to the flowing of independently produced games as Unity Technologies." A May 2012 survey by Game Developer magazine indicated Unity as its top game engine for mobile platforms.
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