Talk:Unity (game engine)

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Talk page archive from July 2006 to June 2014

Expert request[edit]

I added an {{expert-subject}} request with the following reason:

  • It's still too close to a blurb;
  • please remove or source all uncited stuff;
  • find more third party sources, not just news media; an independent technical review would be very informative;
  • describe what the various products are, such as the Unity web player plugin, in terms relevant to the end end user, not just the game developer.

-84user (talk) 01:44, 2 February 2011 (UTC)

I think that some of the criticisms of this article are valid, such as the over-the-top feature list and too much focus on commercial licensing, but I'm not sure what value there is in describing what a web plugin does in an article about development software. Could you also elaborate on why an 'independent technical review' would be so useful? Could you maybe show me such a reference on another game engine page, like id Tech 3? Davedx (talk) 19:30, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Customers, and their products[edit]

Wikipedia articles for comparable technologies like id Tech 4 and Unreal Engine 3 list the game studios that use those products, and the games they've published which contain their technology. This article lists neither. Both for the simple assertion that Unity is notable, and to illustrate to the user what it has been used for, examples of both really are vital. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 18:49, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

List of games & studios using Unity could be listed, but you also have to keep in mind that Unity is very different from idtech4 or UE3 in this area (those cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per game to license; whereas Unity is much much cheaper). In other words, Unity is more like "a tool". Does a page for Photoshop contain a list of notable users or works done with it? 78.62.141.189 (talk) 20:05, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
All articles in Wikipedia, without exception, must show that their subject is notable. The Photoshop article achieves this with plenty of coverage from reliable sources. This article doesn't; it's got a few scraps of coverage, but mostly it uses unreliable sources like forum posts and the maker's own website. It was nominated for deletion before - the nomination was withdrawn with people claiming they were going to improve the referencing, but it's still very poor, and in its current form I doubt it would survive another deletion nomination. What we need to do is to both find more and better coverage in reliable news sources, and in particular we need to find games and game makers who use it, and (again with reliable references) list those in the article. -- Finlay McWalterTalk 20:48, 28 August 2011 (UTC)
Hi there, the games company I work for has been using Unity since v1. I don't think a list of companies using the technology are that relevant though, especially in the case of a tech that's used by lots of indies who may never see a single title published. Sometimes I really despair of Wikipedia's "noteworthiness" criteria. 87.208.217.136 (talk) 18:59, 18 March 2012 (UTC)
OK, to stop the article being nuked I spent 10 minutes Googling to find some games that were made using Unity. There is also a massive list on Unity's own website but I do agree that there are already too many references to UT as a source, so I've avoided using that even though it completely validates the "noteworthiness" of the engine by demonstrating how many commercially viable companies are using it. Davedx (talk) 19:50, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

I have since moved this list to List of Unity Engine games so that it matches other game engines like List of Unreal Engine games on Wikipedia because I felt that Unity game engine has become popular enough now. BlitzGreg (talk) 12:21, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Major cleanup July 2014[edit]

Hi guys. I am not an expert in Unity but the article was so egregious that I was forced to clean it up mostly via major deletions of WP:TRIVIA, WP:FANCRUFT, and various WP:NOT violations to the point where it was like a mirror of Unity's web sites, license agreements, and manuals. Then I saw this Talk page which had plead for generally such changes. Many of the community's past attempts to compensate rather than delete, looked like a ping pong match of complementary bad habits, one attempting to compensate for the other, many of which were well meaning but improperly conceived and delivered. Or else possibly a battle between volunteers and corporate subterfuge. I don't know. The creation of the game list was necessary; good job. So I can appreciate the struggle but this article is now cut down to a proper Wikipedia article, as the basis for a good one.

The method of establishing notability, expert viewpoints, and hopefully end-user relevancy, is supposed to primarily be achieved through a Reception section. The references harvested therein can be reused for wider synthesis into describing why the subject is notable. In this case, it can show why the subject is necessary to its target audience, why it is interesting (even if only indirectly usable) to a wide audience, and why it benefits the world as a whole. The above Talk page comments have been retained because they are relevant as such, on an ongoing basis.

So I kept the information which states not just what the thing does but why it's unique amongst comparable things. This yields a focus upon portability of course, so we're showing the generic things that everyone does but that Unity does in a particularly portable and adaptable way. And of course we've identified what it is and isn't: it is a game creation studio, not just a game engine; it's not an operating system or a banana. So that's a generic foundation for the subject's core identity, which can be expanded upon. If there's a general feature that everyone else does but that Unity does better, like if it makes the most realistic water or something, then a WP:RS can be cited in saying so.

I admire the enthusiasm around this article. Good job, people.

  • Find WP:RS, pronto. We are currently at three minimally (possibly situationally) reliable secondary sources (not Unity itself), and we're absolutely drowning in primary sources (Unity itself). So if this article was to be recreated from scratch and put through AfC right now, it'd barely squeak by. I hope I hadn't cut some good RSes out amongst all the promotional and "manual" style junk.
  • Mention the few highest selling and most critically acclaimed games based on Unity. Find interviews with those developers; google "game name unity engine" to see if the developer talks about Unity.
  • I didn't mean to blunt the accuracy when I wrote "First announced only for Mac OS, at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 2005, it was later extended to other platforms." Maybe it's supposed to say something like "First announced at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in 2005 only as a game engine for Mac OS, it was later expanded to be a cross-platform game creation studio." and I'll defer to someone with specific knowledge (read the sources).
  • We can use screenshots of the product itself. We can use screenshots of the target products if they show the significance of Unity in having made them, perhaps a collage of the same game on various platforms, to show that the game was highly portable and that it retains its high quality across those platforms. Maybe we can have a screenshot of a game which indicates the prevalence of a particularly notable feature which is spoken of in a review. Ice cream van#Gallery has a good gallery example.
  • As someone else had suggested, look at Unreal Engine as an example for how it's done. That article is absolutely a model for this one. I already upgraded and crosspollenated this article's excellent Wikiproject metadata into Unreal Engine and the unfortunately inferior id Tech and id Tech 5.
  • I spoke with a former Unity software engineer and got some expansion ideas on why Unity is notable amongst competition:
    • Its pricing tiers are fairly unique amongst the industry. Find RS reception of that, not an advertisement.
    • It is uniquely good at rapid prototyping, even at AAA places with their own engines, that don't actually deliver Unity
    • It has a good physically based shading system now, also great for shader prototyping
    • It's used in place of fx composer a lot by graphics engineers now
Smuckola (Email) (Talk) 22:27, 13 July 2014 (UTC)

Version history[edit]

In the spirit of the above comments about the Unreal Engine article being a 'model' for this one, I've written a rough history of major events in Unity's release history. I've done my best to include significant features and leave out cruft, and I've included some things like changes to the business model as well.

Full disclosure: I work for Unity Technologies right now. I don't think what I've written presents a conflict of interest because I've tried to stick to straight facts about what was released and when, rather than editorializing. Please let me know if there's any problems with what I've written.

Also, it suffers from heavy use of primary sources. I can probably find secondary sources for the more recent history, but the older stuff is difficult. Anyone who wants to help with replacing what I've cited with more reliable sources is welcome (though I'd dispute the labelling of UT as 'unreliable', but... I know what the policy means :) ) Ubermammal (talk) 16:55, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Oh, I did remove one comment about the UI system being 'the most heavily criticized aspect' of Unity, or something like that. As far as I know it's untrue, and the comment was unsourced - I think it was just one slightly frustrated user exaggerating a bit. The lack of a UI system was certainly criticized but I don't think more so than the rest of the engine to the point of notability. Ubermammal (talk) 16:58, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

@Ubermammal: Hi there. I am really sorry if I was vague about using the Unreal article as an example, and I mean absolutely NO disrespect in reverting it as the next step toward improving it together. I'm here to work with you on this and maybe do some of it for you. I am here to help expand articles as well as people's understanding of the nature of encyclopedic works. We need the creativity and drive and headspace and strategic clues from people on the inside, though sanitized of WP:COI, and I do that a lot. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough (nope I went back and see that I absolutely was), and I suppose my comments were aimed at a hopefully advanced user who knew a lot more about Unity than I did at the time. This article already has all the basics needed to establish the subject's identity in the world so that nobody can confuse it with any other entity, and it doesn't need any more of that. In other words, the article is already pretty good on the basics and mostly needs the advanced stuff. It can be really hard to reshape someone's line of thinking around this level of encyclopedic authorship. I'm sorry that all that effort was a waste so far, and I certainly hope you got paid for it (not that that's any of my business).
I was going after big ideas. WP:N WP:V WP:RS First off, I painstakingly noted how I had already spent hours removing a ton of corporate information which was exactly like what you just added. What I meant about Unreal being an example is that it is not a timeline, it's not a list, it's not a copy of anything that you'd find on a corporate web site, and it's not the primary source saying it. WP:IINFO WP:NOTDIR WP:FANCRUFT WP:NOTWEBHOST It's not stuff that's excessively detailed and of interest only to a very narrow audience, such as Unity's marketing department creating filler, because what other application could that information possibly yield? It's showing not the history as it surrounds the subject, but how the subject has changed history. We're looking for an ultimate example of WP:N. It illustrates and expands upon why the subject is notable; this is the reason that it influenced the world around it, such that the world had no choice but to adapt to it and (most relevant to us) to write about it.
Speaking of which, another concept that seems normal to a person but isn't on an encyclopedia, is full disclosure. Full disclosure in an encyclopedia is called "conflict of interest" and it means that you not only take the great step that you did here by identifying it on this article, but that you also label your account's User page, and almost certainly that you submit your proposed changes for someone else's review and submission instead of making them to the encyclopedia. I mean, think about it. You wrote only about your employer, citing only your employer, in an article that just had all that deleted with a personal plea against it, while acknowledging that the article has an explicit warning banner against doing so. That's how people tend to gravitate; I understand. :) Please see WP:COI.
What the article needs going forward in my opinion, as seen with Unreal (though tragically not with most of idTech) is its impact, reception, and legacy. It needs secondarily and tertiarily sourced text, clearly connecting the dots in a chain of notability, about the intricate reasons for things like these: (though in prose and not crammed into a bulleted list like this)  ;)
  • See the lists I wrote above, in 2014
  • retrospectives, director's commentaries, case studies, indepth reviews
  • why Unity was conceived and designed uniquely the way it was, maybe even why it had to be for Mac OS, or something Apple is notable for
  • how Unity has changed the gaming industry forever (I touched upon that a bit)
  • how it has yielded products that could only be made with Unity or maybe something exactly like Unity
  • faster time to market with Unity
  • how someone deliberately prototyped using Unity before switching to some other production pipeline
  • how much money and unit sales have been made by the top most notable products that use Unity
  • how and why people have moved from something else to Unity or moved away and regretted it, etc.
This would refer to the Unity-based products which became notable in themselves, for their impact upon the world; thus, notability begets notability. That's the kind of position a leading development platform should portray, and which Unity possesses. Reception could include industry perceptions or anticipation of the progress of its initial development, and quotes upon launch. We need screenshots and possibly short video clips that illustrate the notability as to a feature of Unity, or identifying a unique product made using Unity. For example, I've recently been adding texts to Nintendo 64, Conker's Bad Fur Day, 64DD, Mario Artist, and so forth, where the only primary source amongst secondary sources is a major historical retrospective or game development "postmortem" by the developers. Like a "director's commentary" track from a DVD or Blu-ray; and still, I'll end up with only a few choice quotes or a paragraph of core facts from an hour of audio or three pages of primary source material, if it was historically indispensible to the impact of its entire genre.
Yeah it's corporate information, and yeah it could be used for promotion and I hope someone else does so. But I'm talking about stuff that sadly only the most rare and elite marketing departments would ever think up, for some reason. Especially because it's secondary and tertiary. Apple has historically done a lot of case studies like this, based completely upon a secondary source's quotes such as exactly why they could not have filmed a documentary at the peak of Mount Everest with any other product on the market but the Powerbook G3 and Final Cut Pro, with features that were first to market and that conform to some exacting natural specifications (hopefully defined by reality itself). Or why they could have picked a number of platforms to develop their product upon, but they picked this one because of this uniqueness, and it shows in the end result. To some degree, I'm talking about stuff that a marketing department specifically didn't publish, to fill in the holes because they didn't publish it. Especially about Nintendo!!!!! OMG it's insane how cruelly secretive Nintendo is about partners, but I have scoured the earth for more information about Wii U development and ended up with only one interview here with Unity's CEO speaking one sentence about Nintendo in passing, and a press release or two over at Green Hills Software. We can do this very very selectively. Unity is super elite stuff and I'm sure something like this can be done. Thank you very much and I apologize for verbosity, but that's how much I'm into it. — Smuckola (Email) (Talk) 19:39, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
Sheesh, you don't ask for much, do you? :P I guess this has been a bit of a waste of a Sunday afternoon, then (and no, I'm not paid for it, I'm an engineer not a marketing person).
I read the history to see the information you'd removed; I thought that the primary problem with it was the mixture of excessive detail (e.g. listing the different shader types available) and the somewhat unstructured nature of it - in your words, that it was "like a mirror of Unity's web sites, license agreements, and manuals", which looked and sounded to me like something that is both messy and too in-depth. So I figured that by sticking to a more strict chronological structure and keeping the technical detail to a minimum, I wouldn't run into the same problems. I see now that I didn't understand what your objections to the previous version actually were.
You're going to have to help me some more here because I still don't understand exactly what you expect from the content. I'm looking at the Unreal Engine page - in your words, "it is not a timeline, it's not a list, it's not a copy of anything that you'd find on a corporate web site" - and I'm seeing that the entire first half of the page appears to be a version history, providing a lot of information about technology used and features present or added in each version - particularly the section on Unreal Engine 3. There's more there in the way of criticisms, and notes about how the engine was used, I'll grant you, but I don't see the difference between saying "Unreal Engine 1 provided an advanced software rasterizer and a hardware-accelerated rendering path using the Glide API" and saying "Unity 1.0 included a physics engine powered by the Novodex SDK," or between saying "In March 2010, Steamworks was integrated into the software, and is offered to licensees" and "On May 21, 2013, CEO David Helgason announced that the 'basic' editions of the iPhone and Android mobile add-ons would now be available for free from Unity 4.2 onwards." You're saying the problem is notability - that UE3 is established as being notable enough that the inclusion of the Steamworks SDK is notable by association, while Unity hasn't established the same notability? Or do you just mean that it's OK for UE to have those things because it *also* has the impact/reception/legacy stuff, and it's not OK to have the latter without the former and add the former later? Ubermammal (talk) 21:49, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
Also, you reverted the note about the Develop award in 2014, in the 'Reception' section. Was that intentional, or did it just get caught in the revert? Ubermammal (talk) 22:14, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
@Ubermammal: I know, I know! :-D It gets a lot harder the farther we progress up the encyclopedic totem. But you are the higher lifeform, the superior creature, the über mammal.
Yeah I had accidentally deleted that Develop award, and I apologize for missing that in my review of that large edit. That's good stuff.
First off, I want to ascertain your motivation and objective. Are you just going for this version history list because of the fact that it's easy information to cull in bulk (low hanging fruit), or because you actually think that the information essentially and indispensibly defines the subject? I mean in the course of my Talk page comments here since last year, I've seriously written an impromptu encyclopedic "howto" primer in a nutshell on advanced building of any article. I've named a long list of low hanging fruit or "google fodder" which is essential to expanding this article awesomely. I've listed easily understandable and incredibly popular topics of "rock star" style coolness and mass appeal about video gaming; we don't want to turn half the article's bulk into lists or data points or jargon—especially an already-deleted bulleted list of obsolete data points. I don't want to miss something about harnessing your personal skills and motivations.
As an engineer and an insider, you hopefully have some particular insight as to actually why a jargon-laden technical feature is truly notable (if that's your drive), but it needs to be freed from the primordial slime of jargon and lists by converting it into secondarily cited prose. That needs to follow through the WP:N and WP:V chain, to demonstrate why it's verifiably notable or builds upon notability, and is not merely novel. Did they deploy this feature because it advances the state of the art, as is evidenced by somebody else actually harnessing it to great effect; or did they develop it because they had to do so, in a long list of other prominent or novel features, in order to compete and remain relevant in a fast moving market? Is it clearly patented in a way that competitors wished that they had it?
The prose must then be written in a way which is at least readable to a layperson, or lays the groundwork thereof. That includes the wikilinking of technical concepts, for background information and greater mind expansion. In the worst case, the reader should say "ok I'm not the target audience, but I understand why the target audience wants this" rather than "this is jargon for the elite insider, totally impenetrable and inaccessible to me, and I have absolutely no clue what it means". The Feature section presently does the latter. Indeed, I left the Features section as it is although it is made of jargon, but I compromised by trimming it significantly without risking cutting something significant that could be developed. All because I don't actually understand it, so I don't even know how to edit it! Now that's a narrow audience, like Template:Excessive detail. It may as well be a bulleted list in a manual; it probably previously was that, and I probably converted that to prose. As a Wikipedian, I've had to forgo lots of cool sounding and interesting quotes from my favorite famous people for these reasons. WP:GAMECRUFT
I would go back to my last year's comments. My friend who is a former engineer at Unity Technologies named some internal aspects that are notable amongst all other related subjects (other game engines and development platforms) and I summarized them as a list. But unlike you, he's the rock star diva developer who's above editing Wikipedia for the plebians.  ;) Can you find secondary sources for those? Instead of a bulleted list of "version X introduced jargon Y" and just indiscriminately stating its supposed existence (there's a whole warning template about doing raw lists at Template:prose or WP:NOTDIR), we need to say why Year X's addition of Feature Y yielded a 10% increase in productivity for secondary source Z who said "we used Feature Y in Notable Game A". You are THE MAN (so to speak, as the case may be), because I don't grok that jargon. You need to find and translate it to English!  :-D
I have a lot of experience with doing work that was serious to me but not to the outside world, and got deleted; but in the longer term, it sometimes served as experience that I could draw upon or hone nonetheless. A few weeks ago, I chanced upon BlitzGreg's old source from November 2014, and I launched into an hour long "rabbit hole" experiment on Google, where I yielded just two little sentences about the Apple Design Awards. I totally want to figure this out, and you're important to this article as a community-driven enthusiast and insider. — Smuckola (Email) (Talk) 23:17, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
@Smuckola: Re motivation and objective: The latter; I was aiming to include the developments - be they in technology, platform coverage, or business practices - that I think are significant to an understanding of Unity's current position based on their past behaviour. (Believe me, digging up some of that information about Unity 1.0/2.0 was decidedly NOT low-hanging fruit!). I mean, something like "made the $200 edition available for free" has been a major contributor to the market share the engine holds today, and also tells you something about the nature of the decisions that the company leaders have been willing to make in the past. Similarly, iPhone support arrived at a time when, as far as I can see, there were no other widely available 3D engines on the platform, making Unity the first to get there. I don't think I explained - or, more accurately I suppose, *sourced* an explanation - of the ramifications of these things very clearly. Ironically, that was because of my attempt to remain NPOV :)
I don't disagree with the idea of including the things on your list - as I see it the running theme is 'establishing context.' Some of them I think will be impossible to find without using primary sources (e.g. how Unity was conceived, why it is designed the way it is, etc). Others are a little difficult because of the subject matter - for example, I think it's difficult to establish 'notable' titles for Unity because there are many tends of thousands of indie titles using it and it's not clear to me how to choose from them. But the general concept of providing context makes sense.
Re jargon: Understood. I was indeed assuming an audience of (at least) game developers; if it's necessary to explain terms like "real-time dynamic shadowing" or "terrain engine" in such a way that it makes it clear why they matter, then so be it.
My original assumption was that the best course of action was to edit the page - even if the edit was flawed, lacked secondary sources, etc - and then progressively refine it with the help of others. I'm not entirely sure how to approach this now; are you asking me to build content here on this talk page until we have consensus, and only then transfer it to the article? Given that I think the information I'm putting forward is all correct and useful, this seems like a sure-fire way for readers in the meantime to miss out on useful material. Ubermammal (talk) 00:48, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

Sources[edit]

OK, in pursuit of reputable sources, here's some press clippings:

On the topic of Unity adding Windows support:

On the topic of Unity Indie becoming free:

On the topic of Unity iOS/Android Basic becoming free:

On the topic of the Unity Asset Store:

On the topic of Unity's collaboration with the Mono project:

How do these stand up as WP:RS? Ubermammal (talk) 22:24, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

Also, Unity is the most widely used engine for Oculus Rift development, which seems pretty significant, but I can't find any sources saying so (unless you count List_of_games_with_Oculus_Rift_support). What do? Ubermammal (talk) 22:33, 8 February 2015 (UTC)

@Ubermammal: Holy crap now I'm freaking out a little bit about that Oculus Rift factoid. That's exactly what I've wanted from an industry insider or expert, forever. I didn't know that at all. That's kinda up there with Unity being the default SDK for Wii U, except the topic of Oculus Rift is even more emerging, radical, and transformative.
Now comes the quest of how to prove it, or how to wordsmith the prose such that it doesn't need to be proven or disputed while still demonstrating notability. I'm pretty good at that if I am informed and compelled to make the case. However, beware of WP:NOTNEWS and WP:CRYSTALBALL.
@Smuckola:Yeah, see above re 'I can't find any sources saying so' :( It's difficult because for much of the press this is like "which brand of hammer is most popular?" The games are the sexy things that get reported on; engines less so. I can point to [Oculus's own blog] where they say "Unity has one of the most active developer communities building for the Rift", but I guess that's a primary source. Ubermammal (talk) 00:56, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
As for the rest, just from looking at the domain names, WP:VGRS likes some of those sources. The Talk page there can be solicited individually if it's important or controversial, or needs to be added to the official list of sources. A good guideline for sourcing is found in the question of "can this statement be theoretically factually disputed?"; and if a topic is already established in prose and replete with WP:RS, it can sometimes be refined with a few additional situational sources. However, that's already the position I've taken in the past with having so many primary sources in this article, so it's all about balance of the whole. Some of these would serve to balance the primary sources, if nothing else. Maybe even just back up some of the existing primary sources, with secondary sources. Be sure to use {{reply to | Smuckola}} so I'll see your replies. Thank you very much. — Smuckola (Email) (Talk) 23:49, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
@Smuckola: So, next step is to distil the notable, placable-into-context bits of info from those sources? Ubermammal (talk) 00:56, 9 February 2015 (UTC)

PhysX[edit]

"The 3.3 version included in Unity 5, which is standard among triple-a quality video games"

Written by the PR department of Unity/NVIDIA?

Da Bozzz (talk) 22:54, 12 March 2015 (UTC)