Unity (game engine)

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Unity Technologies Logo.svg
Developer(s) Unity Technologies
Initial release 1.0 / June 8, 2005; 13 years ago (2005-06-08)
Stable release
2018.1.5 / June 15, 2018; 4 days ago (2018-06-15)
Written in C++ (Runtime)
C# (Unity API)[1]
Platform IA-32, x86-64, ARM
Available in English
Type Game engine
License Proprietary
Website unity3d.com

Unity is a cross-platform game engine developed by Unity Technologies,[2] which is primarily used to develop both three-dimensional and two-dimensional video games and simulations for computers, consoles, and mobile devices. First announced only for OS X at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in 2005, it has since been extended to target 27 platforms.[3][4] Six major versions of Unity have been released.


Unity is a multipurpose game engine that supports 2D and 3D graphics, drag-and-drop functionality and scripting using C#. Two other programming languages were supported: Boo, which was deprecated with the release of Unity 5[5] and JavaScript which started its deprecation process in August 2017 after the release of Unity 2017.1.[6]

The engine targets the following graphics APIs: Direct3D on Windows and Xbox One; OpenGL on Linux, macOS, and Windows; OpenGL ES on Android and iOS; WebGL on the web; and proprietary APIs on the video game consoles. Additionally, Unity supports the low-level APIs Metal on iOS and macOS and Vulkan on Android, Linux, and Windows, as well as Direct3D 12 on Windows and Xbox One.

Within 2D games, Unity allows importation of sprites and an advanced 2D world renderer. For 3D games, Unity allows specification of texture compression, mipmaps, and resolution settings for each platform that the game engine supports,[3] 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.[7] Unity also offers services to developers, these are: Unity Ads, Unity Analytics, Unity Certification, Unity Cloud Build, Unity Everyplay, Unity IAP, Unity Multiplayer, Unity Performance Reporting and Unity Collaborate.

Unity supports the creation of custom vertex, fragment (or pixel), tesselation, compute shaders and Unity's own surface shaders using Cg, a modified version of Microsoft's High-Level Shading Language.

Supported platforms[edit]

Unity supports building to 27 different platforms. The platforms are listed in the following: iOS, Android, Tizen, Windows, Universal Windows Platform, Mac, Linux, WebGL, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Wii U, 3DS, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, Steam VR, PlayStation VR, Gear VR, Windows Mixed Reality, Daydream, Android TV, Samsung Smart TV, tvOS, Nintendo Switch, Fire OS, Facebook Gameroom, Apple ARKit, Google ARCore, and Vuforia.

Unity formerly supported seven other platforms including its own Unity Web Player. Unity Web Player was a browser plugin that was supported in Windows and OS X only,[8] which has been deprecated in favor of WebGL.[9]

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 bundling of a third-party SDK an "industry first".[10][11]


Unity comes with four license options.[12] Here is the list of all available licenses and their differences:

License Name All Engine Features and Platforms Splash Screen Cloud Build Queue Multiplayer Revenue Capacity Performance Reporting Premium Support Access to Source Code Price
Personal Yes Made With Unity and optional Custom Animation Standard 20 CCUs $100,000 No No No Free
Plus Yes Custom Animation and/or Made with Unity Priority 50 CCUs $200,000 Yes No No $35 Monthly
Pro Yes Custom Animation and/or Made with Unity Concurrent Builds 200 CCUs Unlimited Yes Yes No $125 Monthly
Enterprise Yes Custom Animation and/or Made with Unity Dedicated Build Agents Custom Multiplayer Unlimited Yes Yes Yes Negotiated Pricing


In 2012, VentureBeat said, "Few companies have contributed as much to the flowing of independently produced games as Unity Technologies. ... More than 1.3 million developers are using its tools to create gee-whiz graphics in their iOS, Android, console, PC, and web-based games. ... Unity wants to be the engine for multi-platform games, period."[10]

For the Apple Design Awards at the 2006 WWDC trade show, Apple, Inc. named Unity as the runner-up for its Best Use of Mac OS X Graphics category, a year after Unity's launch at the same trade show.[13] Unity Technologies says this is the first time a game design tool has ever been nominated for this award.[14] A May 2012 survey by Game Developer magazine indicated Unity as its top game engine for mobile platforms.[15] In July 2014, Unity won the "Best Engine" award at the UK's annual Develop Industry Excellence Awards.[16]

Unity 5 was met with similar praise, with The Verge stating that "Unity started with the goal of making game development universally accessible.... Unity 5 is a long-awaited step towards that future."[17]

Following the release of Unity 5, Unity Technologies drew some criticism for the high volume of quickly produced games published on the Steam distribution platform by inexperienced developers.[18] CEO John Riccitiello said in an interview that he believes this to be a side-effect of Unity's success in democratizing game development: "If I had my way, I'd like to see 50 million people using Unity – although I don't think we're going to get there any time soon. I'd like to see high school and college kids using it, people outside the core industry. I think it's sad that most people are consumers of technology and not creators. The world's a better place when people know how to create, not just consume, and that's what we're trying to promote."[19]

In December 2016, Unity Technologies announced that they will change the versioning numbering system for Unity from sequence-based identifiers to year of release to align the versioning with their more frequent release cadence.[20]


On December 16, 2013, Unity Technologies Japan revealed new screenshots for an official mascot character named Unity-chan (ユニティちゃん, Yuniti-chan), real name Kohaku Ōtori (大鳥 こはく, Ōtori Kohaku) (voiced by Asuka Kakumoto), with exhibit of the character in Comic Market 85 event in the Tokyo Big Sight between December 29 to the 31st, where themed goods would be distributed and her voice actress would be present at the event. The character's associated game data were to be released in spring 2014.[21][22][23] The character was designed by Unity Technologies Japan designer "ntny" as an open-source heroine character.[24] The company allows the use of Unity-chan and related characters in secondary projects under certain licenses.[25] For example, Unity-chan appears as a playable character in Runbow.[26] The popularity of the character also led to her appearance in VOCALOID adaptions, including her own sound library for VOCALOID4 and a special adaption of VOCALOID designed to work with the Unity Engine 5.0 version called Unity with VOCALOID.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Is Unity Engine written in Mono/C#? or C++". Archived from the original on July 9, 2014. 
  2. ^ Riccitiello, John (October 23, 2014). "John Riccitiello sets out to identify the engine of growth for Unity Technologies (interview)". VentureBeat (Interview). Interviewed by Dean Takahashi. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b "Unity - Multiplatform". Retrieved August 4, 2015. 
  4. ^ Brodkin, Jon (June 3, 2013). "How Unity3D Became a Game-Development Beast". Dice Insights. Retrieved August 8, 2017. 
  5. ^ "What's new in Unity 5.0". Unity Technologies. Retrieved September 18, 2017. 
  6. ^ Fine, Richard (August 11, 2017). "UnityScript's long ride off into the sunset". Unity Technologies Blog. Retrieved September 18, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Using DirectX11 in Unity 4". Unity Technologies. Archived from the original on March 12, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Unity Web Player". 
  9. ^ "Unity Web Player Roadmap". Unity Technologies Blog. 
  10. ^ a b Helgason, David (November 2, 2012). "Game developers, start your Unity 3D engines". GamesBeat (Interview). Interviewed by Dean Takahashi. VentureBeat. Retrieved July 13, 2014. 
  11. ^ McElroy, Griffin (August 20, 2013). "Unity for Wii U opens up GamePad hardware and more to developers". Polygon. Retrieved August 4, 2014. 
  12. ^ "New Unity products and prices launching soon". blogs.unity3d.com. Unity. May 31, 2016. Retrieved September 26, 2016. 
  13. ^ Smykill, Jeff (August 9, 2006). "Apple Design Award winners announced". ArsTechnica. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Unity Technologies Celebrates Five Years of Continual Leadership and Innovation in Making Cutting Edge Game Technology" (Press release). San Francisco, CA: Gamasutra. June 7, 2010. Retrieved January 18, 2015. 
  15. ^ "Mobile game developer survey leans heavily toward iOS, Unity". Gamasutra. May 24, 2012. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Winners". Develop Online. Retrieved February 8, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Unity officially releases its new game engine: Unity 5". The Verge. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Unity - does indie gaming's biggest engine have an image problem?". The Guardian. Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  19. ^ "The chaos of democracy". Develop Online. Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  20. ^ Batchelor, James. "Unity dropping major updates in favour of date-based model". GamesIndustry.biz. Retrieved 18 March 2017. 
  21. ^ "ユニティ・テクノロジーズ・ジャパン、開発者向けに無償利用可能なキャラクター『ユニティちゃん』を発表 コミックマーケット85にも出展、3Dモデルデータなどを来春提供予定". 
  22. ^ ""Unity"開発者向けに無償利用可能なキャラクター"ユニティちゃん"が来春デビュー!". 
  23. ^ "Meet Unity-chan, the Unity Engine's New Mascot in Japan". 
  24. ^ "Unity Japan Introduces Their Mascot, Unity-Chan, And How She Was Made". 
  26. ^ "Exclusive: Check Out Runbow's Complete Cast of Colourful Crossover Characters". Nintendo Life. Retrieved November 27, 2015. 

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