Unity engine goes *FREE*


Indie developers rejoice, as Unity (the popular multi-platform gaming solution) has abolished their independent license version of the engine and are making it available for free! It looks like the recent $5 million injection of investment has been an influential factor behind this decision, and it's likely to push the popularity of Unity as a game development and publishing tool way beyond many of its competitors.

The professional license is still being retained and you can purchase that for $1500 (US). The indie version (and therefore the new free edition) isn't very limiting in comparison however, with some shadow, post processing and certain shader effects excluded, and you will have to put up with a Unity logo intro screen on your exported projects, but that's basically it. Now there's absolutely no reason not to try out Unity 3D!

Also in Unity related news, the newly released version is 2.6 which has some incredibly useful new features...

Features new to Unity 2.6 include full integration with Visual Studio and support for external revision control solutions like Subversion and Perforce. Both these inclusions Unity says are aimed at allowing the engine to better slot into existing large-scale developers' production pipelines.

Also new to 2.6 are graphics and performance capabilities like post-processing-compatible anti-aliasing, screen space ambient occlusion, and background fully-threaded asset streaming.

Read the interview with Unity's David Helgason at Gamasutra regarding the news at the following link...


souri's picture

Existing paid indie users get the following upgrade offers:
We are giving a 400$ discount on a Unity Pro upgrade, or a $250 discount on the iPhone Basic - so you can add iPhone games to your roster for $150. We don't care when you bought it - we'll be happy to upgrade you :)

This offer is valid to the end of the year, so you've got some time to save up to make use of this.

Alternatively, if you've purchased Unity Indie in the last 60 days, you can also get a full refund. In this case you'll get an email no matter if you asked not to be contacted (if you're really annoyed by getting an email containing money, you have my apologies Smile). If you choose the refund, you lose the upgrade rebates naturally.

Anonymous's picture

If you were looking at doing a bunch of 2D games for iPhone\IpodTouch over the next year, I wonder what middleware would come most recommended:

- Torque2D
- Unity (bending it to do 2D work)
- Waiting for the new Flash iPhone stuff to arrive
- Being manly and just doing it in XCode-Objective-C

Any thoughts?

Anonymous's picture

I think it probably depends on your experience etc.
Developing flash is(will be) free if you use the various free flash tools out there, Flex SDK, FlashDevelop etc. My understanding that the tools required to export flash to iPhone will be free too?
Doing it in objective C is free i guess. (I've not actually looked into it but i assume there a free compilers and IDE's)
Unity is free but requires a license for iPhone (US$400). At least with Unity you can develop your game for free and just buy the iphone license when you get to a point that you need to run it on the iPhone i guess.
Torque2D for iPhone (from my understanding of the website) requires you to have the Torque2D commercial w/ source license (US$1250) plus the Torque2D iPhone license (U?S$750), so it's probably best to steer clear of unless you really like the engine and can afford those costs. You can get the indie version of the T2D engine to play around and see if you like it for US$100 (or US$250 w/ source).

I'm sure Unity would be able to do decent 2D, they just might not have native support for some common 2d things like scrollmaps etc.

When making your decision you should also look at what other platforms you want to release on, T2D supports 360, unity supports Wii, etc. If you use objective C you should be able to write most of your code in C++ (except the OS layer) and then port that to other platforms later on.

Anonymous's picture

Thanks, great information.

Conor's picture

Torque for iPhone doesn't require the full commercial license, only the source code version of Torque 2D (sometimes called the pro version) which is US$250

Anonymous's picture

I took pro version to mean the commercial license, thanks for the clear up. Much more attractive option then.

Anonymous's picture

Objective C IDE is XCode which comes free with Mac OS.

SDKs are all available from apples website.

Timewise, I would probably work direct in ObjectiveC having done engine programming for a living now, for the average person it'd potentially (most likely) take you longer than doing it in unity.

benbritten's picture

I have been using unity for about 18 months now, and it is quite simple to do 2d stuff in it. (here is an example: http://escafactory.com/mole/)

We were able to build this game in record time because unity is very easy to use (unlike flash, which is a general content creation tool, unity is made specifically for building games, so much of the hard work is already done for you) We use the desktop version (now free) to prototype our games anyway, so even if you decided to go with something else to build the final game, i would suggest picking up unity just for prototyping if nothing else.

As someone else pointed out unity is a 3d engine, so it doesnt have any specific 2d tools (like scrollmaps) but all that stuff is pretty easy to replicate in unity (and the unity community is very active, so many of the bits n pieces have already been made and are available from a quick google search)

Cheers and good luck with your games!

Anonymous's picture

Cocos2D is an excellent - and free - iphone Game Engine.


Extremely easy to set up, contains lots of examples and blank templates and is already used in hundreds of iPhone games.

Anonymous's picture

Rock n roll.
That's great news, GarageGames are gonna have to compete hard for the indie market now!

Bittman's picture

Heck, given the troubles we've been having trying to get the game ready for GCAP nomination with Ogre3D, this is basically a sign to change over to Unity3D, especially given an example of it's power I saw at the Sydney GameJam where Ian made a game using about 95% maya and 4% tools and 1% code.

Pity they took so long to do it though, but better late than never!

designerwatts's picture

Fantastic news.

As for the comments on whether Unity can do 2D well. Our in-development game "Mole" uses unity 3D.

Simply switch the camera to orthographic and lay your 2D assets out in a 3D space, using the 3ed dimension as the 'layers' of your 2D assets. Then create a 2D based control scheme for your player character.

Granted there are other [and probably better / more efficient] ways to make a 2D game. But using unity allows for a quick way to prototype your game.

And with that being said. Now that unity is free we now have access to a well designed engine and tool set that will allow teams to prototype quite rapidly. Even if the team doesn't use unity for their project when it goes into production. it's an excellent way to knock a game concept out to either promote the game or to seek funding depending on it's scope. Playable demos speak louder then any pitch or design document.

benbritten's picture

Chris beat me to it.. I replied up above basically saying the same thing :-)

Anonymous's picture

The demos aren't very good :(