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12. November 2013

 

I know this is a release that many people have been waiting for, the Unity version with out of the box support for 2D.

 

So, what’s in this release:

  • 2D, including tools for making sprites, scene population, physics and animation. Pro version includes automatic texture atlas generation and alpha cut outs.
  • Mecanim improvements. New keyframe based dopesheet, drive blend shapes, and perhaps most import, full scriptability of the animation system.
  • MonoDevelop 4.0.1 support.  MonoDevelop 4 is loads better, so this is nice.
  • iOS new features include Game Controller support, OpenGL ES3
  • Windows 8 support for the trial api for try before buy enabling your game
  • Support for Plastic SCM version control software
  • Pro Only feature – nav mesh can now be altered at runtime
  • A lot of smaller improvements

 

You can see the new 2D workflow in the video below:

 

You can download Unity 4.3 right here for free.

News


5. September 2013

 

So I fired up Unity today on my laptop and

 

image

 

Oh dear, this isn’t good.  After some playing around it turns out Unity doesn’t play well with Intel GPUs right now.  Thing is, I don’t have an Intel GPU, I’m running an nVidia GTX765.  Enter Optimus.

 

What’s Optimus?  It’s an Intel technology that allows your computer to pick between using the integrated chipset to save memory or the dedicated GPU for performance.  The fix is pretty simple, set Unity to run on the nVidia GPU.

 

Open the nVidia control panel.

Select Manage 3D Settings

image

 

Select the Program Settings tab and Click the Add button.

image

 

Select Unity then click Add Selected Program

image

 

In the Select the preferred graphics processor for this program dropdown, select High-Performance nVIdia

image

 

Click Apply.

 

Load Unity.  VOILA!  No more crash.

Now, if you happen to have only an Intel GPU, um… sorry.

General


22. July 2013

 

For a point release, this one’s pretty good.Unity42

 

As mentioned in the title, probably the biggest change is the addition of 3 new platforms, Windows 8 ( as in the app store ), Windows Phone 8 and Blackberry 10.  Windows Phone 8 “Pro” is available free to Unity Pro subscribers.

 

Probably the biggest new feature isn’t new at all.  A number of previously “pro” level features are now available free.  Nav mesh baking ( used for AI pathfinding ), realtime shadows and text based serialization of assets for integration with version control have all become free features.  Those are perhaps the most cited missing features from the “basic” version, so if you are on a budget, that’s great news.

 

Other big features include:

  • OpenGL ES 3.0 support
  • Perforce source control integration
  • iOS crash reporter
  • Anti-aliased RenderTextures.
  • Numerous new image effects ( Blur, Bloom, Edge Detection, etc… )
  • Stencil buffer access (pro only)
  • Shuriken particle system callback scripting interface
  • Added the Quad primitive!

 

Of course, this is just a highlight of the features added, you can check them all out here.  Or of course you can just go ahead and download it, as all Unity basic versions are now free.

News


21. June 2013

It's been a while since Unity 4 was released, but new books were just trickling in.  Now though, the floodgates have opened.

 

The following books have been added to the Unity book list:

Additionally, the following books were updated:

Professional Unity and C# (Cancelled)
Essential 3D Game Programming (Cancelled)
Unity 4.x Cookbook

 

Keep in mind, many of these books are in development.  Some are a very long way away from release.  As always, if I missed one or made an error, please let me know!

 

You can access the unity book list right here.

 


23. May 2013

Earlier this week Unity announced iOS, Android, WP8 and BB10 targeting will now be included in the base package.  There was another small change that wasn't given the same exposure.  You can now purchase Unity pro on a subscription basis.

 

So, what does it cost and what do you get? In Unity's own words:

 

Create with Unity Pro for just $75/month

Our new limited-time offer brings the power of Unity Pro to even more developers!

  • Subscribe and pay by the month for a minimum of 12 months
  • Prices start at $75/month for Unity Pro
  • New releases during your subscription included at no extra cost
  • Add any Unity Pro add-on to your plan whenever you want at just $75/month per add-on

 

It's too bad there is a 12 month minimum, as there would have been a heck of an opportunity here.  Another thing to keep in mind, you need to get pro for each supported platform, so for example if you wanted to target iOS, Android and PC/Web at pro level that would cost $225/month.  In the end I suppose it comes down to how often Unity release new versions.  By their prior release schedule, if you purchased early in 3.x's life cycle, these prices would be worse.

Right now for example, PRO + iOS + Android would cost $4,500 to buy.  Via subscription it would be 2700$ a year.  So basically, if a new version ( Unity 5 ) is released within 2 years, subscription is a good deal or break even at worse, otherwise outright purchase is your better road.  Do I expect to see Unity 5 within 2 years?  My crystal ball says yes.

 

What exactly do you get with pro over basic anyways?

I suppose that is the ultimate question, now that Basic is free, what do you get for going pro anyways?  Well the full feature matrix is available here.

The key advantages ( at least imho ) are:

  • Native code access.  Want to integrate with a 3rd party C++ library…  you can't, at least not if you aren't pro.
  • Improved graphics ( 3D Textures, Realtime Shadows, HDR, Lightmapping with GI, Render to Texture, Deferred rendering, Occlusion culling and Full Screen Post Processing effects are all pro only graphic features ).  You may or may not need them
  • Code and GPU profiler
  • Build size stripping ( on mobile, pro can create smaller EXEs )
  • Splash screen removal
  • IK rigs for Mecanim
  • LOD
  • Playing video and streaming
  • NavMesh/Pathfinding

So, if you are creating a cutting edge FPS, pro is almost a must, at least if you want post DX9 fidelity graphics.  If you are creating a puzzle game or less graphically intensive game, almost none of these features is going to be important to you, except perhaps the exe stripping.

 

Anyways, you can purchase Unity via subscription right here.


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