While Microsoft’s Xbox One reveal soaked up the headlines this week, another announcement from a games technology company could mean an awful lot more to Scotland’s game development community (and it is a community).
Unity is the development platform of choice for a growing number of studios, as it allows a game to be developed once and then taken to a variety of devices and platforms, with a minimum of of redevelopment.
On Tuesday, the company announced that the mobile version of Unity would now be entirely free for smaller companies (those making less than $100,000 per year).
In a post on the company’s website, Unity CEO David Helgason said:
Today, we’re taking another step on this long road: as of right now, independent Unity developers will be able to deploy their games to Android and iOS platforms completely free of charge. Update Unity and you will find Android and iOS build options (previously basic add-ons) ready and waiting for you to use.
There are no strings attached, no royalties and no license fees. This is just an extension of Unity Free which we launched in 2009. Individual developers and startup studios can simply download Unity and get going on mobile game development. As before, companies and other “incorporated entities” (you know who you are) with a turnover in excess of $100,000 in their previous fiscal year are required to use our paid version. That way, we can keep the lights on and continue to make Unity better for everyone.
(You can make as much money from your games as you like – this limitation is about large companies not using our free products, not about sharing your future revenues.)
And we’re not stopping there. In the coming months, we will make Blackberry 10 and Windows Phone 8 deployment available to everyone all over the planet on those exact same terms. Completely free of charge.
I can’t wait to see what you make.
We spoke to three of Scotland’s most switched-on developers about what this free version will mean to them.
Brian Hackett, the founder and CEO of Claymore Games, told us:
With it now being free, it actually makes it a contender (vs. UDK) for that 3D game we’ve been wanting to make but haven’t got around to yet.
Daniel Hinkles, MD of Serious Parody, said:
When we decided what tech to build Serious Parody on, we looked around and Unity just seemed like a no brainer. It’s a smart company working on an awesome product, we’ve never looked back and they have been great to work with. If this change makes it easier for the ‘little guy’, it’s a win for the industry.
Malath Abbas, Quartic Lllama’s Managing Director, agrees:
For us at Quartic Llama Unity game engine has been an indispensable tool in helping us quickly prototype and develop games ever since we start the company. Its simplified our development pipeline and allowed us to concentrate on making creative, innovative, and fun games. Without Unity3D our latest game Other in partnership with National Theatre of Scotland would not have been possible.
The decision to go free for mobile is just another example of Unity being ahead of the competition. With their large user base, great online resources and the ever increasing support for platforms they are the engine of choice for small indies.
You can read the full announcement and find out how to get your hands on the new, free version of Unity, here.
To repeat Mr Helgason, we can’t wait to see what you make either.
It’s the BASIC versions of Android/iOS that are free. None of these articles are making that clear enough.
Any sizeable game will not run smoothly on mobile without the batching/occlusion that comes with the Pro versions ($1500 each). You will have to use alternative custom scripts from the asset store if they are available.