Making a video game is no simple task. Every day, game developers all over the world are working on brand new games to present to audiences far and wide. Video games are becoming more and more incredible over time, as people learn new ways to make characters look and sound more realistic, and bring fantastic stories to life. Whether you're looking to make your characters have skin with textures so lifelike that you're convinced that you can touch them through your screen, or you're looking to create more of a game with a 2D vintage feel that runs more smoothly than a lot of older games, Unity has you covered. Unity as a program gives you the platform to create your games as well as the knowledge and training to help improve upon what you've already brought to the table. If game creation has ever crossed your mind, starting with this software would be a great choice.
A platform for digital creators of all levels
Unity is an engine where game developers, business owners, cinematographers, and animators can design and create amazing projects.
Make video games for mobile devices and PCs, AR and VR games, short films and television shows, all from the Unity hub. Start by heading over to Unity's website, where you'll decide which of the three versions of the software you'd like to download.
The Personal level is the free option, and is more geared toward beginners. In order to download this version, you have to agree that any product created with Unity will not earn more than $100,000.00 in annual gross revenue. The other two options are Plus and Pro, which are paid versions. The revenue earned for Plus has a $200K cap, and gives you more functions, and there is no revenue limit for Pro. For most users, you'll start with Personal.
After downloading the hub meant for installing Unity, the first thing that you're prompted to do is activate a license. The license is essentially asking permission to Unity to be able to use their product to create something of your own. Save the license key that the hub creates for your records, and then create a Unity account to also create a Unity ID. Then, link the downloaded license with your account and then tell the hub what you plan to use the software for, or which version that you downloaded. Once you're all good and licensed, pick the newest version of Unity software that is available. Unity informs you that the Personal version is a great place to start and includes everything that comes with the core game engine, and any updates or beta versions that will come in the future. Then, the installation will finally begin.
Unity is a pretty large download and took around twenty minutes to finish. While it was downloading, we took some time to check out the Learn tab, which contained a bunch of information about how to use Unity. You can choose to download files with informational packets, tutorials in the form of fun games, and downloads of things to use in your project like special effects packs.
When you've opened the actual Unity software, you'll first choose what kind of project you'd like to create. Your starting point will be a template for projects in 2D, 3D, or one that uses HD Render Pipeline for more advanced graphics. The Unity interface is a pretty simple one, with the project bar at the bottom where you can see all of the scenes you have, and the assets and packages that you have loaded. The tabs at the top right let you sign into your account, access the cloud, switch between layers, change the layout from default and allow you to split the grid. On the top left you have the bar with the navigation buttons consisting of the hand tool, the move tool and others like those. Above that, drop down menus for the GameObject and let you really see all of the options available to you, like adding effects and adjusting the settings for lighting, audio and video. Import new assets in the asset tab, and add mesh filters in the components tab.
Where can you run this program?
Unity is a cross-platform engine and is available for Windows and Mac OS. Projects created with Unity can be accessed on Android, iOS, and Windows mobile devices, Linux, many consoles including Playstation 4 and Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Oculus Rift and Steam VR headsets, and more.
Is there a better alternative?
This depends on what you’re looking for. There is a ton of game development software out there, and each has its own strengths. We would suggest thinking about what you're looking to create and then go from there. Our next favorite engine would be Unreal. Projects created with Unreal tend to be a little more advanced in the graphics department and it is the home of a lot of next-generation games. With that said, Unreal is a little more pricey.
Unity is packed with features that both beginners and more advanced users will utilize. Options are limitless when it comes to what you want to create, and it's nice to have the flexibility to choose what version of the software that you want to start with and have the option to upgrade later.
Should you download it?
When it comes to game development, we definitely recommend downloading Unity. Just the fact that it's cross-platform takes cuts back on a ton of the work by not having to make a lot of changes when adapting your work for different platforms. Unity is extremely beginner-friendly and the Asset store has a large catalog to pick and choose from. While some of the components are a bit outdated, this might work to the advantage of users that would just like to stick with what they know and don't necessarily feel the need to integrate the newest technologies upon release.