Unity 3D Indie Is Now Free

Unity 3D Indie is now free for all developers and just called Unity now.  The Unity 3D Pro license is still $1500 and worth every penny.  But this news is great for indies and moreso the pro users that want the Unity Web Player to have more penetration and installs in the market.

Companies like EA, Cartoon Network and Lego are using Unity 3D and just about every game developer I know including myself has been excited about the possibility of an engine that allows creation of hardware rendered web based games and desktop games, which are multi-platform and paths into the mobile market (iPhone/Touch) and console like Wii and XBOX in development (for additional licenses).

When Unity 3D released support for Windows as a development environment in addition to Mac it  literally blew up as predicted this year. Also, Unity 2.6 is out which is big because it finally supports third party source control such as Subversion and Perforce. Many of the barriers that were keeping it from integration into gaming pipelines are gone:  the price, the single platform and the source code integration issues.  Unity 3D has addressed all those issues.

What are you waiting for? Get your Unity3D on!

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  • protopop

    It's a brilliant move. I own Unity Indie (Unity now) and I can't think of another example where such an industry class tool set has been given away free outside of open source. Pro has more features but Unity itself is a really powerful piece of software with none of that “software-lite” feel. Other software companies, take note.

    • http://drawlabs.com/ Ryan

      Totally agree. It is great to get it out in the wild more as well. Unity is doing it right and there will be more Unity work and content consumers because of this.

  • Dennis

    Awesome news, thanks for sharing :)

    I always wanted to try it but didn't because of the extremely high price.

  • http://twitter.com/fabianv fabianv

    I did a little happy dance when I heard of this news last night

    • http://drawlabs.com drawcode

      Same here, I have been doing the happy dance since I first found Unity in 2007-8 and it has rapidly gotten more innovative on each step. They always amaze me with each iteration and this news will lead to a good place. They even made me become better multiplatform focused because I bought a Mac because of them a year or so ago. That is powerful stuff the Unity attractor.

  • http://yardenr.com/ Yarden Refaeli

    Thanks! I never used this engine, but I may use it in the near future… So those are great news!

  • John

    There's so much going on right now with 3d web. I'm just confused as to which tool i should be using.

    WebGL is coming next year, which will require no plugin installation. Will most of the development take place on this platform ? IF so, why invest time in Unity3d, Torque3d, Google O3D ? Won't those be phased out when javascript supports hardware accelerated 3d graphics ?

    As for Adobe, it still has pipeline of products to make money from. Opening vs. proprietary, we can see clear differences in. In the mean time, if Adobe suddenly takes leadership in adding 3D support for flash plugins, wouldn't it be just as successful as the newcomers like Unity, torque, google, ID, instantaction etc ?

    Shouldn't the current proliferation of Flash be worrisome to the newcomers ? I mean all it takes is some aggressive action from Adobe for 3d hardware support, and the tables would be turned.

    WebGL is still 1 year away….clock is ticking for adobe.

    • http://drawlabs.com drawcode

      I think it is all good. Actually 3d concepts in terms of the maths, scripting and interaction is very similar across the platforms. Unity, WebGL, Flash, Silverlight even are all javascript based (Unity also has C# and Boo, SL has C#) and there will probably be many libraries that are able to port easily.

      The hardware rendering is what really gets it though. Even for 2D. Whoever does that the smoothest will win developer share. But no time wasted learning new and multiplatform interactive and gamedev skills, it will only benefit most likely.

  • joshshellam

    how you get it

  • http://twitter.com/_mark _mark

    yippeeee!

  • elyon

    Do you mind if I ask a question?

    I'm a Flash developer and I want a serious 3D modeling program. Which should I choose?

    Yes, I know that Blender and Google SketchUp are both free, but I don't just want something that “works” … I want a great solution. You can buy a bike at Wal-Mart that “works”, but it just doesn't hold a candle to a bike from a bike shop. Is Blender really a great solution, or should I look into 3D Studio Max, or Maya, or … ?

    As far as Actionscript goes, moving to FlashDevelop changed my whole life … it is worlds ahead of the Flash IDE, and still much better than FlexBuilder in my opinion. I'm looking to try and figure out the same type of solution for 3D modeling, because its currently a huge pain or near impossible for me right now.

    Lastly (as a bonus question), would anyone have experience with what type of model format translates well to Flash (Away3D)?

    I'm interested in Unity 3D but I know I need to get this modeling question out of the way before I do.

    Thanks!

    • http://drawlabs.com drawcode

      >Is Blender really a great solution, or should I look into 3D Studio Max, or Maya, or … ?

      Well Maya and 3DSMax if you can swing it, but hopefully Autodesk will do something like UDK and greatly lower prices. Unless you have about 5k you are going to have to get by with Blender, Cinema4D or something like that. It is all the same when it comes down to it but some tools are better than others. I actually have Maya and use Blender alot because the tools and extending it is easier with Python. Maya scripting now also supports it but blender is just something I like/use due to previous mod experience.

      Well there really is no great easy 3d program that just makes sense like FlashDevelop compared to others. There is a market there and don't expect the bigs to change anytime soon for more usability because Autodesk owns them all. They could win big like that but they need competition to do so. Blender is not very user friendly, but it is powerful when you learn it. It is no easy ramp up like Unity3D is. MilkShape and maybe Cinema4D are bigger in low poly, game development type circles.

      From Blender you can export out to AS3 directly (http://www.rozengain.com/blog/2008/01/02/export…) or to COLLADA. That supports all flash 3d engines.

      But if you are looking for anything over 2000 polys and with hardware rendering (most machines have a DX7 capable card now why not use it?) then Unity3D, Torque3D, maybe even Director (which is the biggest Adobe fail for leaving this in 2004) etc are going to work best. Even for 2D hardware acceleration helps.

      • elyon

        Awesome! Thank you so much for your response. I've been frustrated with Blender, although it definitely got better after I understood a couple of its core ideas. I had never heard of MilkShape, but so far it promises to be really easy to use. I am converting furniture pieces into 3D for a Flash project, so setting the background image, adding vertices then faces, then being able to use the texture coordinate editor all seems like a nice solution to a get a precise model that looks the way it should.

        I'm sure these features are in Blender somewhere? SketchUp is easy to use, but I found the texturing awful to use. I think you just saved the day for my current project and I. Thank you!

        Once I'm more versed in MilkShape, Cinema4D or Blender I guess it might make sense to spend $3500 on an AutoDesk project, but I'm guessing that would make the biggest difference if I was doing film? I would imagine that the quality, filters and effects for 3DS Max or Maya might be more complete than Blender, since movies like Dreamworks are produced using the software.

        Along those lines, do you know if RenderMan is it's own software, or does it augment some of these other packages?

        • http://drawlabs.com drawcode

          Yeh just keep going, learning 3d modeling takes time… years.. before you are really good. Flash and web based 3d is typically really low poly (even in unity3d and others) so sometimes the bigger tools are unecessary or you are only using a microscopic fraction of their features. However they are still the best and even for low poly they are nice. But since most web 3d is low poly almost any tool will work and a majority of the work is getting the textures to look good on low poly mesh.

          Have fun!

          • elyon

            Can I ask you another question?

            How do I get a model into Flash (I'm using Away3D) with its textures? After gaining a lot of ground using MilkShape 3D, I ended up switching to Misfit Model 3D, which was a lot easier for me to figure out this time around.

            I have my first model ready to go. It has a low amount of triangles and it uses two PNG graphics for the texture. However, I can't get the texture to show in Flash. I can export as an .obj file and see no texture, and I can't export as an .md2 file because it says my model is not compatible. I can try and import my model into another program (like Blender) to get it into a better format, but which format works best? I really need to keep the textures.

            Thank you again! It's starting to become really fun to work with … I just need to figure out this last step to my workflow.

            I got really far today using MilkShape 3D. I ran up against a few features I couldn't use because I hadn't purchased the software, and somehow I ended up trying Misfit Model 3D again. After finding some of the same features I had enjoyed in MilkShape,

          • http://drawlabs.com drawcode

            Easiest way is probably with collada in any good exporter. You will need to map/embed paths to the textures used in the collada. Any tutorial at pv3d.org will probably say more than I can in this comment window.

            http://pv3d.org/

  • http://www.igraj.net Igre

    Thank you very much for this, you are the best site …

    Thank you ;)
    Flash Igre

  • http://www.igraj.net Igre

    Thank you very much for this, you are the best site …

    Thank you ;)
    Flash Igre

  • Gburchett

    The best modeling software and animation would be between Maya and 3d Studio Max. Maya has a bit more steep learning curve but when you know it you are good to go. 3d Max is a little easier to pickup. But to be honest when you know one the other becomes easier to pickup because you have a foundation and many tools are the same in basic function.

    Maya I think is much easier to learn modeling and much easier to model giving you better control. 3d Studio Max has character Studio which is the “best” biped driven system on the market and has been for quite some time now.

    It’s always god to know rigging via joints but CS is really nice to have.

    It all depends on what you feel comfortable with. Most of the software out is owned by Adobe, which owns Autodesk. So files are mostly compatible with other adobe software. FBX expoter is amazing bcuz you can keep your animation and your textures in the model.

    I would recommend Maya, then Max then the other software packages C4D and others if you have the money. If not then Blender.