Unity: The foundation of all Game Engines?

Unity: The foundation of all Game Engines?

There is a generation today that barely know what Monopoly and other board games are in the hardboard versions. This generation does know the games exist, firstly because their parents often say “ooh, I remember playing monopoly” and secondly because these famous games have been digitised. But what few gamers know is that without a fairly humble engine a good number of popular games would not exist, in fact, without it, many game developers would not have a job.  The Unity Game Engine should be legendary in the gaming world but little, if anything is really said about this superb little piece of technology.

What is the Unity Game Engine?

Developed by Unity technologies way back in 2005, yes that is the dark ages in terms of gaming, the Unity engine was designed to create a level playing field (and a solid platform to build from) for game developers. Back in 2005 gaming was still barely at the crawling stage but it had come a long way from Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and a seriously long way from the likes of TV tennis with two “bats” and a “Ball”. It is hard to tell if people really knew how big and popular gaming would become and thus the Unity Engine was perhaps ahead of its game (excuse the pun) or perhaps a little premature.


First Release of Unity Engine

The first version of the Unity Engine was released in June 2005 for the Apple OS X platform. Predominantly used to create 3D and 2D advanced imaging that lead to the creation of virtual reality and augmented reality games. The Unity Engine became particularly powerful in simulation games.  It wasn’t long that the technology stepped outside the gaming arena and found its use in the corporate world especially in areas of design, construction and films. Such was the power and “simplicity” of the clever platform that it could be used by anyone as was the intention of the developers.

Beyond a desktop

In the early 2000’s technology, especially hardware, was evolving at a fast rate and it comes as no surprise that Unity had to keep up with this. As the technology improved the user experience that Unity was developed to provide equally improved. The software soon had support for Microsoft Windows and the growing number of web browsers to keep up with the industry and consumer demand. By 2007 the little known engine was a core element of game and software development. The 2007 release had over 50 new features and the initial features were vastly improved. It was now possible for multiplayer games to share functionality and create the feeling of playing in the same space. In 2010 Unity was being used in-game consoles, a growing part of gaming the gaming industry and whether you were a fan of Playstation, Nintendo, Xbox or even Ouya, the games were powered by Unity.  Devices were getting smaller and more handheld, with Nintendo Wi and Playstation Vita and the power of Unity found its place with the games for these devices.

The Mobile Revolution.

Mobile phones always had an element of gaming in them, even the humble and icon Nokia 3310 had snakes and this captivated the world. Snakes was far from impressive but it was a very signal that gaming would one day end up on mobile phones, even to the point where mobile phones were purchased for their gaming ability. By 2012 mobile platforms were appearing fast and the likes of DirectX and Adobe Flash were incorporated into the Unity Engine. Unity was available for the Android and Mac iOS and a new stage in the life of the Unity Engine had begun.

Social Media and More

Social media was rather boring when it first came out, Myspace and the early versions of Facebook were pretty dull and very much used in a web browser on a laptop or desktop PC. Used to share messages and photos it seems amazing how social media truly took off. However, social media developers soon realised their users and members could play games together and do so even with strangers. In 2013 Unity had its real big social media debut where the technology allowed for tracking and advertising inside Facebook Games, yes unity is to blame for those annoying pop-up ads. In 2016 Facebook used Unity to create a new gaming platform inside the Facebook application for PC and Unity was behind the game sharing functionality we all know so well today.

Improving every day

You are perhaps beginning to understand why the Unity Engine deserves such respect and it has become one of the most powerful pieces of technology the world knows today. 2017 was perhaps one of the more defining moments for the Unity Engine with the inclusion of real-time graphics rendering engine, colour grading and worldbuilding, live operations analytics and performance reporting. But this was just the beginning that would see Unity step outside the gaming world by as good as gamifying and adding advanced graphics and images to such tools as Autodesk and various CAD platforms.

AI and Unity

By 2018 AI was growing and the technology around it was improving. Unity saw an opportunity in this and soon included AI in their gaming solutions that understand player behaviour and habits. This was a real game-changer and made games vastly more real and deepened the immersive experience. Today, Unity is upping its coding and development with the incorporation of Wolfram Language and a way of giving the platform even more capacity for who knows where it will be in 3, 4 o 10 years.

Summary of Unity Engine

It is fair to say that without the Unity engine you would perhaps still be throwing dice to play a game or the world would be stuck with Snakes not far different from the legend it was on the Nokia 3310. We would be stuck with reality and our dreams rather than being able to play and plan with real-time, virtual reality. Unity, therefore, deserves more than a round of applause but very much a standing ovation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.