I’ve been hearing a lot about Unity3D lately, so this week I finally tried it. Is it really the world-changing software some people have been sounding like it is?
After some very basic attempts with it in the past few days, I must say my answer is “maybe”, which is much more than I initially thought I’d say. It really does seem like a very powerful system, greatly simplifying the process of making games. Of course, I have one big problem with it – it’s not my code. Anything I write on it will never be exactly mine, but will be bound to a proprietary software, meaning I’ll never be able to open source it.
But then, is there a big difference between releasing the source for a C or Java game, or releasing the source for a Unity game? Sure, C and Java are technically open in the way that theoretically I could now build my own computer from banana peels and used newspapers and run Wesnoth on it, but does it also matter in any meaningful way? I haven’t studied Unity’s legal demands, so I’m not really sure.
Anyway, I’m going to study Unity a bit, in case I get an opportunity to work on great games with other people. But I think I’ll stick with general-purpose languages for my personal (commercial and open source) work for now. In the long run, I prefer not to rely on closed software – ten years from now, code I write now in C or Java will definitely still work (even if I’ll have to port it to the new telepathic programming language everyone will be using by then). But who knows if Unity will still exist? things change fast in this industry.
Still, I’m going to enjoy it and I’m glad it exists. The world can benefit from anything that lowers the programming bar for game making, so we can get games from people with good ideas instead of getting games from people with programming skills and/or lots of money. The latter two ways work occasionally, but I think there’s still a massive shortage of creativity in the gaming world.