No engine is as prevalent throughout indie games as Unity. Being available for free has put it in the hands of thousands of creators, and not only has this benefitted players, for budding developers it means there’s a wealth of tutorials on how to build a whole variety of games, both 2D and 3D. From platformers such as Oddworld New’N’Tasty to lush survival and horror titles such as The Forest, Unity can be used to make almost anything.
Unlike GameMaker or other, simpler, engines, Unity has no built-in game functions. To use it, you’re going to have to get your hands dirty and do all the coding yourself. Unity uses C#, so anyone familiar with that scripting language will find themselves at home. For those unfamiliar, there are loads of videos available online to help you get started on virtually any feature you can imagine. There’s no one way to approach a problem either; player movement can be handled in dozens of different ways depending on the needs of your project. Finding which solution is best for you can be daunting, but thankfully Unity also has a massive community which is very approachable and willing to help. Be polite and you should have no trouble getting a helping hand. (Just try to do a Google search first – you’ll be surprised how much you can accomplish before needing to involve others.)
Unity also has a massive asset store that will allow you to import a variety of models, features, and tools at varying prices. Some are even free. When you’re starting out, it’s perfectly reasonable to use every tool at your disposal, so don’t be ashamed of using these assets in your own project. They’ve been put out there to help you.
Building 3D assets for your Unity project will be a difficult hurdle for many. As mentioned, the asset store can provide those for you if needed, but if you’d rather create your own then there are free pieces of software such as Blender that will allow you to create 3D models.
Unity is a tougher place to start than GameMaker but it opens up a world of possibilities for those who would rather make a 3D game, and thanks to a huge, helpful community it’s still pretty easy to learn. With a constant stream of improvements the engine is only becoming more capable. Hugely successful games have been made in it. Maybe it’s time for yours to join that list.
“Unity’s pretty intimidating to get started with, but there’s loads of helpful tutorials both on YouTube and Unity’s own page to get you up to speed. As well as being great for getting to grips with how the engine works, you’ll also end up with a ton of code to refer back to in future” Natalie Clayton, creator of Transit
It’s not just indies entrusting their projects to the Unity engine. Blizzard used it for the massive Hearthstone. The utterly gorgeous Ghost Of A Tale was made in Unity, and while it looks AAA, this was all made by one person! oddworld: new ’n’ tasty...