Unity3D \m/’s – Adobe should buy them.

I know it’s been a while since I last posted, and I have a REALLY good reason for it 😉  You see, Andy Zupko had been dropping comments here and there about how he’d wanted to do Unity3D work.  First couple of times I heard him say it, I was thinking “yeah yeah flash master Andy, what’s this unity thing anyway?”

Well, I finally asked him what Unity3D was and he pointed me over to http://www.unity3d.com and then showed me their Tropical Paradise demo and my jaw began to hit the floor.  This was a web plugin?  holy polygons/lighting/shaders batman!

Tropical Paradise - Terrains, streamed terrainse

With OpenGL and DirectX support, this little web plugin ROCKS.  It’s a complete game development tool that allows you to code in JavaScript, C# and a dialect of Python called Boo.  The JavaScript is strictly typed and compiles to native machine code – it’s just as fast as C# or Boo.  Not to mention 20x’s faster than Flash’s ActionScript.  And for me, getting into Unity took practically ZERO time.  I was up and importing FBX (you can export as FBX from 3D Studio Max) models and practically doing what I do in Papervision3D with very little effort!  In fact, moving some of my classes over to Unity for this game that Andy and I are working was a matter or some simple refactoring to accommodate Unity’s api.

Now, before we start getting totally OHH and AHH over this, let’s take a look at the discussion that’s already on your mind probably at this point in the post:  Why can’t FLASH/ADOBE have this?!?  I know, cause I was thinking the same thing 😉  The answer might be something like “I don’t think there’s a good reason anymore”.  It USED to be a really big discussion about player size.  I remember back on Flash6 beta, I was begging for w3d support since you could use those files in Director at that time, and they were fairly lightweight.  But the argument was around hardware support and player download size.

But check this out:

Flash player download = 5.5mb
Unity3D web player download = 4.5mb

Ding.  Round one over.  The winner?  Unity3D.

Ok, so is that a fair comparison?  No, not really, but in the argument about the player growing in size seems to be greatly reduced from the days of a 700k Flash player plugin download.  I realize that 5.5mb + 4.5mb = a bit more of a struggle to convince people to download, BUT, I’m SURE there’s a conversation that could be had about loading and running SWF’s into Unity3D like Director does.  Yes?  Did I mention Unity3D is cross-platform compatible?  Publish standalone builds for Mac OS X (Universal Binary, or specific, smaller Intel/PPC-only builds) and Windows 2000/XP/Vista – OH and then put it on the web…cause you can.

If that wasn’t enough to sweeten the pot on Adobe buying out Unity3D – Unity3D does iPhone apps with a single click ( watch the Demo Movie of the iPhone development setup – that’ll sell you right there ).  Hmmm I love me some iPhone 🙂  Not enought??  How about Wii Development?!  BAM!  NOW WHAT?

Terrain, Shaders, Physics, Lighting, Cross-Platform, multi-depolyment option, multi-lingual, Game churning tool!

Have you ever found yourself saying: ” I wish Director used Actionscript – if it did, I’d move right on over to it and develop there!” Well, ok, maybe that’s too drastic and silly, but Unity3D gave me more power than Director and it was extremely easy to get into – the “power” here is that it is realized and made available to *me*.  I’ve had access to Director for nearly 10yrs now, and not once did feel like I could get into it easily.  I realize you can do Javascript now (Lingo was an abomination), but after my bad experiences in the past, I wasn’t willing to get into the the Director mess again.  I saw Unity for 5 minutes and downloaded it instantly. Unity’s IDE rocks – flat out.  It’s fairly easy to understand, and debugging 3D scenes at runtime is awesome.  You can have the scene up top with the game running below and you have access at runtime to really dig through and manipulate all objects and properties at runtime (hmmm… where have I heard that before…XRAY 😉

Unity3D IDE

One of the other nice things is that you can configure TextMate with a Unity3D bundle for editing.

I think I’m a fairly good indication of what *could* happen when other Flashers like me get a hold of Unity3D.  I hope Adobe’s listening 😉

With all of that, combine the fact that SilverLight is working hard to compete with Flash and they have access to DirectX – it won’t be long until Adobe see’s they need a kick-ass solution.  THIS one actually works cross-platform with a ton of speed, easy adoption rate by the development community and a smaller player download size than Flash.  Either they’re already looking at Unity3D as I type this post or they soon will be.

One other thought I had is that, I’m not sure the Flash player is going to keep up or IS keeping up with the abilities of hardware that have been out for a while now.  I can see where they’re going with Pixel Bender etc, but I know I wasn’t the only one disappointed with what came out in FP10 in terms of hardware acceleration etc and so on ( I don’t need to restate what others have already said ).  I think that’s exactly what draws me to Unity3D – total frustration over speed/performance.  With Unity, it was like a massive breath of life for me in terms of developing games and playing in my own time.

Avert Fate - Particles, physics, ragdolls, image effects and custom shaders

So, let’s put our money where our mouth is, shall we?

By now, you know I work for Infrared5 with a ton of great developers.  If you want Flash / Flex / Red5 work done, we can do it. Duh.  But what about iPhone development?  what about serious game development?  What about product/marketing efforts that need more than what the Flash Player can give us in terms of power?  Where would we turn?  Well, we’ve officially added Unity3D and iPhone game developement to the list of services BECAUSE of Unity3D.  Considering that any one of our developers can get up to speed in a matter of an hour or less, it’s a no brainer to expand our service base.  SO, if you’re in the market for iPhone game development or app development, let me know, and I’ll get you in touch with the right people 😉

Given how well many iPhone / iTouch apps are doing in the app store with Apple, I think there’s a bonanza of opportunity there – HUGE.

Ok, so the payoff for even posting this…post, is that I wanted to FINALLY show a few screen shots of a game I’d story boarded 4yrs ago and promised I would produce wayyyyyy back in 2002 (8/16/2002 to be exact) when I released my first Star Wars game – Escape of the Falcon.  I’m not going to show too much, but you guys and gals need to see I’m serious about what I just typed above.

Escape of the Falcon

Original Star Wars game: Escape of the Falcon

Web Version of the Trench Run

Web Version of the Trench Run

And Since Keith was showing off his iPhone Gravity fun, I wouldn’t feel right not sharing since he mentioned a Star Wars game 😉

iPhone Trench Run - low poly trench model

iPhone Trench Run - low poly trench model

I have to thank Andy for getting into Unity though! I don’t know that I would have heard of it or gotten into it if he hadn’t pointed out the obvious to me 😉  To say the least, he’s in hog heaven with real physics, custom shaders and streamed terrains!

I seriously suggest that if you’re into 3D, Gaming and Flash right now, you should try Unity3D.  And yes, I fully expect that I’ll drive SO much traffic their way that they’ll give me a license 😉  Thankfully, IR5 got me one !  LOVE YOU CHRIS/REB/DOMINICK!  LOVE you.  Man love.

And Finally:  Adobe – if you’re reading this, you guys should seriously consider buying out Unity3D.  I can’t say it any more plain than that.  If you don’t, I don’t know how you’ll COMPETE with them.  As soon as they’re able to support running SWF’s in Unity, i’m going to be doing alot more work over there 😉

  1. I agree with every word of this post.

    • If Unity is ever bought by Adobe, I won’t be supporting the engine any longer.

      The fact that they are so directly involved with the community and the immense support they give their developers alone is the a reason why a huge corporation like Adobe should not be in control of it. Albeit, Adobe is the driving force in the creative industry, but I honestly doubt Unity’s pipeline would be improved by leaps and bounds by having access to Adobe’s developers.

      In addition, Unity just takes care of its licensees. The iPhone 1.5 update came out free of charge, which greatly improved efficiency and a slew of the most demanded features. This is something Adobe would have waited for a 2.0 release and a few hundred dollar upgrade price tag to deliver.

      In short, Adobe, keep your hands off of my Unity!

        • pcote
        • July 20th, 2010

        I totally agree with you that Adobe should keep their dirty hands away from Unity. In fact, some of you may not know this but some of the team members from Unity were actually working on Director at Macromedia long time ago…

  2. Errm?

    Adobe Flash Player version
    Windows | 1.8MB

    • TK
    • December 23rd, 2008

    So how many buildings do we have to burn down to get Adobe to buy Unity3d?

    Seriously. Since the adoption of AS3, Flash has been literally sitting on the edge of things so much greater than anyone ever imagined. I can only hope that technologies like Unity3D can push Adobe, um Flash, over the edge.

    Player download size would be fine even if it was 10 mb! “Player download size” was the lame argument Adobe gave for ruining player ubiquity with Pixel Bender and having it only use “supported GPU’s.” Gone are the days of standardization of Flash Player.

    Don’t get me wrong, we all need Adobe, and I have the utmost respect for them (heck I develop Flash Player applications all day every day for a living), but enough is enough. Flash 10 is great and all, but Adobe needs to really “cook some fools” and blow everyone out of the water with the next version of Flash.

    What do I want for Christmas?
    1. A more Java-like language supporting metadata (annotations), full generic type support, and maybe even multithreading?
    2. True 3D in Flash Player as per Unity3D, rivaling if not exceeding their performance levels.
    3. Player ubiquity.

    I really hope that Santa thinks I’ve been good this year. 🙂

  3. Damn awesome. I would even drop my request for preprocessors in as3 compiler if this was added. Unfortunately I think Unity are in a strong enough position not to accept any offer Adobe made. Although some sort of partnership might benefit both. Will put this one on the list for santa 😉

  4. I am looking in direction of Unity3D as demanding Flash programmer for year or so but there is one big border standing on my way right now and it is that Unity3D IDE is still MacOS only…

    There are talks about windows and linux ports but no dates are know and until then I am sticking with flash. And damn C# for 3D in browser is just a dream 🙂 I hope they will port it to windows soon 🙂 And now iPhone 😀 Damn that’s may be even a tastier thing to officialy develop under windows 🙂

  5. Hi John,

    Thanks for the very kind words and excitement. I agree with everything you say about Unity, and share your excitement: Unity /is/ really awesome. Regarding Flash, the only thing I can say is that we’re not in talks with them. Funny aside: our product evangelist is Tom Higgins, who used to be product manager of Director until joining Unity).

    And we certainly intend to take our product and community much much further: new features, all platforms, and wonderful collaboration tools are all in the pipeline.

    By the way, we’re running a 20%-off sale through the end of December, just in case you want to dive in. And there’s of course always the free trial.

    If you don’t have time to dive into Unity, at least check some of my favorite games out over the Holidays:

    Multiplayer shooter on Facebook: http://apps.facebook.com/paradisepaintball/
    Unity game portal: http://blurst.com/
    Cartoon Network’s full-scale MMO (in beta): http://www.fusionfall.com/

    All the best,


  6. Adobe needs to buy Unity3D, even if only for one reason alone: stop Silverlight!

    While currently not a threat to Flash, you know damn well MS is not gonna sit by while Flash chips away at its platform monopoly. Just wait till version 3 of Silverlight. Adobe better not rest on their laurels. I encounter–at least once a week–a website that requires Silverlight to be installed. MS is creating partnerships with content-providers fast!

  7. Thanks John for the detailed posting. While the idea of acquiring Unity is something that would discussed and handled well above my pay grade, it is nonetheless important to hear your experiences with it.

    But my advice to developers is always to work where you think you can get the best results. If that is Unity, then go for it. You won’t hurt our feelings :-).

    Lee Brimelow

    • yeah completely Lee – and this shouldn’t be taken in any other way than a serious nudge 😉 a WWF nudge, but still a nudge…

  8. I think Lee only responds to UFC nudges. 🙂


    • Seb
    • December 24th, 2008

    Looks excellent, but what do you do when you can afford to buy the Unity IDE? Is there an alternative editor/compiler?

    • Mudit Tuli
    • December 24th, 2008

    Adobe should add support for openGl and directx in flash, that would be a big win.
    But what will it do with director then ?

  9. So I’ve played with the IDE a little and looked at the (amazing) examples. But are you guys seeing this as a potential Flash replacement, or just as an alternative for doing 3D games?

    I guess what I mean is can this engine build RIAs and all the other stuff Flash can do? Flash was never intended to be the best place to make 3D games. Of course the work John and the PV3D guys have done have changed that quite a bit. But there has always been better places to make 3D games in the browser, including our very own Director product.

    Another point to throw out there is even if we did, or could, get a technology like this, what would we do with it? Roll it all into the Flash Player? Keep it as a separate 3D game plugin?

    BTW, I’m asking these questions because I honestly don’t know the answers. I’m looking for feedback on what you guys think.

  10. In some things I do find that Unity 3D is a good replacement for Flash. As far as I know Unity 3D slowly takes what before was Flash browser games market and as in this post reasons for leaving Flash behind for Unity 3D was games too.

    Then Flash is also a platform for RIA’s and new type of portals. There are projects here and there that allow to take virtual tour of flats or say hotels and in case of flats even provide tools play with flat adding furniture and other stuff… For now they are made in Flash but if things stay as they are and Unity3D IDE will become cross-platform I believe that Unity3D will steal Flash “spectacular websites ” segment as well.

    I don’t know how with some people but biggest projects I get at work are usual complete Flash sites. Usually clients order them because they want to see something that stands out. Can Flash as it is now possibly compete with what Unity 3D has to offer in that view? So wont it be that after say few years when clients come to get “spectacular site” they will ask for some pseudo 3D Unity site with cool effects like say interactive fluid dynamics coca cola bottle?

    As for director… Partly it seems that Director is competing with Flash even tough they both are made by Adobe… Also majority of browser games are Flash now and then while I am starting to hear more and more about Unity3D I hear less and less about Director… You may say that Unity3D is Director competitor but while being that it takes part of Flash segment as well.

    As for idea of Adobe buying it I am not shore it is a good idea… Different solution with different language will probably will not fit in fast… I think Adobe should just continue with what it started in Flash 10 and add true modern 3D support to compete with Unity3D…

    Ok hope that’s enough of feedback 🙂

  11. Lee, I think what *I* was hoping for was the adoption of the kick-ass 3D abilities of Unity3D to be wrapped into Flash’s player so I could get out of this 10k poly hell. 10k is a joke btw – I can certainly get something to transform at 12fps, but it’s rubbish. It’s more like a cap of 5-7k poly count and that’s largely dependent on what I do with the materials for the 3D scene. And forget about effects – they’re not usable at that poly count.

    I’ve said before, and I’ll say now – having a 3D add-on would be fine. I’d rather have it all available in one player though – 2D would benefit as well as 3D, no?

    I remember ALONG time ago, I DID do Director in a company I owned. We had to purchas 2 licenses (one for mac, one for Windows) and it was hideously expensive. Then there was the IDE itself and Lingo was the cherry bomb on top. So, as far as I’m concerned, Director’s not even a discussion point. It sucked horribly back then, and I don’t think they’ve broken away from that paradigm. I could be wrong, but I don’t really care – I’m just not even willing to include it in the Discussion any longer.

    Now, in the future, I tend to agree with the other reply about how Unity *could* creep into Flash’s market very easily. No, not in RIA development, but in Entertainment ventures, YES big time. I’ve already started converting a site I did for my mom (www.baywoodgallery.com) to Unity just because I can. And why the hell not?? It can handle literally millions of poly’s, shaders, real time lighting effects, I mean damn, the comparison is silly at this point. We’re comparing a Sesna with a Saturn V rocket from my POV with regards to Entertainment sites.

    And I would convincingly argue that the ratio of entertainment flash sites out there compared to RIA apps is more like 5-1, if not higher. I mean, I us Flex for my entertainment sites all that time. It sees true RIA work very little in fact.

    Now, Unity3D doesn’t have a flex framework, but it has the ability to take alot of the 3D Papervision work out there and basically blow it away WITH VERY LITTLE EFFORT TO CONVERT IT FROM FLASH TO UNITY3D.

    See my point? I could easily convince a client they should use Unity with a simple demo. “Hey, here’s what you get with Flash in terms speed, effects and poly counts, and here’s what you get with Unity3D”

    So now we’re at the “player penetration rate” discussion right? And people will argue with us that it’s a “big deal”. I agree, there are clients out there that will balk at forcing a download. But that’s a mute point. For one, that’s probably 1 out of every 7 clients I ever talk to. So I like my odds with the other 6. And as soon as other flashers get their ass kicked by another agency that decided to use Unity3D, it’s on at that point. You can bet they’ll be adopting Unity into their list of services.

    I’m going to go ahead and convert that site to Unity3D just to demonstrate the ease with which it was done, and then the overall performance and quality, not to mention the addition of shaders and realtime lighting effects running at 100fps+. It’ll have the same interactivity, same abilities, the only diff will be the player.

    I do hope you’re able to pass this along Lee! My PREFERENCE is that Adobe would have 1 player and I could stick with actionscript 😉 That’s why I say I hope they buy out Unity3D and put their stamp on it before M$ does – and while I’m at it – what a completely scary thing that would be, right?

    • John O
    • December 24th, 2008

    We definitely are seeing an increased need for better 3d support on the web. Clients are asking for it all the time. It may be as basic as simple 3d planes or its doing a full 3d environment.

    I don’t have a preference if Adobe buys Unity or not, but we definitely need some better 3d support in Flash. If that means buying a 3rd party, or if it means that Tinic & gang is able to whip us up some full-screen hardware rendered OpenGL graphics (makes it sound easy, huh?).

    John has a real point about MS. Not sure they would Unity, but the threat of MS getting hardware 3d in Silverlight is very real. Its not unheard of to see MS buy a company (very common in fact), or they could just leverage what they already have in WPF (of course they would need to port it Mac).

    As for player size, I think this is becoming less of an issue nowadays. We’re developing online apps that are megs in size, pulling down progressive videos that are huge (30+ megs), etc, etc.. what is a 5mb download anymore? For 3d power like Unity, its worth it. And if Adobe was to released 3d functionality like as an optional player plugin (like Connect plugin), it would be a minor inconvenience to the end user.

  12. neoriley: Wow I hope you will write about site convertation here as I would really like to see what Unity3D can do as a site making platform 🙂

    • hs
    • December 26th, 2008

    Unity3D needs something like a Personal License, to allow developers and creatives to spend more time with the IDE without having to purchase it. My 30-day-trial ran out long ago and what now? iPhone support may help Unity3D to get the popularity it deserves and now it’s on to the publisher to offer a decent license model.

  13. Just thought I would chime in a bit and say; I’ve been using Unity since 2005 and absolutely love it! As a programmer, the fact that it uses Mono (.Net) for the scripting language (C#, Javascript, Boo) is unbeatable! And as an artist, it’s visual layout of the 3D scenes make it so easy to quickly get ideas into reality… and the asset management is so seamless that I can edit objects in photoshop/cinema4d/whatever and the changes are INSTANTLY imported into Unity. I love working with Unity, it is the best development environment I have ever used. …. also the Unity Forums is a great community of talented and helpful people, the owners and employees of Unity are often online and regularly respond to posts. Just an amazing company and product.

  14. No way!!! 😉

    I’ve been playing with Flash a while back and never really got deeply into it. It’s probably the best tool for 2D Web-stuff – but Unity is a full-blown 3D game engine, and in my opinion one of the best out there (in the price range *the* best). You can’t compare it to Flash because it’s playing in a completely different league. I don’t see any need for Adobe buying UT because UT handles development of Unity and the community around the tool just perfectly.

    The Windows version of the Unity IDE is coming soon enough (there is no release-date – but they demoed Unity 2.5 on Windows at Unite 2008). And besides, I know quite a few people who bought Macs just to be able to use Unity, and none of them regretted the move (I myself am one of them – now Windows only exists in VMWare on my Mac to run cool Windows stuff like Visual Studio 😉 ). Some people are still doing that even knowing that Unity 2.5 running on Windows is “just around the corner”.

    Getting a Mac + Unity Pro is probably the cheapest way to start development of a 3D game 😉

    So what would be the point in Adobe buying UT? I see UT being and staying independent (and definitely not being bought by Microsoft 😉 ) …

  15. You know, the further and further I get into Unity, see the community, the support, the tutorials etc – I think you’re right Jashan. I selfishly would love to be working in ActionScript with the tools I’m used to etc, but to be honest, it wouldn’t break my heart if adobe didn’t buy unity.

    What would really set Unity into the stratosphere is if they had full flash support for gui and for use as textures. If they do that, it’d be one of the most influential technologies out there – bar none. I’m just praying that Unity starts supporting SWF’s in the REAL near future.

  16. Great article–it’s interesting to hear a take on Unity from a heavy Flash perspective. We just posted a technical overview of Unity at the Blurst tech blog, which might interest people looking at the technology for the first time:


  17. Haha, funny, i´ve been bitching about flash´s craptacular performance and the false performance raise hype for ages on the pv3d list and been talking about unity3D etc for a while and seemed to reach few open ears, i´m glad finally more people notice what´s up 🙂
    Personally i hope Adobe improves things with the flash player propperly but i also hope that Adobe doesn´t attempt to buy UT (or UT doesn´t sell) cause unity belonging to Adobe would be VERY bad for unity3D (and then also the users).
    Let´s be honest, i don´t want to talk down the progress of flash completely but its not too much to say many, many longtime flash developers are quite disappointed with various sides of the development of the flash player and the development tools. I don´t have confidence in unity3d continuing to have as much great progress as it has right now with Adobe controlling all.
    I still use flash for many things, RIAs and mostly 2D stuff, but yeah, for 3D and anything that needs performance or should also run on devices not supported by flash i use unity3D and i love it like that.
    If anything flash player should get a performance boost, propper 3d support; allow using all AS versions within one project (see being able to mix JS and C# within one unity project), allow using all api features in all AS versions and also propperly integrate features of older flash versions when using newer AS versions (like hey, animating nested movieclips is an essential feature of flash, why make that buggy by adding garbage collector bugs and not allowing accessing nested elements before an event is triggered, that is not useful at all!)
    Btw: the way the garbage collector works since v9 SUCKS and unless they change it flash is heavily prone to memory leaks, no matter what Adobe says.

    So yeah, i hope Adobe takes unity serious and learns from the sides UT does way better and likewise would be cool if UT gets better 2d support then it would be best for all, if Adobe buys UT that would be a nightmare.

  18. I find it unlikely that unity3D would be sold to adobe. Its currently owned 100% by the developers and I don’t think it would be in their interest to sell.

    Furthermore I think unity and flash are two different beasts – flash an awesome web platform and unity a game engine. If you ask me, its more likely that adobe roll their own 3D into flash and compete with the unity player.

    Check out the community discussion on the subject at http://forum.unity3d.com/viewtopic.php?t=17257

    • protopop
    • December 27th, 2008

    I can taste your excitement:) You moved me to publish a post on the subject (first in a year) after reading your article.

  19. @hs —

    They do offer a personal license, it’s the “indie license” for 200 USD or 150 EUR, and if you’re committed after that you can just upgrade your license, not have to buy the full price of the Pro license. That’s the best route to go if you just want to “test” it out more than 30 days.

    • hs
    • December 28th, 2008


    Well, combined with iPhone Basic it makes 600 USD and thats pretty much for testing purposes 🙂
    I’m talking about something for students & non-commercial work that would also attract the processing crowd.

    • milan
    • December 28th, 2008

    John, I totally agree with you! Adobe should buy Unity3d. If Adobe wont, somebody else (probably Autodesk) will, because it’s very powerful plugin. For game developers it would be a wedding made in heaven: Flash ubiquity and Unity3d strength. Game development is HUGE market compared to “fictional/predicted/etc/but-in-reality-Mickey-Mouse” RIA market. Let’s not forget what made Flash what it is today. RIA’s? I don’t think so. So, no more words, just: Bravo for this article, Adobe should (try to) buy Unity3d.

  20. The 3d power of Unity3d is truly amazing. Compared to those demos any Flash 3d piece looks bleak in terms of speed, polycount, textures, effects and so on. I hope the Windows version of the authoring tool is coming out soon to be able to test it on my own.

    I wonder what are the possibilities of the Unity plugin in terms of loading dynamic content (XML, JPG/PNG, Video), displaying text and other 2d elements (buttons, forms, inputs) and adding different types of interactivity.

    Having only super fast 3d might not be enough for most apps I am building everyday, where 3d is only a layer added on top of classic RIA elements. The strength of Flash lies in the possibility of such integration. Can it be done with Unity3d too?

    • JCRobinson
    • December 29th, 2008

    Unity 3D looks really good for building games, and thats good if we want to build games. I haven’t had any time to play with the engine as yet but I’m sure it could also be used to build applications.

    I use PV3D and have done for quite some time now. The reasons are:

    It works with flash players under 10 (Flash 9)
    It’s works well with other API’s

    Personally I’m not looking for 3D hardware acceleration, shader support, dynamic lighting e.t.c. I was looking for a solution which provided a layer of 3D to enhance navigation and interaction within my existing working environment, which I found and is PV3D.

    Now I admit I haven’t been keeping up to speed on whats going on in the world of adobe, but if they haven’t done so already I personally think adobe should invest in papervision 3D, before investing in Unity 3D.

  21. Hey John,
    A friend of mine pointed me to Unity3D a few minutes ago and google forwared me to your very blog entry 🙂

    Great stuff indeed. And the web plugin?? iphone support? OpenGL? It’s just too good to be true.

    The only problem is that people cannot afford Macs just to play with this beauty. Any solution like VMWare?

    Adobe should indeed pour some those dollars into this company. The sad thing is that I believe Micro$oft will be the “good” influence if they ever go that direction.

  22. John this is an awesome post! Your motivation about Unity3D’s pro’s above Flash rocks. I could never explain this better myself. Flash is now a days really useful for building RIA’s. Since their beginning it’s been the tool when you want to publish visually strong content for the web. Now we see the web moving more into a 3D direction and we hear more and more people talking about “3D internet” I think Adobe needs to think seriously about their role in this. Just adding a z axis to their new Flash player isn’t seriously enough in my opinion:-)

    I’m using Papervision3D for almost 2 years now and started with Unity3D last summer. The difference in 3D quality is unbelievable. Where we struggle in Papervision3D with just a few thousands of polys, I’ve some things running with over a millions polys in Unity3D and having still an acceptable fps on my macbook pro. This opens a new world of possibilities!
    The thing where Unity3D isn’t that good at this moment in my opinion is building interfaces. When you compare this with Flash you can even say that it really sucks!

    Combining best of both worlds would really open up some good possibilities. At this moment it doens’t matter if Adobe adds all the Unity goods to the Flash plugin (maybe by buying them) or the guys at Unity add better support for building RIA’s. What is for sure, is that both options will open up a new market for both companies.

    To answer Lee’s question about how we see the 3D support being implemented. I would suggest doing this like it’s done with connect. First time you visit 3D content, you need to install a flash add-on. This process is so user friendly, that I can’t see any arguments why not doing it that way. (Except for any technical implications on Adobe’s side maybe:-))

    Anyway, I’m glad this discussion has started and received a lot of attention from the Flash community. After speaking with some people during Unite (unity conference) I can say that some of the Unity3D community expect collaboration between Unity3D and Adobe.

    • milan
    • December 30th, 2008

    My first answer to your question was: Keep it as a separate 3D game plugin… and make flash/unity3d communication seamless… and suddenly I’ve realized that for this to be possible Adobe doesn’t have to buy Unity :), so thanks for good question. In terms of distribution channels and ubiquity I still think this would be the best option for both (Adobe and Unity3d) and also for users – to have 3d on the web anytime soon.

    • AaronC
    • January 1st, 2009

    Hi there, nice blogpost..

    I’ve been a unitydeveloper for 3 years, and it really is a remarkably capable tool. There really is nothing else like it at the end of the day, so yea a flash comparision is apples and oranges.
    The best thing of all though is the people behind it. They are a totally dedicated core, who are actually a great deal of fun too. Its awesome to have developers like this. Coupled with that is a well established community and collective knowledge bank amongst us all. It really is a great place to be. Making 3d videogames was a dream come true to me, and now I do it commercially, PLUS I can post them online and people can play in their browser. Then theres iPhone, Wii, and THE FUTURE! All with a very low startup cost. Credit where credit’s due, Unity3d totally rocks.

  23. Hell no! Unity3D is amazing (I just started developing with it myself) but I can’t think of a worse thing to happen to it than Adobe buying them out.

    The Unity Indy licence is $199USD – if Adobe were to own it, you could forget having an indy licence altogether. My licence to photoshop cost three times what Unity cost me, and with Unity I’m getting a fully fledged development environment, cross-platform game engine, and even Aegia physics baked in.

    Part of what makes Unity so amazing is that it’s built and maintained by a small company of very dedicated independent developers. By being small and quick on their feet (and making very creative use of a number of open source projects – they’re the only Mono project worth talking about, for example), they’ve been helping fuel a new golden age in independent game development, particularly on the Mac.

    Remember that Flash was once a small, independent application. Since its purchase by Macromedia, and then Adobe, it’s seen major adoption, but very little addition to its toolset. Aside from ActionScript 3 (which is…reasonable), Flash 9/10 differs very little from FutureSplash. Going supernova killed its innovative nature, and the same thing could happen to Unity.

    • saul
    • January 12th, 2009

    Director is dead have you not heard.

    • saul
    • January 12th, 2009

    And, put a mac health warning on it bro.

    Google native rock on.

    • saul
    • January 14th, 2009

    Unity 2.5 will enable PC based authoring.

    Available in a month or so.

    Apologies for being obtuse you just wasted 20 minutes of my time. I’m not one of the lovies either.

    There are competitors to this, some good C++ 3d engines available if you want to go a different route to internet.

    Companies and people like John manipulate you through opinion leadership and hype.

    Do your research but be aware the web is going the c route in respect to gaming.

    Adobe needs to tap into DirectX/Open GL.

    If they don’t then flash will quite quickly become a poor mans development tool in this context (looks like it already is).

    Thats not to say i don’t love the thing because its like an old friend.

    Technological uncertainty and economic turbulence is in full thrust.

    And, you all had the knives out for Mr. Gates (monopoly does have some benefits, i don’t know that i will find many economists here who understood that) .

    So, Whens it going to be Apple or google in your targets. Or maybe you just follow the crowd and are lazy.

    Seems like everyone just wants cudos and wealth. Theres no morality at work here you kiss ar se for fun.

    Did you ever want to change the world through your art?

    I can’t stand blogs either. Its like a form of self inflicted spam. And, John you should hear yourself you sound about 10 years old.

    Peace out.

  24. Really enjoyed your post. I’m a huge fan of Unity3D and I find it extremely fun to work with, even though I don’t do any commercial projects with it.

    Flash Players lack of decent 3D support really frustrates because I feel it would really revolutionize the way developers approach a project when they have a bucket load more power in their hands. It is important to consider, however, that one of the main reservations from Adobe is that Flash Player has an extremely high penetration rate… they strive to make the player as compatible and accessible as possible and by offering up content like this, there are going to be a lot of people who are cut out without GPU cards.

    I for one don’t think Adobe are idiots. There is simply no way they would turn a blind eye to the world of 3D but timing is extremely important. Especially with Unity3D offering up such an amazing solution, we can only expect great things from FP11.

    Thanks again for this post, was a great read.

    • saul
    • January 21st, 2009

    Public Humble Pie.

    Dear John,

    Sorry for my posts.

    I spoke to unity quoting your excellent addition to their progressive media platform and they kindly informed me that a PC based development kit would be available in a month or two.

    My sincere apologies to all, and stay young forever it will serve you well in this field certainly.

    Kind Wishes from here on in.

    • infocyde
    • January 23rd, 2009

    Someone might have posted this, but about Unity3D being bought out by Adobe…I doubt it. One of the driving forces behind Unity was also one of the driving forces behind Director. Once Adobe bought Macromedia they let Director wither on the vine. This dude got fed up and left and helped get Unity3D going…I don’t remember his name.

    With that being said, all things are possible. Maybe M$ will make a play, though I hear 3D support will be in Silverlight 3.

    I’ve been watching Unity3D with envy for a long time now, I can’t wait to try it out on Windows (can’t afford a Mac right now), and I know some people are already working on interop between Flash/Silverlight/and Unity3D.

  25. Tom Higgins
    Product Manager for Director & the Shockwave Player

    « Viacom to buy Atom Entertainment | Main | And I’m out… »
    August 28, 2006
    Happy Trails

    Nearly eight years ago I walked into the building at 600 Townsend Street here in San Francisco and entered the first floor area where Macromedia technical support used to be. I wore a nice shirt, a tie and shoes*, I also walked in with a full beard (!) and zero knowledge of this product called “Director”. All I knew was that I was interviewing for a position in technical support at Macromedia which at that time was still a “small” (ish) company and the tech-boom heyday was in full swing. My interview apparently went well enough as I was hired on with my first day having been October 19, 1998.

    “Macromedia technical support, this is Tom, can I get your serial number please?”

    In the time since I was hired I’ve wandered my way from technical support through qa and on to product management, I’ve worked here through five major releases and numerous dot-releases, I’ve travelled countless miles both domestic and international on the company’s behalf, I’ve spoken to groups small and large (2000+ for the Sneaks preso at UCON2001) and I’ve had the chance to learn a great deal about software development. Throughout my career here I’ve always tried my best to serve both the company and the community, to be a good tech support rep/qa engineer/product manager while also trying to be a consistent public face for the product, as a point of contact, as a resource and unfortunately at times as a punching bag (sometimes y’all need someone to hear your complaints, sometimes they’re loud and sometimes they’re louder ;P). But now after all of that, my time on this product and at this company is coming to an end as September 5th will be my last day with Adobe. Please understand that my departure is of my own choosing despite the company’s efforts to keep me on board as part of the Director/Shockwave team.

    This news leaves me feeling both sad and excited. I’m sad as it brings to a close a significant chapter of my life, it’s the end of nearly a decade working on a fantastic product as well as the end of working at a company where I’ve made quite a few good friends and had plenty of good times. I’m excited because I’m about to start the next chapter of my life, this is a chance to move in a new direction and find new challenges to take on. I want to thank everyone that’s purchased and used Director over the years as you having done that enabled me to enjoy eight incredible years on this team. Through my community interaction I have met some of the most fascinating and interesting people imaginable, and what’s more is that through it all I’ve also managed to make a few great new friends. For now I don’t have any clear next steps other than taking some time off to relax and enjoy myself a bit, after that who knows where I’ll land.

    I realize that there are going to be a *ton* of questions about what this means, what’s going to happen when I’m gone, who’s taking over my tasks, etc. For the next week I’ll keep an eye on this entry and any submitted comments and do my best to handle any questions that do come up. To get the conversation started I’d like to introduce a few key members of the Director and Shockwave Player team that y’all can use as points of contact going forward:

    Vivek Kumar Pai – Engineering Manager
    Krishnan HS (a.k.a. “Krish”) – QE Manager
    Venkatesh K (a.k.a. “KV”) – Program Manager
    Marc Hosein – Group Product Marketing Manager

    Cheers y’all,
    Tom Higgins

    Former tech support rep…
    Former tech support team lead…
    Former qa engineer…
    Former qa product specialist…
    And now soon to be former product manager…

    Go Director!

    *For those that don’t know, since being hired I’ve regularly walked around the office in bare feet, in fact I gave the first public presentation ever delivered about our 3D engine (at UCON2001) in front of a packed room while barefoot. 😉 To help with things like going outside and using the restroom I always keep a pair of flip-flop sandals under my desk.

    Posted by thiggins at August 28, 2006 10:39 AM


  26. I got the demo 4 days ago and have already built some fun 3d games and it was next to painless.

    I don’t have an iphone and have sworn off development because of the cost of entry but will be getting one just because of this and will start on my first game in the coming weeks!

    w00t John / Andy!

  27. Hahaha … LOL …

    Why should Adobe buy Unity3d ? I think the presence of Unity3D will force Adobe to redesign how their Adobe Flash and Flash Player work . Okay, I know all of you have been felt Adobe Flash sometimes suck . Do you know the reason behind it? It’s because Adobe doesn’t have competitors.

    IMHO, Adobe add a new 3D feature on Flash Player 10 and on the IDE as well, it’s because the WPF have a native 3D support and hardware accelerator . If there’s Unity3D with all new Rocks feature (including the lovely faster processing) I think Adobe must learn about it and try how to exceed this Unity3D features .

    Just give some times and wait for the change in Adobe products . There’s just 2 option, Adobe can be better with the change or failed if they’re to stubborn ^_^

  28. Bad news. I’m at a conference now where Unity 3D have a stall. I don’t think this Unity – Flash merge will ever happen. Firstly one of the main guys worked for Macromedia then left when it became part of adobe (I don’t think he left on good terms either) and he now works with Unity. So no for that reason. Also they didn’t seem interested in the idea.

    • at this point, I’m starting to be glad for that. Now that I’ve done 3 full blown games with Unity’s iPhone IDE, I like their approach to somethings. Somethings are a bit annoying, but honestly, I think they’re probably aware of them (they seem obvious issues).

      But at this point, their community has been great, the product freakin works as advertised, and I’m happy to see the succeed on their own. Especially if it puts a big ass fire under adobe’s butt.

    • Udii
    • March 19th, 2009

    19 March 2009- Unity Windows version is available now!!!

    • Udii
    • March 19th, 2009

    Forget Adobe Flash…. for web games, for casual games, for indie games, UNITY IS THE NEW FLASH!!!!

    • HealyHQ
    • March 21st, 2009

    Just like to reiterate what Udii said above me:
    If you’re a game developer, you just can’t go wrong with Unity.
    And yeah, Unity 2.5 is out now, so you can’t complain about the editor not being on Windows anymore. 😉

    • Ryan Zec
    • March 21st, 2009

    I sure the heel hope that adobe does not buy Unity (Unity3D as it is referred to is just the web domain). First of all, Unity is not designed to directly compete with Flash like Silver Light is (since Flash seems to be more of a general web development platform and not a 3D Game Engine/Authoring System). I have a lot more faith in the Unity Team to keep Unity going is a great direction (like they have been doing) than Adobe (I feel if they tried to integrate Unity into flash that Unity itself will be ruined from what it is now).

    Please Unity Team, never sell into any company.

    • Fred
    • May 2nd, 2009

    Why in the world do you want to trash a brilliant development like Unity by having Adobe buy it, trash it and charge us five times as much for it?

    Are you insane?

    Well clearly!

  29. Great post, not much more to say…

    We’ve been developing online 3D games since 2002 now… mostly in Adobe’s Director. At the time this was a MAJOR breakthrough on the web. I even limited my developments in Flash (and I was a “master” bak then) because of the possibility of online 3D via Director. I was a serious believer!

    End of 2008 I was invited as a Beta-Tester for Unity3D on windows… I was blown away… and still am. Ease of use is amasing, and very intuitive. We haven’t done much commercial stuff in it yet, but we just got a really big assignment and I’m possitive we’ll be using Unity3D for it!

    Our latest demo, we built in 4 and a half days with only 2 developers. Check it out: http://www.underdog.be/games/eagle-fighter/
    Respect & Enjoy!


  30. ..and see some great 3d tutorials on http://appslog.com/blog/1-blog/796-huge-list-of-3ds-max-tutorials.html
    some gud tuts there..

    • Ole Jak
    • August 30th, 2009

    Probably they do not have to buy U3D but they already have Alchemy so sooner or later someone will port some real world 3d engine to flash and it will probably be the end of unity – best 3d engine for the web dev. On the other hand there is +-Flash for IPhone now (http://ncannasse.fr/blog/haxe_for_iphone) (C version) so sooner or later using Alchemy someone could do a flash app or even C based dev. environment!=)

    • Alchemy has nothing to do with it. The player is flat out not capable of what Unity’s web player or standalone is capable of doing. Flash’s player caters to 2D vector/bitmap/animation and JIT script. So there’s 2 roads that make most sense: 1. add something to flash’s existing player that makes it a competitor, but makes the downloaded player size bigger as well as the memory footprint or 2. Gut the player completely, rewrite with hardware in mind, while still making it backward compatible etc.

      My guess is that #1 will happen or some variant of that, based on what we’ve seen so far. And the only reason it would *start* to compete is just by the sheer # of people developing for flash – there’s alot more of them 😉 However, that’s dependent upon Adobe dumbing it down with an easy to understand API. Alchemy right now is way beyond the reach of most flashers. It’s being used by people who have a much deeper experience pool than just flash.

      Now, let’s bring in the discussion that really makes up the other 50% – the Unity IDE and what it supports. Flash / Adobe are years behind. Flat out. That’s why I originally said “they should buy unity3d”. But I no longer *want* them to buy Unity3D. I’ve really enjoyed Unity’s community, support, employees and I wouldn’t want to change a thing.

    • Kevin
    • September 27th, 2009

    Unity3d would be ruined if it was bought by Adobe. Adobe is not good enough for Unity3d. The only thing good if Adobe bought it is would be faster updates(more employees) and bigger communities. Oh, and it would be easier to crack… lol.

    • Kevin
    • September 27th, 2009

    However, a partnership might be a nice idea.

    • Rufdymond
    • November 6th, 2009

    Nice post – but I have to wholeheartedly disagree that Unity should be purchased by Adobe. One of the things that make Unity truly special (apart from being a great tool) is its online community and the people who run the company. Unity Indie has now been made FREE, this is the sort brave, bold, decision that large companies like ADOBE seem incapable of making. NO, leave Unity alone I have a feeling that they will do just fine as they are.

  31. What are the chances there is going to be an olympics MMO browser game?

  32. Adobe needs to buy Unity3D

  33. Well, I didn’t say it wasn’t good enough in general, but for some purposes, it definitely can’t compare. That’s for sure.

  1. December 24th, 2008
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