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Unity Free, just how much can you do without paying?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Leftie, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. Leftie

    Leftie

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    I'm just wondering. Does anyone know any huge projects that were made using an entirely free copy of Unity? Or do I have to pay something to make something worthwhile? Unity seems a very awesome piece of software, but it seems quite limited to what I can do without paying, and I'm simply a pennyless person trying to put my ideas into more than ideas using the knowledge I have, and Unity seems a good springboard to do it from, just... the price. It seems I can't really do much without paying, or release anything without paying :(
     
  2. nbirko2928

    nbirko2928

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    Obviously there are features that come in with Pro that give you some nice perks. But the free version imo is just as capable, you will have to do a little more work but in the right hands, you can do a lot.
     
  3. StarManta

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    That is an incredibly incorrect idea. Unity Free is a very powerful tool, and you can certainly release games with it.

    The fact that you don't see a lot of "huge projects" made with Free is due to simple realities (and, interestingly, not much to do with the capabilities in Free):

    1) A huge project is a big economic investment. If you don't invest money in it, there is an extremely high chance that willpower will fizzle out long before the project is completed, especially if it's a huge project.
    2) If you're investing money, you want it to succeed. This means looking professional, which means first impressions, which means ditching the default Unity splash screen.
    3) Compared to the salaries of developers and artists, $1500 is a drop in the bucket. You'd be a fool to invest a man-year or more into a project, but skimp on the last little bit that makes it look professional.

    IMO, the single biggest selling point of Unity Pro - that is, the single thing that causes more people to pony up for it - is the splash screen. I can tell you that none of the projects I'm working on actually require any of the technical features of Unity Pro, but we are subscribed to Pro and two platforms, essentially paying over $200 a month solely to rid ourselves of that splash screen.

    There are a minority of projects that do rely on Pro-only features, but you generally have to go out of your way to find areas where those features are actually needed. Most of the time, they are there to add graphical flourish.
     
  4. Taschenschieber

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    Pro also has some things that are nice polish, like Image Effects or some of the rendering features. I believe Pro has a LoD system Free does not have, which would be pretty important for high-quality 3D games (which I don't really care about). And there are some other small differences.

    But Free has everything you need for most smaller projects. Especially when you target mobile systems or browsers, you will hardly ever notice that something is missing. And when you actually can't afford Unity Pro because you are a hobbyist or struggling indie studio, asset quality and manpower will probably become limiting factors long before the missing features of Unity Free will.

    Also, you will hardly find anything else for free that is as powerful as the free version of Unity is.

    (jm2c as a Free using hobbyist with some long-term commercial aspirations.)
     
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  5. welby

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    You've got your answers above but just to add:


    What's so bad about the splash screen?

    I think it's cool. I'm proud to be a Unity user. If anything,..I'd wanna use it more personally,...maybe use the unaltered Logo over a custom Load screen. like a Bug.

    I 'get' that it can be viewed as,..oh,..splash screen = 'free' = hobbyist = low quality,..but I hope that's only contained within the dev groups and forum circles and not the normal average customer who has less of a chance to know what it means.
    Or worse,..is just the knowledge that Unity was used a liability!?!? I'd hope not.
     
  6. Taschenschieber

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    Nah, but you want to punch your studio's logo into the user's face as prominently as possible, I guess.
     
  7. Ryiah

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    Its hideous. It lacks sound and visual effects. Overall it feels so plain compared to other splash screens.
     
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  8. orb

    orb

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    Thomas Was Alone is an example of a game that was basically feature-complete with free Unity. Exporting it with Pro was basically that dev's polish phase :p
     
  9. ChrisSch

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    Yup, came here to say that.

    Most of the pro features are graphical. Unity Free is awesome, and there's plenty of games released with it, which then earned the developers a Pro licence. If you can't afford it straight away, you pretty much make games with Unity Free and sell them to earn for a Pro licence. Or you make assets and sell on the Asset Store, or hire your self out as a freelancer. Its all good. The Pro features are mostly graphical with some of them being advanced stuff, which you probably won't even need for your first project, or you can replace them with plugins from the Asset Store.
     
  10. NahirKaSai

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    Aside from simply putting money into a project to make it look more professional, the majority of the bonuses of Pro are indeed graphical. Some of which can be a little annoying, but you have to remember that Unity Free is just that, a free version of Unity. I recommend looking at the license comparison if you have not already done so.

    http://unity3d.com/unity/licenses

    Also, in regards to payment, as long as you don't make $100,000 profit from your games released in the last fiscal year, you can release the games freely. (To the best of my knowledge)
    If you want to make a profit later on I suggest using a digital distribution service, such as Steam Greenlight or something similar. Keep in mind however that Greenlight has an upfront fee of $100.00 and I imagine most other services also have some kind of service fee.
     
  11. Deon-Cadme

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    The short answer is; you are only limited by your own imagination ;)

    Features that you do not get with free can be replaced with some hard work, they will be better/worse then those that come with Unity Pro but it can be done. I'd say that the biggest drawback with free is actually the fact that there are some nice extensions in the asset store that requires the pro version.

    Also, a good engine doesn't need a big game to prove itself, that is just some vague confirmation. You actually need experience to judge these things because the biggest game engine on the market could still be the worst game engine for your project :)

    No, Unity is currently one of the best on the market. Its strengths are simplicity, prototyping, multi-platform support and awesome community etc. It got all the bells and whistles that you could want even as a big developer ;)
     
  12. GarBenjamin

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    I couldn't care less about the Unity logo shooting out at start-up. Probably because I (and I would think every computer or console game player) is used to seeing even multiple splash screens at startup. Some show powered by NVidia ( physics I think) and so forth. If anything I think your average game player would think hmmm... they must be somebody to be able to show the Unity logo in their game. Must be some association between them.
     
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  13. Taschenschieber

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    Yeah, but now compare the Nvidia vanity plate with the Unity vanity plate. One of them is a short, memorable and very dynamic animation with a fitting slogan and jingle, the other one looks like a lazy PowerPoint slide and doesn't have any sound whatsoever. Guess which is which!

    I have literally seen noncommercial Flash games whose makers had better vanity plates than Unity has.

    Also, Nvidia isn't associated with such high-quality products as "Air Control", though UT is hardly to blame for making an engine that can be used for bad games and there's a lot of drivel made with UE4 or other engines as well.
     
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  14. 0tacun

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    No, unfortunately the Unity logo has not a good reputation under gamers due to so many bad looking games which were build with the free version and had to show the logo.
    "Man this game looks as if it was built with Unity!"
    And that is quite an issue.

    I think many people requested to make the splash screen cooler and/or let you choose a set of logos which suits better to your game.

    The current splashscreen does look ugly and unbelievable cheap in comparison to the competition.
     
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  15. Zeblote

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    • It's ugly.
    • It's boring.
    • Players associate it with "crap game incoming".
     
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  16. Taschenschieber

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    Maybe UT should change their licensing. If you want to show the Unity logo in your game, you have to buy Pro. In Free, the splash screen will read "Made with Inform7".
     
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  17. orb

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    I hate annoying, lengthy videos when starting a game. UT are being nice with their short, simple logo splash screen.
     
  18. Ryiah

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    Most games allow you to quickly skip them though.
     
  19. Taschenschieber

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    Also, doesn't the Unity logo just stay on as long as it needs to before the first scene is initialized?
     
  20. orb

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    You'll get different opinions on that due to people having different game collections ;)

    It's actually amazing that UT managed to negotiate all that middleware (Umbra, Beast, FMOD, PhysX, Enlighten, SpeedTree etc.) to not require their logos on a splash screen.
     
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  21. Andy-Touch

    Andy-Touch

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    So if the Unity splashscreen looked more polished and sexier, Free users would be happier? What sort of thing would you prefer to have, thats different from the standard black background/white text?
     
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  22. AndyLL

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    If true wouldn't it be easy to have an empty scene which would result in a minimal showing of the unity logo and display your own splash screen while loading the real 1st scene?
     
  23. StarManta

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    The engine itself must be loaded. That's no small task.
     
  24. Taschenschieber

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    @ Andy Touch: A jingle would be cool, doesn't even need to have too flashy. There should be some more animation. The logo should follow the Unity trademark usage guidelines. Maybe a choice between white/black and black/white would be nice. And the logo really needs to be more high-res, it doesn't really look sharp on the current splash screen.
     
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  25. Andy-Touch

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    Personally, a jingle could detract from the initial first-impressions of the game. If I sat down to play something like Silent Hill, a jingle could break the initial tone. If it did have a jingle, id like to think that developers could have the option to turn it off if they want. I agree with all of your other points though. :)

    BTW, I have circulated an email around internally suggesting changing the splashscreen, with some comments and criticisms from this thread; ill let you know if its being planned. :)
     
  26. Ryiah

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    How about multiple splash screens to choose from?
     
  27. Andy-Touch

    Andy-Touch

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    I agreed with this:
    Perhaps some other options too? What sort of graphics would you feel compliment a general 'Powered By Unity' splash-screen, that is better than our current one?
     
  28. Taschenschieber

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    I'm not an artist, but something like a quick "slideshow" of some of the better Unity promo images (like the mask person for the Unity 5 teaser on the homepage or the SciFi racers from the Editor splash) leading up to the Unity logo, followed by a fade to black, might look pretty awesome. But it would also be pretty intrusive, so that should not be the only option.

    That might also help to dispell the notion that every game made in Unity is drivel like Air Control.
     
  29. lorenalexm

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    @Andy Touch I don't know if I have simply overlooked this, but please at bare minimum, provide the option to choose between a white or black background for the splash screen.
     
  30. 0tacun

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    @Andy Touch : It is not to change the logo to make Unity free users happier. It is how your company wants to be perceived!
     
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  31. Taschenschieber

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    ...well, it's a bit of both, actually.
     
  32. im

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    Unity Free is not limiting. the limit is how far does your imagination go...
     
  33. Ryiah

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    If that were true Unity Pro would never sell.
     
  34. Devil_Inside

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    Is there actually any proof that the logo affects in any way the impressions of the game? I can hardly imagine it does..
    Screenshots and videos on the appstore give the first impression. People install the game, see the logo and then what? Quit?
    Even if the logo has bad reputation, but your game is actually good, I think you'll be able to actually surprise the players with the above average quality. If your game is S***, than it's your fault. Stop blaming Unity logo for your failures, because a mega-animated-logo-with-sound won't make your game more successful and won't stop the player from uninstalling your game. All it can do is actually have the opposite effect, when after a really nice logo there is a S***ty game.
     
  35. angrypenguin

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    I don't care what the logo looks like so much as I do about how I can present it. In the sting sequence for Master Thief all of the logos swipe in and out... except for the Unity one, which hard crashes in and out at the start purely because that's all Unity will let me do with it.

    Check out something like Republique (I think), on the other hand, and the logo is included in a way more consistent with the rest of the game that makes the whole thing look far more slick.

    The challenge, of course, is that it's difficult to enforce the presence of the logo unless it's built in by default, and if it's built in by default it has to be in as generic a manner as possible. Perhaps at least fading in and out would be nice?
     
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  36. Kaji-Atsushi

    Kaji-Atsushi

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    I'm sure someone in Unity's graphics department can give the Unity Splash logo a repolishing.

    Even a cleaner/shaven/flat looking Unity Splash screen would be an improvement. Much like how the Unity's website has recently improved. It just gives it a fresher look. Including complex animations or sounds is a bit of an overkill and a distraction though.
     
  37. welby

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    There's always the slick light sheen across the logo bit.
    Maybe an animated cube( since the logo is basically that) wipe past camera , land, and spin to a halt and resolve as the graphic.
     
  38. im

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    you can get just about everything that is missing in asset store. sure its not 100% the same, and it may take a little more effort and result may not be as good, but so far ive survived without it and ive saved $1500 which ive put into assets...
     
  39. mh114

    mh114

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    Just mirror what you have on the webplayer builds: simple black logo on white (with reversed option, of course), probably with a higher resolution than it is in currently. Simple, nice and clean. :)
     
  40. Ryiah

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    How much have you spent on those assets though? You aren't really saving the full $1,500 if you are having to purchase assets to do the same thing as Pro.
     
  41. angrypenguin

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    This really depends on the game you're making. For instance, if it's navigation you need then there's plenty of great options. On the other hand, if it's RenderTextures* you need... getting engine level support is really the only option.

    * I'll pre-emptively point out that I said "RenderTextures" and not "image effects" before someone points out that there are free-license compatible image effects on the store.
     
  42. Ryiah

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    Which to be fair the ReadPixels method might work but it will be a lot worse. Both in terms of speed and quality. Speed because you're passing the data from the framebuffer to system memory and then into a texture. Quality because you can only do this so many times.

    RenderTextures, by comparison, has little to no cost as you're essentially changing the location of the framebuffer.
     
  43. ChrisSch

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    Something animated maybe? Like the logo coming together, and then glowing out luxor lights for a sec. The whole thing shouldn't take longer than a couple seconds tho. A sound isn't necessary in my opinion.
    Ofc include the current default as an option too if possible.

    I don't associate Unity with bad games, I'm sort of proud to display Unity's logo before my game starts, and I nod approvingly. But then again I'm a developer and gamer, not just a gamer, so I know that Unity is capable of greatness, but gamers are mostly exposed to crappy unfinished games made with Unity Free, so I understand they can associate it with "bad game incoming" sort of thought.
     
  44. im

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    Yes I use asset store profiler, navigation and even effects that I inexpensively picked up in asset store and/or free ones that you can find here or in wiki.

    Sure the profiler I use is not as powerful as the one that Unity comes with, but it does it job.

    And actually the navigation that I got is way better I think much more features and powerful.

    And sure the way that I found here in the forums to do image effects result in up to 50% framerate hit since I have to do it on cpu, but in all honestly so far I have not needed to do image effects.

    So while I didn't save the whole $1500 I did save a good part of it for assets.

    Again this is not something I would advice to everybody, but if you just want to create great games all you need is Indie because Unity has given indie developers amazing value.

    If you want to do more and if you have income from it per the license and for the added features you need to get Pro.

    My stuff I don't make a penny, most people don't ever see it, so far personal consumption with friends, but if I ever were to start making money on it I would certainly buy Pro.

    Actually if Unity did Unreal/Crytek subscription like deal, not current subscription deal, I would probably switch and they would make some money off me.

    But until something changes I'm sticking with Indie and putting my money towards fun assets, like you find in the asset store, that I can play with and have some fun...
     
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  45. TheValar

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    Aralon Sword and Shadow, a 3d open world rpg for mobile platforms was, I believe, developed with Unity free. I was also going to mention Thomas Was Alone but someone already did above.

    These are good examples of very successful and polished titles built with Unity free. It's really not all that limiting as long as you design and plan with the constraints in mind.
     
  46. hippocoder

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    No, for as long as the logo is associated with poor visuals, the logo will be devalued. I believe that the choice of engine does matter to hardcore gamers. They have had a lot of good times with games which have displayed the Frostbite, Crytek or Unreal logo on the front. Engines matter to a niche set of gamers. Casual gamers won't care.

    That's just my opinion but I don't feel comfortable using the same logo as the free version of Unity. I want to distance myself as far as possible from the free version of Unity. Of course I could opt for showing no logo at all, but if the option for an animated or better 'pro' logo or even a premium logo for top quality titles were available I'd probably opt for it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  47. Gigiwoo

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    Shouldn't the splash screen be a think of beauty that Pro users WANT to include? I think so, and I'm a pro user. I'm also a user of Android Free. With 300 developers, there's no reason the Unity splash screen should be so ugly. It's just sloppy marketing.

    Gigi
     
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  48. hippocoder

    hippocoder

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    Yeah. While it's the logo of the company, I'm not sure anyone did a study to figure out if the logo was actually attractive (it isn't). It didn't matter before but now Unity is on the rise, these little things matter more than they used to.
     
  49. ForgottenCheese

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    As a free user, I really don't find the splash logo that bad. It's simple and is only there for a second or two on a phone.
     
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  50. dogzerx2

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    The most important thing about Unity is that it has a very convenient functionality. It's very freaking solid, doesn't crash (well not for me at least), has great docs, and a huge community that knows all about making games, and millions of pre-answered questions all over the internet. I haven't found anything that gets close to Unity.

    Making games is a lotta work...and if you ask me, any one man army, or small team, should stick to Unity, it has the tools you need to go from A to B without much hassle or having to be a programming genius.

    If you just thought about making games yesterday, you'll still need to learn basic programming, I wont lie to you... it'll take some time. But I don't think other tool will get you closer to the goal of becoming a game developer.
     
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