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Adobe Vs. Unity: The Future Of 3D Web Games
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Adobe Vs. Unity: The Future Of 3D Web Games


January 12, 2011 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 3 Next
 

And yet, Frima is using Unity's technology as well as Adobe's.

"Unity is a great product that we use for some of our projects," explains Couture. "The Flash player, however, has a huge advantage because of its existing distribution and trust. This is particularly true for free-to-play and social games. Installing software is a big obstacle in this market, especially when the key to success is to have the widest entry door into the game."

Unity is, of course, well aware of that hurdle it needs to overcome before it can do a better job of competing with Flash.

"Yes, Flash has this massive install base which is up in the high 90 percentile," acknowledges David Helgason, CEO of San Francisco-based Unity Technologies. "Which means that when you offer somebody a Flash game, you know that, say, 98 percent of the gamers will already have Flash installed.

"We, on the other hand, have approximately 40 million plug-ins out there which translates to just a few percent of however you estimate the world population of computers.

"More important is the installation success rate. Up until September when we launched Unity 3, our success rate was 60-70 percent, meaning that when you offered a Unity program to somebody, 60-70 percent of them would agree to install the plug-in but 30-40 percent would not."

Helgason attributes that reluctance to several factors: "Some people have just been told to beware plug-ins, while others have slow connections and can't be bothered to wait for it -- even though the plug-in is only 3MB. And some people are on closed networks or are working on PCs where they can't install stuff."

But, since September when Unity unveiled the new version of its game engine, the installation success rate has leaped to around 90 percent, Helgason claims, mainly because the former multi-step process has evolved into a one-click installation. "We're still gathering data on that," he says, "but developers have told us that they are seeing much better success rates."

Disregarding the plug-in issue, the Unity engine has fared particularly well due to its longevity, especially in its support of 3D; it's been around since 2005 when the original version was unveiled with 3D capabilities as well as its rich game tool set.

"The Unity engine has been around for five years, which means that we've been building our tools for quite a few years and there is a depth to them, an exactness and a polish that's really hard to achieve. And the tools are extremely well-documented," says Helgason. "That means books as well as a lot of sharing and knowledge going on in a very big community.

"Developers have appreciated that openness combined with a deep game focus. So while may lose some potential customers because of the plug-in issue, we gain others because of our very fast development times; developers get a significantly better experience in the browser with Unity than with Flash simply because it's very easy to put in really complex content and do really good game-specific stuff like physics, streaming, networking, and so on -- in addition to 3D -- that is somewhere between hard and impossible to do with Flash."


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