Unity 3.5 Developer Preview: Expanding Horizons!

January 25, 2012 in Technology

Flashy Bots!

The recently released Unity Developer Preview is jam-packed with new features. Among the most exciting of these features are previews of two new export options for publishing to the web: Google Native Client and Flash.

In addition to leveraging users’ already-installed software to get them into your games even faster, these platforms will allow Unity developers to perform for a previously unreachable audience: Linux users!

Wait, what?

Thanks to the cross-platform nature of Google’s Native Client toolkit, Unity web players built using the Enable NaCl Support option will just work for Chrome users, regardless of whether they’re using Chrome on Linux, Windows, or Mac OSX. This makes the Chrome Web Store one of the first distribution channels to provide high-quality 3D games to all three major desktop platforms.

In addition, players making use of Unity’s new Flash export feature will also run in any Stage 3D-enabled browser, regardless of operating system. Linux users will take a moderate performance hit here, however, as Adobe has delayed Linux support for GPU-accelerated rasterization in Stage 3D. Nevertheless, an out-of-the-box Flash build of the Angry Bots demo looked great and ran smoothly on my Ubuntu workstation, at the cost of somewhat higher CPU usage.

We’re excited about these publishing options because they represent Unity’s first official support for Linux, an oft-requested feature.

How many people are we talking about?

Linux usage is notoriously difficult to track, since there’s no single point where cash gets exchanged for code, and is generally underreported. However, we do have a few relevant data points.

w3schools, a comprehensive online web development reference, keeps comprehensive statistics about their visitors’ operating system usage, as reported by browsers. In 2011, reported Linux usage has held steady between 5 and 6% (for comparison, reported MacOS usage is between 7 and 9%). Additionally, w3schools has been gathering these statistics for years, so it’s possible to see a general growth trend for Linux since it started with around 2% reported usage in 2003. Some have suggested that w3schools’s content biases its userbase toward more technical users who could be more likely than a random sampling of the general public to have adopted Linux, but there are clearly non-technical roads that lead directly to w3schools.

What does this mean for my game?

The Humble Indie Bundle, a series of pay-what-you-choose, independent game bundles that supports Linux, OSX, and Windows, reports that 20 to 35% (based on highly scientific pie chart estimation ;-)) of each bundle’s total revenue originates from Linux users. In addition, Linux users choose to pay an average of 100%+ more than Windows users, and about 50% more than OSX users. (Current statistics for HIB4 show an average payment of $10.29 for Linux, $7.42 for OSX, and $4.57 for Windows.) Other data points include 2D Boy, who reported that 17% of the sales in their pay-what-you-choose campaign for World of Goo came from Linux users, compared to 18% on OSX, with Linux users again choosing to pay substantially more than users on other platforms. Frictional Games reported in 2010 that 12% of sales for their Penumbra series were attributable to Linux users.

So, this means that you can realistically gain 12-35% revenue potential just by clicking the Enable NaCl Support checkbox before building your webplayer.

Show me the goods!

The Angry Bots demo has been on the Chrome Web Store for some time now – go check it out! Google also featured several Unity games (4 of the 7 games featured were built with Unity) in its recent Chrome Web Store trailer: Cordy, Pirates of New Horizons, Sleepy Jack, and Running Fred.

The Chrome Web Store is the first link every Chrome user sees when opening a new tab, so get your awesome games up there where 33.4% of all Internet users can’t miss them!

Comments (21)

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  1. The Global Digital

    April 9, 2012 at 4:14 pm / 

    such a great product !!

  2. Tak

    February 3, 2012 at 5:48 am / 

    Questions about WWW are beyond the scope of the article, and are more a topic for http://forum.unity3d.com
    However: WWW is already supported on Native Client. On Flash, it’s generally recommended to use Flash networking at this point.

  3. darkloy

    February 2, 2012 at 4:41 pm / 

    No response to the WWW Object ?

  4. Jason Amstrad..

    February 2, 2012 at 9:29 am / 

    Do not forget dynamic water for unity 3.5 !

  5. Tak

    February 1, 2012 at 5:24 am / 

    @Ian: I addressed that briefly in the post. If you don’t like w3schools’ statistics, please refer to the sales statistics in the next section instead.
    Apropos, the Humble Android Bundle released last night is showing approximately 25% of total revenue from Linux-reported sales.

  6. Ian

    January 31, 2012 at 6:12 pm / 

    I’d just like to point out that nobody uses w3schools as an unbiased source of statistics on platform and browser usage. Everyone knows they are skewed stats in terms of browser usage, so the rest of the data is not likely to be very balanced either.

  7. Mofuntu

    January 31, 2012 at 1:26 pm / 

    Great news!!!!!! Still have to wait for Firefox support, but sounds great to long term support for a OS I’m using at the moment: Ubuntu

  8. darkloy

    January 31, 2012 at 12:33 pm / 

    The WWW is really a big gap. Few games without webservice!
    Do you plan to add it to the final version?

  9. Anthony Thomas

    January 30, 2012 at 10:55 pm / 

    Will we still be unable to use the Editor in Linux?

  10. Tak

    January 30, 2012 at 6:05 am / 

    Jack: This is the _first_ time that any Unity content has been able to run natively on GNU/Linux. Nobody is claiming that this is full Linux support, nor that this is the full extent of support that will ever be provided.

  11. chengqingbao

    January 30, 2012 at 5:11 am / 

    When u3d export project to flash,how to resolve Socket,WWW,Queue?

  12. mindlube

    January 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm / 

    @Unity- thanks for the metrics that’s pretty interesting :)

    @Jack, NaCl == NATIVELY. “Native Client is an open-source technology that allows you to build web applications that seamlessly execute native compiled code inside the browser.”
    Dont like the Chrome browser window? It’s open source, so it shouldnt be hard at all to modify chrome to just launch your game instead of a browser and make it appear standalone.

  13. Jack

    January 28, 2012 at 12:41 pm / 

    Wait. What? This is Unity’s official support for Linux?????!
    Through Google web browser and Flash? What about native Linux support?? This smells like scam.
    SO what if I want to publish the game to Linux so it runs NATIVELY (without running it on browser??)

  14. Jordan Thompson

    January 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm / 

    Great job guys keep up the great work!

  15. Screenhog

    January 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm / 

    What are the limitations of NaCl export? Are you supposed to be able to export anything you made in Unity, or do we have similar limitations to, say, Flash export?

  16. Nicolas Musset

    January 27, 2012 at 5:15 am / 

    Next step is editor and standalone player support on Linux? Can’t wait to see it coming ;)

    Keep up the good work!

  17. Joshua

    January 27, 2012 at 12:46 am / 

    Thumbs up for Unity3D.

  18. Brian Lockett

    January 26, 2012 at 11:32 pm / 

    I love you, Unity. And I love Google. This may just be the best combination since peanut butter and chocolate. I want to make games with Unity that’ll make you proud!

  19. ahL

    January 26, 2012 at 9:21 pm / 

    woooooooooooooooooow! =) amazing! i love it! gud job unity!

  20. peter worrall

    January 26, 2012 at 9:20 pm / 

    Excellent.. we are about to start a schools pilot with our software .. now we can add the single (ultra modern school) linux user to the list.. They will be happy.. well done Unity!! thank you

  21. stagiaires in suriname

    January 26, 2012 at 9:23 am / 

    This will open up Unity for a lot more developers .
    Nice work Unity .
    Thumbs up for you guys and keep up the good work .

    Stagiaires in suriname .

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