5 reasons to rush to Unity 3D

Two major players in the OpenSim community have recently joined ReactionGrid in promoting the Unity 3D platform.

In addition to ReactionGrid’s Jibe environment, we now also have Second Learning’s Unifier environment, and a product from Tipodean to convert OpenSim regions to Unity scenes.

Jibe starts at $50 a month, Unifier at $40 a month, and Tipodean’s conversion is a one-time fee starting at $2,000 for the first region — subsequent conversions cost less.

Linlithgow Palace Kitchen in Second Places' Unifier virtual environment. The fire is particularly realistic, and the controls are easy and responsive.

Here are four reasons why it might be worth investing in the move:

1. Unity 3D is great for end users. It’s simple to install, requiring just the Unity 3D plugin — and 67 million people already have it on their computers. You give them the URL of the world, they load it up in their browser, and they’re in. Some 500,000 companies are already using Unity, including  Coca-Cola, Disney, Electronic Arts, LEGO, Microsoft, NASA, Nickelodeon, Ubisoft, US Army, and Warner Bros. Check out some Unity 3D games here.

2. It’s simple to use. There are no confusing menus or keyboard commands or other distractions.  They can walk. They can talk. They can sit. They can text chat. The objects can be animated and interactive. What else is needed?

3. If your company is running a simple environment — say, offering a virtual tour of your new office building or museum — and don’t need a full-featured multi-user virtual world platform, then you can just embed the Unity 3D player on your own website, just as you would upload and embed a photo or video. The basic license is free, and gives you a lot of functionality — the pro license is a flat $1,500, no annual fees. An unlimited number of users can stop by and access the environment —  as many as your Website can handle. There is even a simple multi-user option when one user can invite others into their scene.

4. For a fully-featured multi-user virtual world platform both Jibe and Unifier offer responsive and easy to use environments.

5. Everything is mesh-based right from the start. Objects and animations are more realistic — and there is a wealth of material available, both free and commercial, in the form of mesh.

 Bonus reason: For an extra $400, Unity 3D lets you publish your 3D environments to the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices if you’re running the scene on your own. (If you’re using Jibe or Unifier, check with the vendor to find out when support for mobile devices becomes available.) ReactionGrid, for example, says that “Jibe is definitely on the way to mobile devices.”


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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

5 Responses

  1. peyoteshort@gmail.com' @PeyoteShort says:

    Only thing holding me back is the plugin doesn't work in Linux. Opensim has a half-dozen linux clients.

  2. zatzai@zatzai.com' ZATZAi says:

    It certainly has potential, especially being a relatively simpler browser plugin in order to draw in more casual users. But it seems most VWs that opt to use Unity do so in lew of a more traditional client rather than in concert with (Which I think limits retention possibilities as people will eventually want to be able to do more advanced things than is possible with the typical Unity 3D interface).

    That, and this is just my own preference, but I've just never liked the way Unity 3D renders avatars, I honestly think it looks worse than SL avatars (So long as the user customized their SL look at all).

  3. @iliveisl says:

    these are good reasons and perhaps once "Enclave Harbour" is done, this would make a tion of sense

    but i confess that my paradigm is that, like the real world, the virtual world continues to evolve so it is hard for me to imagine that Enclave Harbour will ever be done. but if i think of it as an image, just one that you can walk around in, that makes it easier to imagine it being "done" amnd then future changes would be like editions of a book!

  4. marek@i-evaluation.com' marek says:

    Great post! I found it while writing Unity games and Facebook, 3d part of Game Development with Unity3d and Facebook series.

    Good news is that as of now there is 163 millions unity plugins installed. Bad news is that it is still small percentage of people with flash web plugin. I think many of us (developers and producers) await for that proportion to change.