An old colleague of mine recently asked what I thought of Unity, I gave him my answer, but thought I would share part of it in the blog too. For starters I would like to say I really like Unity, and think that it is moving in a great direction, but thought I would try and give an objective view of what I see as the current status of the engine.
Unity3D is basically a good generalist indie game engine. It fills the niche of being cheap easy entry to game development for multiple platforms. However, because it is a generalist engine and does not offer the source code (without a special license) a developer has very little control over the low-level parts of the game engine, or optimizing or expanding any low-level behaviour. This can result in creating really nasty hacks in trying to get the desired functionality out of Unity, but often ends up being feasibly impossible to achieve certain things. Most games focus on what Unity does offer, and the result of this is that many games created using Unity end up looking and playing similar to other games created with Unity. Unity is constantly improving, so you may eventually see some AAA titles out there, but for now the games are mostly indie with a few slightly larger games, (although I suspect a few of the larger games have also bought the source code license) see: http://unity3d.com/gallery/made-with-unity/game-list. As for development experience, I have worked at companies that use Unity since 2007, and think that the best approach for success with Unity is to work in a very small tightly nit team of programmers and artists/designers. In this approach, the programmers create some standalone script components and the artists/designers apply these scripts to gameObjects to have them bounce around and interact with each other. The best paradigm to I can think of for Unity development is to treat Unity as a big scripting engine: you don’t really run Unity, instead you write scripts that Unity runs.
Overall, I see a bright future for Unity, and think it is moving in an interesting direction. Hear is hoping of another 5 years (and more) of Unity fun.
Bye for now,