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Unity starts open source initiative

By Matthew Handrahan

Unity starts open source initiative

Wed 20 Aug 2014 5:01pm GMT / 1:01pm EDT / 10:01am PDT
DevelopmentUnite 2014

Test Tools and new GUI will be released under MIT license, with more engine components "in the pipeline"

Unity Technologies has stepped up its commitment to democratising game development by making key components of its ubiquitous engine open source.

At present, that applies to the Unity Test Tools and the engine's new graphical user interface system, which was demonstrated in the opening keynote of Unite 2014. The features will be available under the MIT/X11 license, giving users the freedom to "control, customise and extend" their functionality.

The source code for the components will be hosted on BitBucket, and Unity has prepared a guide for any interested open source contributors. The source for the Unity Test Tools is already available, with the GUI to follow.

"Beyond that, we don't have a concrete plan, but we have a lot of things in the pipeline," the company said in a statement. "These components will all be isolated from Unity in such a way that you can modify them and use your own modified version with the official public Unity release.

"Although Unity Technologies has been active in the open-source community for quite some time, this is the first time we'll be opening the source to components of Unity itself.

"We're excited to see what you do with it."

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Jessica Hyland Artist, Turbulenz Limited

465 2,098 4.5
This is really encouraging! I use Unity and I really like it, but it becomes painfully apparent fairly quickly that they have a lot of cruft; broken things that are never going to be fixed, long-standing low-priority bugs that make working with it a real pain sometimes. Opening parts of(and hopefully in time, most of) the source code to the community means that maybe these things will get fixed and I think it'll improve Unity as a whole.

I know a lot of developers who feel that having access to Unreal 4's source code is one of the biggest deciding factors between it and Unity. Hopefully Unity have realised this too.

Posted:2 years ago


Jordi Rovira i Bonet Lead Engineer, Anticto

38 46 1.2
@Jessica ...and they expect the community to fix the bugs for them? I understand developers will try to fix the bugs that are blocking them, of course, but not much more.

Moreover i believe that the kind of developer that uses Unity is not in the high-technical end of the spectrum, but i may be wrong.

It is a good step of course, but...

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Jordi Rovira i Bonet on 21st August 2014 12:11pm

Posted:2 years ago


Jessica Hyland Artist, Turbulenz Limited

465 2,098 4.5
Unity is used in a lot of big game studios as well as by tiny indies and hobbyists, so I think there are plenty of technically-minded people who could do some great things with access to the source.

I don't like the idea of open-sourcing being used just as a way to crowdsource bug fixes, but I think if Unity won't do it themselves then I'm happy for another dev to step up.

Posted:2 years ago

There are some bugs that I have to contend with frequently that get zero attention in the forums. If the community has to be relied upon to fix these problems then it's better than them not being fixed at all :)

Posted:2 years ago


Ruben Monteiro Engineer

126 288 2.3
Moreover i believe that the kind of developer that uses Unity is not in the high-technical end of the spectrum, but i may be wrong.
You are.

Posted:2 years ago


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