Unity – The Future of Browser Games
Traditionally, browser based MMORPGs were either text based or built using Adobe Flash or Shockwave. There are dozens of high quality browser games like RuneScape that utilize these methods, and they are still popular options. But a new platform for creating browser games has emerged. It offers developers a powerful and highly versatile all-in-one tool. That tool is Unity.
After several years in development, Unity Technologies released version 1.0.1 of their software on June 2005. Since then the platform has received continued updates and is now a powerful tool for creating 3D game worlds that can be launched on a browser using the Unity web plugin. Just how powerful is Unity? Consider that several major companies like EA and Cartoon Network have turned to it to create some of their latest online offerings. Let’s take a quick look at some of the top free to play browser games built using Unity.
Developer: Cartoon Network, Grigon Entertainment
Originally released in 2009 as pay to play game with a free trial, FusionFall went free to play on April 2010. The game is set the Cartoon Network universe and allows players to explore a world filled with all their favorite characters. An overarching plot takes players from one time period to another as the try to stop the evil Fuse from devastating Earth. FusionFall has great graphics, a fast paced combat system, and plenty of customization features. The ability to freely explore the detailed environments sets FusionFall apart even from most client MMORPGs.
Developer: Electronic Arts
EA has been making a big push into the free to play space of late. Their Phenomic studio is behind the MMORTS BattleForge and the browser based Lord of Ultima. Need for Speed World has just been released. But their first free to play game from the popular EA Sports studio is Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online. Launched straight from the browser, Tiger Woods Online is easily accessible and even saves players progress on a given course so they can return to it later. It’s not likely to appeal to gamers who aren’t already golfing fans, but the graphic quality is impressive.
Developer: Silverlode Interactive
Captains of DarkTide is the most recent free to play title by the studio behind the MMORTS Saga. Players control a ship and can sail around the seas in search for treasure and adventure. Recruit new crew members and equip more powerful cannons to increase combat prowess. Take on other players, or AI controlled monsters. While not quite as in-depth as other nautical MMORPGs, the graphic quality of DarkTide compares favorably with many client games.
The diversity of these three games shows what the Unity platform is capable of. Unity is not specifically designed for browser games. It can also be used to create offline games, games for mobile platforms, and even video games for Nintendo’s Wii console. Best of all, the standard version is free to download! This means homebrew enthusiasts or those interested in taking their hobby to the next level are free to dabble to their heart’s content. Unity allows would-be game designers to create their first project using a simple drag and drop editor. The ability to ‘test’ a project within the editor, and the inclusion of tons of premade content makes it easy to get started.
Have you experimented with game design using Flash or simple drag-and-drop editors like RPG Maker? Do you have the perfect MMORPG idea but never knew where to get started? Well Unity may be just the thing you’ve been waiting for!
By, Erhan Altay