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The viability of Linux as a gaming platform continues to grow, with today’s news that Unity 3D (no, not that one), one of the most popular games engines used by developers of all calibres, will be supporting Linux.

The self-described ‘intuitive and flexible development platform’ allows games developers to “author once” but “deploy everywhere”. This move will allow gaming titles created using the development suite for Windows or iOS the option to be exported for use on Linux, too.

With Unity becoming a popular tool in the creation of “AAA gaming titles”, this introduction could pave the the release of mainstream gaming titles on Linux.

Linux = 10%

Interestingly, Unity Technologies say adding support for Linux will open up titles developed on the platform an estimated ‘10% of the game-hungry PC market’.

Even the Linux share breakdowns from the Humble Bundle collections aren’t quite as generous as Unity Tech’s ‘10%’ statistic, but as we’re in an unquestioning mood we’ll take it.

Shadowngun - just one example of a unity game that could come to Linux

‘Smart User Base’

In an interview with GamesIndustry International, Unity co-founder and CEO David Helgason elaborated on the decision to add support for Linux further, saying:

“Linux is something we’ve had a lot of questions about from the indie community, and the Humble Indie Bundle has showed that there’s a business on Linux. So we’re trying to commercialise on something we’ve been working on for a long time internally – we actually had some of our engineers kind of doing it in their spare time and on weekends.

We’ll be the first mass market engine to support Linux, and it’s not the biggest user-base, but it’s a very passionate group of people that are willing to pay, they’re smart, and they really love the platform.”

Continuing:

“I actually think our move will be a huge boost to Linux on the desktop. The most important ecosystems of our lifetime such as Windows, OS/2, and later Facebook and iOS, have been made, or undone, by having games, or not. It’s too early to say just how big the impact will be, but I’m excited.”

Other Features

Unity 4 is set to ship with a wide range of new features, options and support, including:

  • Shuriken particle system supports external forces, bent normals and automatic culling
  • 3D texture support
  • Navigation: dynamic obstacles and avoidance priority
  • Major optimizations in UnityGUI performance and memory usage
  • Remote Unity Web Player debugging
  • New Project Window workflows
  • Iterative lightmap baking
  • Refined component-based workflows
  • Extensible inspectors for custom classes
  • Improved Cubemap import pipeline
  • Geometry data improvements for huge memory and performance savings
  • Meshes can be constructed from non-triangle geometry – render points & lines efficiently
  • Search, live preview and buy Asset Store assets from the Project Window

Many of the above features will be demonstrated at the Unite event ion Amsterdam later this year (August 22nd – 25th).

The full press release for the Unity 4 update can be found behind below (sorry, removed).

Marketwire, Via John Pugh

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