On having an ambitious vision

We just announced upcoming 2D tools for Unity 4.3, and one of responses I’ve seen is “I am rapidly running out of reasons not to use Unity”. Which reminds me of some stories of a few years back.

Perhaps sometime in 2006, I was eating shawarmas with Joachim and discussing possible futures of Unity. His answer to my question, “so what’s your ultimate goal with Unity” was along the lines of,

I want to make it so that whenever anyone starts making a game, Unity will be their first choice of tech.

Of course that was crazy talk, so my reaction was somewhere between “you know that’s going to be hard” and “good luck with that”. Fast forward to 2013 and the thought is not so crazy anymore. Of course not everyone has to use Unity, but quite many do consider and use it. My slightly pessimistic, pragmatic, probability-weighted thinking proved wrong.

Some time before that, in late 2005, I got an email from some David, asking if I’d want to join their company I’ve never heard about. The company made this engine, “Unity”, that I’ve never heard about; and it was Mac-only, and I’ve only seen a Mac before.

The email said:


We are building a game development suite called Unity. Unity is changing how small-to-medium developers create games. It is a power-tool combining the flexibility of Flash with all of the power of high-end game engines.

It’s on the market right now, and making a dent. Unity thrills people wonderfully, people find they are able to create stuff they only dreamt of before.

Our users are excited by extremely advanced technology combined with an intuitive editor. A flexible shader system, a unique completely automatic asset pipeline, Ageia physX (née Novodex), and publishing standalone Windows and OS X, and OS X web player with one click (and it actually just works).


Now, that was 2005. Unity was at version 1.1. No one besides Jon Czeck was probably using it; more or less.

Crazy fantasies from someone who’s somewhere between naïve and delusional? Yeah, sounds like it. So of course after a couple of exhanges I said “no” (but then they invited me to a gamejam, and I thought that while most likely nothing big will happen out of that, at least it will be fun…).

And now it’s 2013. And no matter if you like or dislike Unity, there’s no denying it is quite a thing, and perhaps changed the industry for better. A tiny bit at least. These crazy, ambitious ideas did come through.

Reminder for myself: probabilities and pragmatism do not always win. Gotta have goals that are beyond practical possibilities.