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The State Of Unity On Linux

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We know that Unity is working towards bringing their editor over to Linux, and this little update on their official website slipped past me.

Previously the only real word we had was a developers personal blog, but having it on the official Unity website does seem a little more concrete now.

QuoteThe Linux port of Unity currently lives in an internally ‘forked’ repo. Our plan is currently to prepare an early experimental build for you from this fork (that is kept more or less in sync with Unity’s mainline development branch) that you will be able to try out. Based on how that experiment goes, we’ll figure out if it’s something we can sustain as an official port alongside our Mac and Windows editors (the Linux runtime support was also released as a preview initially, due to concerns about support and the fragmentation of Linux distributions, and the support burden turned out to be very low, despite a very significant percentage of Linux games on Steam being made with Unity, so I’m hopeful; we’ll have to see how it goes).


The main thing here is that Linux support for the editor may never be official, that's how they are wording it right now anyway. They did say this is how the Linux runtime (Unity games on Linux) started, so hopefully if enough people use the editor it will become a proper part of the Unity family like the runtime.

They also included some screenshots of Unity running on Ubuntu's Unity (more on the official post):
image
image

Exciting times to be a developer on Linux, so many choices!

Having the Unity editor on Linux, and the OpenGL improvements to come is going to make Unity a mighty fine option.
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Kristian 12 July 2015 at 1:08 pm UTC
The problem with this is that unlike with UE4 Unity doesn't give the community source code access. So the community can't help with this effort. If they decide this isn't worth pursuing internally it dies. If somone else then wants to pick it up, they can't. So lets hope it doesn't come go that.

But that bit about support costs on Linux is VERY VERY interesting!
melkemind 12 July 2015 at 1:15 pm UTC
Another problems is the sub-standard performance of Unity games on Linux. Wouldn't a Linux developer choose an engine that runs better on their own platform?
M@GOid 12 July 2015 at 2:19 pm UTC
I think the performance depends too much in the developer fine tuning the game in Linux. For example, Android Assault Cactus (the standard in how a Early Access should be in Steam) is a Unity game and the performance is very good.

But another big problem in Unity is the control backend, witch is very bad and relies too much in the developer doing hacks to get things done. AAC for example, got issues with controls when they upgraded to Unity 5 some time ago. To me, a good engine should handle the very basic thing as controls in a way that the developers shouldn't have to worry about it.
Raven67854 12 July 2015 at 2:20 pm UTC
melkemindAnother problems is the sub-standard performance of Unity games on Linux. Wouldn't a Linux developer choose an engine that runs better on their own platform?

Unity Technologies is in the process of changing the way they handle their GL render by unifying it some. Also they're adding in GL4.5 support which will only be supported on Windows/Linux. Something not even Unreal has. As UE4 only supports up to GL4.1.
liamdawe 12 July 2015 at 2:22 pm UTC
Raven67854
melkemindAnother problems is the sub-standard performance of Unity games on Linux. Wouldn't a Linux developer choose an engine that runs better on their own platform?

Unity Technologies is in the process of changing the way they handle their GL render by unifying it some. Also they're adding in GL4.5 support which will only be supported on Windows/Linux. Something not even Unreal has. As UE4 only supports up to GL4.1.

Indeed, that is something I look forward to. I do hope some developers update to the Unity versions that will have the new GL render in like some are doing with Unity 5 now. I fear it's a quite a while away though, and not many developers are even going to Unity 5 even now.
Raven67854 12 July 2015 at 2:25 pm UTC
liamdawe
Raven67854
melkemindAnother problems is the sub-standard performance of Unity games on Linux. Wouldn't a Linux developer choose an engine that runs better on their own platform?

Unity Technologies is in the process of changing the way they handle their GL render by unifying it some. Also they're adding in GL4.5 support which will only be supported on Windows/Linux. Something not even Unreal has. As UE4 only supports up to GL4.1.

Indeed, that is something I look forward to. I do hope some developers update to the Unity versions that will have the new GL render in like some are doing with Unity 5 now. I fear it's a quite a while away though, and not many developers are even going to Unity 5 even now.

The new render is already an option on Windows. Should be out by end of the year for everyone. Of course when games will support it? Haha no idea .
melkemind 12 July 2015 at 3:56 pm UTC
Distance is now updating to Unity 5. I don't know anything about the technical details, but you can try the experimental build. I did, however, decide to test it on both Linux and Windows. With high settings (and a few on medium) with real-time reflections off, I was getting between 39 and 64 fps on Linux. With the same machine on Windows, everything maxed (except real-time reflections on medium), I was consistently over 100 fps.

The question, as stated above of course, is whether that's something the devs themselves can fix or if it's something that needs fixing in Unity. One could blame it on the drivers, OpenGL or Linux itself, but that doesn't hold weight when you see how well certain more graphically demanding games run on it.

Anyway, maybe having more devs who are familiar with Linux working on Unity games will help educate people on how to improve performance on it.
Xpander 12 July 2015 at 4:03 pm UTC
unity5 is performing pretty good imo.. ofc it could be better,but its decent enough already.
for example when Rust went from unity 4.6 to 5 the performance boost was almost 2x + also the visuals got upgraded a lot
Rust actually runs 60+ fps on all highest settings most of the time.. except when lots of buildings nearby.. and it looks pretty good also
same thing happened with Beasts of Prey... nearly 2x perf boost (this game seem to be abandoned now though)
this high perf boost with unity5 might come with the thing that im on AMD CPU.. which is known to suck at singlecore performance and unity4.x games all used only 1 core, while unity5 games use 2 or more cores.


Last edited by Xpander at 12 July 2015 at 4:03 pm UTC
StianTheDark 12 July 2015 at 4:29 pm UTC
I would be excited, but Godot is so amazing that I forgot Unity even existed. There's no chance in me using Unity anyway due to it's closed nature.
ProfessorKaos64 12 July 2015 at 4:33 pm UTC
It's quite exciting to see these engines support Linux in varying aspects, some totally, some partly. It may take some time, but Linux gaming is definitely shaping up more and more these days.
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