Unity now comes with ProBuilder built in for free
Unity Technologies has acquired ProCore, creator of popular modelling/level design system ProBuilder, snapping system ProGrids, and sculpting, painting and scattering tool Polybrush.
All three are now available free to Unity subscribers, including those on Personal plans: ProBuilder comes built into the Unity 2018.1 beta, while the other tools are free in the Unity Asset Store.
Adds tools originally sold for around $150 to Unity
The acquisition adds software worth around $150 to Unity: the price of ProCore’s old product bundle comprising ProBuilder, ProGrids and now-deprecated tools QuickDecals, QuickBrush and QuickEdit.
ProCore developers Gabriel Williams and Karl Henkel have also joined Unity Technologies.
ProBuilder: an intuitive modelling and level design tool, used on a range of commercial games
First released in 2012, ProBuilder provides a “unique hybrid” of 3D modelling and level design tools.
It is designed to enable users to quickly prototype and playtest game assets – ranging from terrain features to vehicles and weapons – complete with collision geometry, trigger zones and nav meshes.
Features include a set of manual modelling and UV editing tools – there’s a nice option to adjust UV placement directly on the model – and a library of parametric objects, like stairs.
Sister tool ProGrids provides a grid-based asset alignment and snapping system that helps to eliminate mesh gaps during level design, and can be used for greyboxing in ProBuilder.
Polybrush: sculpt, paint and scatter assets directly inside Unity
Unity has also acquired Polybrush, ProCore’s work-in-progress sculpting, painting and scattering tool.
It provides basic options for brush-based sculpting – though it only works on objects and terrain sections, not entire terrains – for painting vertex colours or blend textures, and scattering detail meshes.
ProCore’s other tools – ProGroups, QuickDecals, QuickEdit and QuickBrush – are no longer being actively developed, although the developers plan to “replace them with even better Unity-integrated functionality”.
A popular move among (most) Unity users
As you might expect, responses to the news within the Unity community have been almost uniformly positive.
The few complaints we’ve seen have come from people who recently bought the tools from ProCore itself: you get a refund if you did so on or after 1 January 2018, but not before.
However, there are some interesting comments on Unity’s blog post about whether ProBuilder is the most forward-looking level-building tool Unity could have acquired, which are worth checking out.
If you use Unity 5.6 or 2017, you can download ProBuilder free from the Unity Asset Store, although the store version will only receive bugfixes in future, not actual new features.
Both will be integrated directly into Unity “at some point in 2018”.