Download the new free Unigine Community Edition
Unigine has launched the Unigine 2 Community SDK: a new free edition of its high-end real-time 3D engine available for academic and non-profit work, and for commercial projects with revenue under $100,000/year.
The move makes Unigine, previously mainly used for enterprise-level simulation, engineering and construction projects, far more accessible for game development, VFX and architectural visualisation.
The Community Edition features the same core engine and editor as the enterprise editions, although it lacks many of their unique features, including 64-bit precision and direct import of CAD and GIS data.
A high-end real-time 3D engine for enterprise-scale engineering and simulation projects
First released in 2005, Unigine began as a more general-purpose game engine, but since 2012 has focused on enterprise markets, including simulation, training, engineering and city planning.
Unique features of the commercial editions – the $5,995/year Engineering SDK, and the top-of-the-range Sim SDK, which is priced on demand – include 64-bit precision for world space co-ordinates.
That means that, unlike most standard game engines, which use 32-bit precision, Unigine can simulate planet-scale scenes, rather than the much more restricted size of a typical game world.
Other enterprise-focused features include native import of GIS data and common CAD data formats, support for OpenGL as well as DirectX, and Qt integration for embedding into proprietary tools.
New Community Free edition lacks enterprise features, but is suitable for games and VFX use
None of those features are available in the new Community Free edition: by comparison, a much more conventional engine, with 32-bit precision and data import restricted to DCC formats like FBX and glTF.
However, it does feature a good range of toolsets for entertainment work, including terrain, vegetation and water systems, particle and multiphysics simulation and AI pathfinding.
Materials, lighting and rendering features include PBR shading, screen-space ray traced global illumination, and a range of shadow, anti-aliasing and post-processing options.
The Community Free edition supports a range of input devices, including gamepads and Vive VR trackers, and outputs to standard VR headsets, including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, OpenVR and WMR hardware.
According to Unigine, both Community and enterprise editions will be developed in parallel, with major releases every three months: the launch of the free edition coincides with the Unigine 2.11 update.
Usage restrictions and online-only product support
As well as non-commercial and academic work, the Community Free edition is licensed for use on commercial projects: indie projects with revenue or funding under $100,000 in the past 12 months.
Larger commercial projects can use the Community Pro edition, which has no revenue cap, and which is priced similarly to Unity Pro.
For both editions, product support is online-only, via the Unigine forum.
Use of both Community editions is also specifically forbidden in many of the key target industries for the enterprise editions, including defence, gambling, energy, and mining, oil and gas.
Pricing and system requirements
Unigine 2.11 is available for 64-bit Windows 7+ and Linux (kernel 3.0+). Both engine and editor are hardware-agnostic: you can find a list of supported AMD, Intel and Nvidia GPUs here.
The Community Free edition is free to use for non-commercial work and commercial projects with revenue or funding under $100,000 in the past 12 months.
The Community Pro edition has no revenue cap, with subscriptions costing $180/year, including VAT. You can find a feature comparison table with the enterprise editions here.