When I first started hearing about Unity and researching it, a lot of people were saying that its nothing more than a design tool and that people were better off sticking with XNA or Monobuild to create their game. It took a couple of days to really start analyzing the whys and what ifs.
First it is true, Unity is an engine... one that seems to be wrapped around an XNA-like framework. The thing is, the more that I think about it, the better that sounds because quite honestly I have discovered that I am not a fan of having to write engines.
I've never written a 3D engine. Most of me is not excited about having to write one. There is the cool-factor of having done one that would be nice, but really my main interest is putting the ideas in my head on screen and sharing them. Unity lets me do that.
I was able to do a couple of simple shooters in Unity in about 1/60th the time it would take me to do in XNA. The downfalls are that I don't understand the matrix math underneath the hood but honestly, I don't care about that.
As such, I will be moving forward with using the Unity 3D engine for the projects I have going on for the forseeable future.
There are two main projects that I am toying with at the moment. Both are ideas I have had for a long time but the lack of time and willingness to commit to writing an engine were the roadblocks that have kept them off the table for me.
The first is Project Genesis which I dub the beginning for me as a game developer using 3D engine to develop a game. Genesis is a mix of space dogfighting ala the old XWING series of the 90s mixed with galactic management akin to Civilization mixed with a little EVE. I would ultimately like the end product to be able to support mutliplayer... as that was the initial catalyst for wanting to do this... dogfighting with (or against) your friends!
It is also a sandbox in that the galaxy is never the same twice. It can quickly be fairly ambitious and large so to keep my scope down... Project Genesis Phase 0.1a will simply be about piloting a transport from a moon orbiting station, around dockyards with the earth in the backdrop.
To accomplish this, I have found an excellent set of assets found here: http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/147954-Space-Graphics-Toolkit-RELEASED
I am excited about this project and look forward to starting to roll it out.
The second project that i will be developing concurrently is much simpler but utilizes a different style of game. Whereas Genesis is about space combat and freedom of movement, Project Crucible is a virtual gaming table that has a ground and scenery and models that can move around on the scenery.
Project Crucible's end product will be a gaming table that utilizes basic pawns to play games such as Warhammer, Warhammer 40K, Flames of War, etc on. It will enforce no game rules, and will simply let you roll dice, move pawns, remove pawns, and have some basic effects. The idea with Crucible is to incorporate my own game system in with a campaign akin to the Total War series only Turn-Based combat instead of real time combat and where you build your empire up.
Both of these will have basic prototypes that I hope to kickstart to fund Unity PRO as well as more detailed assets. With Genesis that will be ship models, space station models, etc. With Crucible that will be the dozens of models needed for game pieces. There are some nice ones in the asset store right now that I am eyeing but these all cost money and I need a way to fund the project.
Exciting times ahead.