Unity has unveiled yesterday at the Google I/O 2010 an impressive demo. Using Google’s Native Client – a new Google sponsored open-source technology aimed at running native code on the web browser, the Unity team managed to run the Lego Star Wars game on Google Chrome without the need to install any plugin.
While this is great news in itself, it is only a shadow of the real benefits pursuing such a technology would bring.
As stated on the project’s homepage, one of the main objectives of Native Client is OS portability. You hear that right:
Unity games are coming to Linux!
I was able to confirm this with the Unity developers. Here’s proof.
The future is bright for Unity, who thanks to native client, may end up maintaining a unique web player codebase while maximizing OS portability. Google might just have been able to justify the existence of a Unity Player for Linux, since the added cost of maintaining a Linux Web Player (or any additional OS) would be virtually inexistent.
Of course, both native client and the plugin-less Unity Web Player are very experimental, and will have to overcome quite a few obstacles (such as support for native client on IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera) before they can reach consumers’ hands. But if nothing else, we should applaud both Google and Unity for their ambitious objectives and stellar accomplishments.