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Unity vs three.js: What are the differences?

Introduction

Unity and three.js are both popular frameworks used in game development. However, they have significant differences that set them apart. In this comparison, we will explore six key differences between Unity and three.js.

  1. Platform and Compatibility: Unity is a powerful game engine that allows developers to create games for multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and many others. On the other hand, three.js is a JavaScript library that runs on web browsers, making it compatible with different operating systems and devices.

  2. Development Environment: Unity provides a comprehensive Integrated Development Environment (IDE) with a visual editor, scripting, and debugging tools, making it suitable for both beginners and experienced developers. In contrast, three.js primarily relies on coding within a text editor, requiring developers to have a strong understanding of JavaScript and WebGL.

  3. 3D Capabilities: Unity is known for its advanced 3D capabilities, offering features like real-time rendering, physics simulations, and animation tools. In comparison, while three.js also supports 3D graphics, it is more focused on utilizing the power of WebGL to create interactive 3D experiences within web browsers.

  4. Community and Resources: Unity has a large and active community of developers, providing extensive documentation, tutorials, forums, and asset stores filled with ready-made game assets. In contrast, three.js also has a dedicated community, but it is relatively smaller compared to Unity, resulting in fewer resources and support options.

  5. Ease of Use: Unity provides a visual editor, drag-and-drop functionality, and a wide range of built-in tools, making it easier for non-programmers to create games. On the other hand, three.js requires a deeper understanding of JavaScript, WebGL, and 3D concepts, making it more suitable for experienced developers.

  6. Cost: Unity offers a free version that allows developers to get started without any upfront cost. However, certain advanced features and platform deployment may require purchasing a license. In contrast, three.js is an open-source library, completely free to use, modify, and distribute.

In summary, Unity is a versatile game engine with multi-platform support, powerful 3D capabilities, and an extensive set of resources. On the other hand, three.js is a JavaScript library focused on creating interactive 3D experiences within web browsers, requiring a solid understanding of JavaScript and WebGL.

Decisions about three.js and Unity
norlin
Software Engineer / Game Developer at Norlin Games · | 7 upvotes · 87.4K views

When I started to learn game development, I've tried to use Unity multiple times because it's the most popular option. But never get it worked because of the clunky UI which is very hard to understand for a new user. After some time, I've decided to try UE4 despite there was a lot of rumors that it's "heavy" or requires an AAA team. And suddenly it clicked, everything works as I expecting, UI is clear and much more powerfull, no need to build custom tools to work on the game itself. Blueprints are very helpful for beginners, C++ has a lot of "syntax-sugar" - macroses, a lot of convenient in-engine types for everything. Later while working with Unreal, I've realized it has very consistent roadmap with constant improvements and adding new features. At the same time, each major version update is painless so you can upgrade your project during development to get new features. UE4 is free to use with the full list of features and you only have to pay royalty after getting your first $1 million from the project (and that's just the default case, you can always discuss custom license with an upfront fee, if you want to).

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Arthur Osipyan
Software Engineer at Value Industry · | 2 upvotes · 84.8K views

I chose Unity over Unreal Engine because Unity has a more user friendly UI for beginners looking to learn game development. Additionally, as someone who uses a lot of online resources to learn new languages and tools, I found a lot of tutorials covering game development with Unity as the core engine. This doesn't mean Unreal is not a great choice for game development, I just personally found learning game development much smoother with the amount of resources available with Unity.

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Pros of three.js
Pros of Unity
    Be the first to leave a pro
    • 16
      Because it's a powerful engine, you can build anything
    • 14
      C# language
    • 11
      Very Popular
    • 7
      Easy to Use
    • 6
      He Has A Free VErsion
    • 6
      Cross Platform
    • 5
      2nd Game Engine In The World
    • 4
      Good Choise
    • 4
      Very Large Showcase

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    Cons of three.js
    Cons of Unity
      Be the first to leave a con
      • 4
        Hard to get started with
      • 4
        Clunky UI
      • 4
        Closed source
      • 3
        No consistency with updates
      • 3
        Requires to build a lot of tools
      • 2
        Gigantic by being 9gb (thats what setup says)

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      - No public GitHub repository available -

      What is three.js?

      It is a cross-browser JavaScript library and Application Programming Interface used to create and display animated 3D computer graphics in a web browser.

      What is Unity?

      Unity is the ultimate game development platform. Use Unity to build high-quality 3D and 2D games, deploy them across mobile, desktop, VR/AR, consoles or the Web, and connect with loyal and enthusiastic players and customers.

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      What are some alternatives to three.js and Unity?
      WebGL
      It is integrated completely into all the web standards of the browser allowing GPU accelerated usage of physics and image processing and effects as part of the web page canvas. Its elements can be mixed with other HTML elements.
      BabylonJS
      A complete JavaScript framework for building 3D games with HTML5, WebGL, WebVR and Web Audio.
      D3.js
      It is a JavaScript library for manipulating documents based on data. Emphasises on web standards gives you the full capabilities of modern browsers without tying yourself to a proprietary framework.
      PlayCanvas
      It is an open-source 3D game engine/interactive 3D application engine alongside a proprietary cloud-hosted creation platform that allows for simultaneous editing from multiple computers via a browser-based interface.
      A-Frame
      It allows you to make WebVR apps with HTML and an Entity-Component system. Works on Vive, Rift, Daydream, GearVR, desktop.
      See all alternatives