The new version of the Unity 3D engine was just released and I’m super excited.
All the previous features continue there: great asset integration (several 3D, 2D, and sound file formats), programming scripts, and a great IDE. But now the visual performance is better, even with the new features enabled.
Pre-baked lightning is now included by default. It allows the creation of amazing scenes that most of the lights pre-rendered. It allows the video card to work on other stuff, like shaders. Speed is also better than the inclusion Ambient occlusion package. It analyses the scene/map previously and checked what parts of it will not appear depending on where the camera is and saves the information to be used in real-time. The performance gain is huge.
The animation manager is also a great plus. It seems very much like video editing, with curves and keyframes. It is now very nice to program animations, especially for designers.
UDK (Unreal Development kit) is also gaining a lot of attention from the media, but with a feature set somewhat similar (again, 99% of the game makers are not even capable of using the engine fully), it is quite an irresponsibility to accept the license that makes you give 25% of the profits to Epic (and after paying your distributor, marketing, etc…).