Happy Holidays—Our $30 Gift Card just for you, and books ship free! Shop now>>

The Unity Game Engine and the Circuits of Cultural Software

Authors: Nicoll, Benjamin, Keogh, Brendan

Free Preview

Buy this book

eBook $44.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-25012-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $59.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-25011-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Videogames were once made with a vast range of tools and technologies, but in recent years a small number of commercially available 'game engines' have reached an unprecedented level of dominance in the global videogame industry. In particular, the Unity game engine has penetrated all scales of videogame development, from the large studio to the hobbyist bedroom, such that over half of all new videogames are reportedly being made with Unity. This book provides an urgently needed critical analysis of Unity as ‘cultural software’ that facilitates particular production workflows, design methodologies, and software literacies. Building on long-standing methods in media and cultural studies, and drawing on interviews with a range of videogame developers, Benjamin Nicoll and Brendan Keogh argue that Unity deploys a discourse of democratization to draw users into its ‘circuits of cultural software’. For scholars of media production, software culture, and platform studies, this book provides a framework and language to better articulate the increasingly dominant role of software tools in cultural production. For videogame developers, educators, and students, it provides critical and historical grounding for a tool that is widely used yet rarely analysed from a cultural angle.


About the authors

Benjamin Nicoll is Lecturer in Digital Media and Communication and a member of the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. His research focuses on the history and critical theory of videogames and videogame platforms. He is the author of Minor Platforms in Videogame History (2019).

Brendan Keogh is an Australian Research Council Fellow in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology, Australia. His research focuses on the experiences, skills, and innovations of videogame makers, as well as broader investigations into videogame culture. He is the author of A Play of Bodies: How We Perceive Videogames (2018) and Killing is Harmless: A Critical Reading of Spec Ops The Line (2012).


Reviews

“The game industry is notoriously opaque, even for insiders. This book lifts the veil of secrecy and demystifies how game engines are used, understood, marketed, and governed. True to form, Nicoll and Keogh provide an empirically grounded and highly readable account of game engines as ‘cultural software’. Scholars, students, and practitioners are sure to benefit from the savvy analysis of such a vital, yet seemingly invisible piece of software that powers a billion-dollar industry.” (Dr. David B. Nieborg, University of Toronto, Canada)

“This original, timely, and accessible case study carefully unpacks the ambivalence of Unity’s claim to ‘democratize’ game development. Based on extensive research, Nicoll and Keogh propose a new conceptual framework to guide analysis of the cultural work of platform-based digital content production. This is a stellar example of how to advance critical media research on the materiality and politics of platforms.” (Greig de Peuter, co-author of Games of Empire and Digital Play)

Table of contents (6 chapters)

Table of contents (6 chapters)
  • The Unity Game Engine and the Circuits of Cultural Software

    Pages 1-21

    Nicoll, Benjamin (et al.)

  • Unity’s Socio-historical Context and Political Economy

    Pages 23-45

    Nicoll, Benjamin (et al.)

  • Workflow: Unity’s Coordination of Individualized Labour Processes

    Pages 47-61

    Nicoll, Benjamin (et al.)

  • Grain: Default Settings, Design Principles, and the Aura of Videogame Production

    Pages 63-80

    Nicoll, Benjamin (et al.)

  • Literacy: Articulations of Unity Across Development, Education, and Enthusiast Contexts

    Pages 81-99

    Nicoll, Benjamin (et al.)

Buy this book

eBook $44.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-25012-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $59.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-25011-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
Loading...

Recommended for you

Loading...

Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
The Unity Game Engine and the Circuits of Cultural Software
Authors
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Pivot
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-25012-6
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-25012-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-25011-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 123
Number of Illustrations
2 b/w illustrations, 5 illustrations in colour
Topics