Unity Technologies acquires Bolt

May 05, 2020 at 12:46 pm by nemirc

This Monday, Ludiq and Unity Technologies have announced that Unity Technologies has been acquired Bolt, a visual scripting tool developed by Ludiq.

I have never used Bolt in the past, but I understand it's a tool similar to PlayMaker, although more code-oriented and less action-oriented. As a clarification, Unity did not acquire the company creating the software, just the software itself. Ludiq is a software company located in Montreal, Quebec, that specializes in the creation of tools for Unity.

They have created three different tools, Peek, Chronos and Bolt, the one acquired by Unity.

From now on, development, distribution and support for Bolt will be handled by Unity Technologies. Ludiq had promised users who had purchased Bolt 1 would get Bolt 2 free of charge, and Unity is honoring that for those who already purchased Bolt 1 or purchase it by May 31.

The key word here is “purchase.” As of today, it doesn't seem like Unity plans to make Bolt free of charge to Unity users, so I am confused by the move. I guess maybe they want to make sure development of Bolt continues, but right off the bat I don't see users getting a big benefit from this.

Also, Unity is building their own visual scripting module, and I understand it's being built for Unity's DOTS (Data-Oriented Technology Stacks). Apparently, the plan is to have two different visual scripting options, one for those who use DOTS and one for those who don't, and offer a way for users to transition from non-DOTS projects to DOTS projects.

From this, I am guessing the plan is to rework Bolt so users can start a regular project, using Bolt for visual scripting, so that transitioning from Bolt to the DOTS visual scripting module (in case users may want to add DOTS support to their project) will not break anything. However, Bot will still be an additional purchase.

I guess we will have to see what really happens. Either way, I am glad that Unity is finally taking visual scripting more seriously, since competing engines like CryEngine and Unreal Engine offer their own visual scripting solutions out of the box.

Ludiq's announcement: https://ludiq.io/blog/unity-acquires-bolt

Unity's forum post regarding the acquisition: https://forum.unity.com/threads/unity-acquires-bolt.880273/

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