Why it matters: If you are a hobbyist or a small game developer, you now have free access to the powerful Unigine 2 software development kit. The platform has been used mostly in the enterprise sector to create photorealistic simulations and digital models. Now anyone can download and use the engine.

Real-time 3D engine Unigine 2 is now available to the public for free with some limitations. Last week the developer launched the Unigine 2 Community Edition software development kit. The platform was previously only available to business customers through the engineering and simulation versions of Unigine 2. The Community Edition will be developed alongside the other two, with updates coming quarterly.

"We have released the Unigine Community SDK for free to all the technical enthusiasts worldwide," a spokesperson told TechSpot. "Previously our platform was available only to the large companies making professional 3D simulators, digital twins, and so on. So the free SDK edition is a big deal."

Like the commercial versions, the free SDK has the Unigine 2 engine at its core. So it is capable of the same photorealistic rendering as Engineering and Sim Editions. It includes C++ and C# APIs and has numerous pre-made high-level objects as well as a visual scene editor. It is suitable for creating 3D art as well as games and other applications. Unigine 2 Community Edition is VR-ready and compatible with Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive headset.

The software is available for free. You can conveniently pick it up from the TechSpot Downloads section. However, there are a couple of stipulations to its use.

Those planning to use the Community SDK commercially must have revenue or project funding amounts under $100,000 per year. The exception to this rule is for non-profits and educational use. Studios of this size can use Unigine 2 for free and without royalties. Companies or developers with higher revenue steams must pay $150 per month for Community Pro, also without royalties.