iClone to join with Unity game engine in 2012?

An interesting hint on last week’s Wolf & Dulci Hour show. To the effect that iClone and the free Unity game engine and development tool could well be seeing close integration in the future. So, what form might that take? Here are some guesses (which I should stress are complete speculation on my part)…

* import of iClone projects, complete with physics settings and animations, to Unity — in order to add interactive game features for mobile devices and desktops alike. Unity apparently now has a completed port of the Unity engine for the Google Chrome browser’s Native Client. If so, then this would give iCloners a viable low-cost pipeline to create “plug-in free” online Web games. Not many will want to make a full-scale 3D shooter or RPG, but there may be scope for more easily developed niche games like point-and-click 2.5D adventures and interactive children’s story books. And all blissfully free of Flash or Adobe Air.

* import of iClone projects, to take advantage of what Unity’s developers call “the world’s best lightmapper, Beast”, their shadows system, and “god ray” sun shafts and lens effects. It’s a real-time engine like iClone, but it’s more advanced and is having to develop hard in order to compete with the likes of CryEngine and Unreal. And if what’s said about the Google Chrome Unity port is true, then all that eye-candy will play in real-time inside the leading Web browser, supported by the power of Google and without the need for plugins.

* “Render to Unity” option in iClone. Forget rendering to video. Play your movie directly in the Google Chrome web browser, without the fuzzyness caused by video compression.

* I seem to remember that Unity has “starter kit” content and scenes. These might be converted and offered as a nice free bonus to beef up the content library that ships with iClone 5?

* Support for Unity file formats and character rigging in 3DXchange 5?