Last week I attended the Unity Roadshow in Brisbane, and I have very mixed feelings about it. Firstly there was very little information that went out besides the invites and a brief program. Of course I expected it to include some “advertising” of Unity, but not nearly as much as there was. Some great information was shared especially for Unity newcomers, but the event was definitely light on in-depth look at features. Here are some of the topics that were covered:
- Unity Education and Certification: This was probably the only “red flag” for me, mostly because of my own experiences with IT Certification in general. Having done a few Microsoft certificates, I know that getting a one of these is meaningless when it comes to actually working with a technology stack. Don’t get me wrong, I found a lot of value in studying for exams, but I believe an employer would be making a mistake if they put any real weight on these sorts of certificates.
- Analytics: There was a lot of talk about analytics in Unity. It’s fantastic that most of it is available in the personal edition, and I’ll definitely be looking to use it in Startup Freak. One area that kept getting mentioned is the “heatmap” data, essentially giving you a visual story of where players or other objects are spending time, allowing you to fix bugs or redesign levels to encourage certain behavior in the players. I’m not quite sure how this visualization works in a non-static scene, but I believe you can get the raw data and visualize it yourself anyway.
- Unity 5.4: There was some mention of this and the improvements. The following demo is apparently rendered in real-time with Unity 5.4, but I take these sorts of demos with a grain of salt
- VR: There was a whole presentation on this. Unfortunately it was nothing hands-on or in depth. But more common sense stuff like “You need to design for VR” and “Frame rate comes before everything in VR”, etc. etc.
- Networking: This was probably the single most useful session of the day. We went through how to use the Unity networking High Level API for creating a networked “Tank” game. The abstractions that are provided, including a lobby/matchmaking managers are really quite amazing, allowing you to customize just the parts you need. The workshop didn’t really go into more complex topics like client side prediction or custom packets, but it was a great start. I’ll link to the tutorial as soon as it’s up online.
- In Game Ads: The main interesting for me here was that I can’t actually use it in a PC game. It’s only available on mobile, and at that, it’s limited to full-screen videos. To their defense, any other combination of ads probably doesn’t make monetary sense. Interestingly Unity is investigating how they can integrate Ads in VR… that could go wrong in so many ways!
On trello I have added a number of tasks with an Alpha Content label which I’m working on at the moment. In the past week I created 20 in game events. They still need more fleshing out (post-alpha), probably some rewording and images, but it’s a good start. Most of them have tongue-in-cheek humor which I need to test with alpha audience to see if they work or fall flat. Some of the headlines include:
- Beaver’s Dam Boosts Startup Investment
- Sweden Declares War on New Zealand!
- Coffee Drives Up Commercial Property Rentals
As a part of this I have also expanded the effects of events which can now impact:
- Number of visitors
- Number of signups
- Investor capital
- Property rental
- Number of candidates
- Starting salary of employees
- Employee happiness
Next up: a few items in the shopping store.