Unite 2013

The annual conference by Unity Technologies was held August 28-30, this time in VFS Game Design’s home city. For three days, the Vancouver Convention Centre was swarmed by hundreds of Unity developers, from all over the world – four days, if you count the August 27 Training day, a bonus for those new to the technology.

Again, the Unite conference showed what a great piece of software Unity is, and will become.

The opening keynotes by CEO David Hegalson and CTO Joachim Ante described the evolving technical and philosophical direction of the company, with the expected amount of touchy feely about democratizing game development, and changing the world, both of which appear to be going according to plan.

David’s new announcements included Unity Cloud, a mobile ad service going into closed beta, and Unity Games, which sounds like an evolution of Union, Unity’s publishing platform. Joachim primarily talked about improvements to Unity’s GUI and 2D systems in version 4.3, both a long time coming, as well as some great improvements to the Mecanim animation system. No firm date on the next version, though. Understandable, given 4.2 shipped shortly before the conference.

Then, legendary game designer Richard Garriott, back from Earth orbit, gave a guest keynote that was a nostalgic stroll through his three decades of game development. The perspective made one appreciate how far game development has come, and the remarkable tool that Unity is.

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Tech Talk : Xbox One Thoughts

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Microsoft finally revealed its much anticipated new console to the world on Tuesday, May 21, 2013 and decided to go with the interesting name of Xbox One. The name is pretty apt as Microsoft made clear they are not just creating a gaming device but are attempting to replace every entertainment unit in your living room with one device to rule them all. In fact, it seemed that Microsoft’s event was not really aimed at Sony as the main competition – but rather at Apple.

For me, the presentation was very good and a welcome return to reality after Sony’s PR event for the PlayStation 4, which was widely panned for not actually having any hardware to show. As a software engineer, I worked on both the Playstation 2 and 3 and the original Xbox 1 and 360 on engine development. Without a doubt, Microsoft products were always much easier to develop for. The tools worked perfectly, the development environment between PC and console was seamless, and the documentation and support were superb. Playstation hardware however was often exceptionally difficult to work with – particularly the Cell architecture in the PS3. This frequently led to PS3 games having less features and a lesser performance than 360 games – simply because they were so difficult to fully exploit.

Xbox One Console

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My Top Ten List For GDC 2013 — Part 2

Games Development Conference 2013

Welcome to Part 2 of my GDC Top 10, featuring moments from the great, but exhausting, 2013 Game Developers Conference.  You can read Part 1 here.

But before I begin, here’s a photograph I’d like to dedicate to Bren Lynne, our programming instructor!

John Romero! …And some other guy!
John Romero! …And some other guy!

#5 Meeting Industry Heavies

You never know who you will bump into at GDC. I found myself riding the escalator next to John Romero, the designer of the original Doom. Doom was a very influential game for me personally, as well as a landmark in the history of games. It’s nice to meet someone you admire, and GDC has an atmosphere that makes it easy to approach anyone and start up a conversation.
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Top 10 Video Games of 2012

Top Video Games of 2012

2012 was a year not to be forgotten by developers of video games. A plethora of fantastic AAA titles were released, some of them, the sequels to incredible games from years past. To pluck each of these games and arrange them in a list was a daunting task, but these 10 are undoubtedly the best of the best in 2012.

Guildwars2

Number 10 – Guild Wars 2

Guild Wars is a franchise that always knows the direction it’s going in and maintains it to the end. The first game in the series focused on a unique class structure, and intense player vs. player action. Guild Wars 2 has carried this on, and become a solid contender in the massive multiplayer online genre. The game has a vast open world, populated with tons of missions to keep players on their toes, all while allowing them to simply hop in and out of instant level 80 PvP. With a perfect subscription fee of zero dollars, how could this stunner not be among this list?
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