GDC 2015 – Day 2 Announcements

Day two of GDC 2015 is in the books and again there were a few big announcements. So continuing my short blog series, below is some of the big announcements that caught my attention.

Unity 5 Announced!

Today Unity Technologies unveiled the newest version of their extremely popular game engine. Here is what Unity Technologies had to say about this new version in their press release:

 “Unity 5 is a massive update to the Unity Engine, including features such as the Enlighten real-time lighting system and physically-based shaders that provide the power to render stunning high-quality characters, environments, lighting, and effects. Workflow efficiency increased dramatically due to the new unified shader architecture, in-editor real-time lightmap previews, and improved asset bundling. Audio designers will find a completely overhauled audio system including the new Audio Mixer for creating dynamic soundscapes and effects.”

Thats a lot of new features! And thats not even the full list. Besides the highlights above, there are few other big changes that caught my eye. First is one that a lot of us developers have been wishing for. The Unity editor is now 64 bit. This is a huge plus for those working on larger projects and should help increase the over all speed of the editor. Another one that stood out is the announcement that the building Asset Bundles are going to be easier and now incremental. This will make a lot of Asset Store developers extremely happy. There are a lot of other features that have been added and you should definitely check out the press release for a detailed list. One last thing I want to note is that Unity 5 is available now for pre-order from the Unity store (https://store.unity3d.com/) and those who pre-order Unity Pro 5 will also receive Unity Pro 4. You can read the full press release here.

Unity is getting a free Personal Edition 

59835504Following the pattern of Unreal and Corona SDK, Unity is going to be available for free. To be precise, the Personal version is for studios and indie developers who have not earned more than $100,000 in the previous fiscal year. The Personal Edition will have all the all engine features and will have all the new features of Unity 5. This is a big move for Unity which had previously hid some of these advanced features behind a pay wall. And while the Personal edition does let you deploy to all 21 supported platforms, including Android and iOS, you will have to live with a Unity splash screen, not a bad deal if you ask me. Read more on this announcement here.

It has been a busy few days with all this awesome news. Im sure this wont be the last big announcements, so stay tuned as I will be adding more recap post as GDC continues.

GDC 2015 – Day 1 Announcements

GDC has started and already the big announcements have begun. Since there has been so many of these big announcements made I thought I would create a little blog series to recap each day. So lets get started with day one!

Unreal is now free.

This one really came out of nowhere. A short time ago Epic games made their flagship engine available for a small subscription fee. Today though Epic went even farther by making this powerful engine free to all developers. One thing to note, the royalty fee of 5% on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter will remain. Read more about this announcement.

Corona SDK is now FREE.

Another big announcement that came out today was that Corona SDK is now free. Those using the Corona Simulator will now get the functionality that used to be included in Corona SDK Pro. This is a great engine and its awesome to see it being offered to developers at no cost. I’m a strong believer that having more engines available to developers the better the games will be. Check out more about this announcement

Valve partnering with HTC to make virtual reality headsets

The last big announcement I want to recap from today is that Valve and HTC are partnering to create virtual reality headsets. This was a rumor that was circulating around the net on Reddit and other social media networks. It now appears to be true with both Valve and HTC coming out and announcement. With VR becoming more and more viable, this is a great partnership that should produce some great devices in the future. Read more about this announcement here.

Stay tuned as I plan to add more recap posts throughout the week.

Unity Tools For Visual Studio

Unleash the power of Visual Studio for your Unity projects

Continuing my trend of quick videos, I put together “Quick Guide: Unity Tools for Visual Studio” that shows how to setup an awesome plugin that will allow you to build your Unity scripts in Visual Studio. So why use Visual Studio and not the bundled IDE, MonoDevelop? While MonoDevelop is a great IDE it lacks many features that Visual Studio provides. Features like having built in source control tools that supports GIT, the amazing time saver intellisense, and of course the best debugging tools in the game. Currently Unity tools for Visual studio is available for all releases from Visual Studio 2010 all the way up to the latest preview of Visual Studio 2015. It even works for Visual Studio Community Edition, so if you don’t have a copy you can download it and start leveraging VS at no cost.

Learn from the experts

UnityLearning

Since I am talking about Unity I thought this would be a good time to tell everyone about an awesome upcoming event in the Toronto area.

Get hands-on lab time with experts from Unity and Microsoft.These experts will provide in-depth coverage on such topics as the new Unity 2D toolset, advanced Unity features and even how to port your game to the Microsoft platform. This event includes something for both beginner and expert Unity users, so come out and get hands-on learning with experts who are there to answer all of your questions. As an awesome added bonus, all developers who successfully port a game during the event will have a chance of winning great prizes like software licenses, Windows phone devices and a secret grand prize.

You can get more info and sign up here. See you there!

 

Unity porting at the speed of light

Ever wonder how long it takes to port a Unity game to the Windows Platform?

Recently I put together this short little video “Quick Guide: Porting Unity to Windows Phone” to show off how fast and easy it can be to port a simple Unity game over to Windows Phone. It’s not meant as a deep dive, but more of an overview look.  I show the simple steps to build a Visual Studio solution, make a small change to the project to display in Landscape mode and finally I show the game running in the Windows Phone Simulator. The whole video is around seven minutes long, so check it out and see for yourself how quick it can be. As an added bonus this video is actually one of this months (Jan 15- Feb 15) Developer Movement Challenge. #DevMov is a really cool program where your can earn point towards awesome stuff just by doing challenges and labs like this one. Definitely worth a look.

My 2015 Game Dev Resolutions

Happy New Years

Well it’s a new year and everyone is 57620510making their resolutions. Like a lot of programmers I always like to make a few resolutions around general programming and game development. This gave me the thought why not make my first real post on here about my 2015 programming resolutions. So these are my top 3 (in no particular order).

Build more with the Cloud

The cloud is becoming more and more important in not only the development of applications and software, but even in game development. When you look at games like Titanfall, Forza5, and Halo: Master Chief Collection it is quite clear that cloud based gaming is here. Now yes I know not many of us “indie” devs are not building Titanfall scale games, but that doesn’t mean we can’t leverage the cloud for our needs too. So this year one of my resolutions is to build more and expand my knowledge of the cloud. In fact I have already done a little bit on this front. In a recent episode of the #GameDev w/ @ScruffyFurn show we actually coded up a simple multiplayer proof of concept using NodeJS, WebSockets, and Azure WebSites.

Dive deeper

This one is a big one for me. Learning never stops for any game developer so in that vein this year I want to start diving deeper into certain engines and tech. We all have certain technologies that we have that extra deep knowledge of. This year I want to expand my list. So far I have been taking a look at Python and the Unreal Engine as the two possible choices to really focus my learning on this year.

Share More!

Although I do share quite a bit, I want to start sharing even more. Not just posts and videos but more raw code and behind the scenes views. I have always loved seeing projects being created from the ground up, so I want to share my process. To help me with this I have recently started my own YouTube channel and have even done some live code streaming on my Twitch channel. Of course I will continue to do the #GameDev w/ @ScruffyFurn show and post on The Canadian Develeoper blog on MSDN, so stay tuned for a lot of new content in 2015.

Well that’s just a few of my programming resolutions for the year, but I would love to hear about some of yours or even your ideas on my resolutions. Feel free to post in the comments or reach out to me on Twitter @Scruffyfurn