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Unite Boston update: Early Bird ticket sales end tomorrow. Partial schedule is up!

July 23, 2015 in Community | 15 min. read
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Unite Boston is just two months away! Early Bird ticket pricing ends tomorrow (Friday, July 24), so be sure to register now to save $70!

As a reminder, the conference will take place at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston on September 21-23. All details here:

A partial conference schedule is available including sessions to be presented by experts in the Unity community. Scroll down to view the list (note: date/time of sessions still subject to change). Sessions range in topic from postmortems and best practices to tech-intensive and specific workflow presentations.

Details regarding sessions given by Unity reps will be added soon. In the meantime, here is what you can expect:

  • A rich and inspiring keynote - details to come!
  • Deep tech dives with the latest Unity features, including the latest graphics, animation, physics, multiplayer, VR, cross-platform, Analytics, Ads and Cloud Build features
  • The Roadmap talk: it’s standing room only at this session where you can ask anything about the awesome new tech that is coming up in Unity 5 and beyond!
  • Ask the Experts, where Unity engineers will be available to help you with your unique development challenges

In addition to the learning and networking, there’s still a chance to submit your game for the 8th Unity Awards!
Hurry, we close submissions on July 31, 2015. Details here.

Here is the first batch of talks presented by experts in the Unity community. More to come (date/time of sessions still subject to change):

11 Games for 30 Players in 12 Months by Peter Vigeant (ESC) - 09/23/15 01:30 PM

ESC is a new, unique gaming platform where up to 30 players are immersed in a world supported by professional lighting and show effects, surround sound and a 30-foot curved screen that projects all of the action. Our team worked over five years to bring the experience to life and early this Spring, the first two public locations opened in Philadelphia and Riverside, California, with a third on the way. Discover the lessons learned and challenges faced as Kevin Harper, the lead developer, and Pete Vigeant, the lead game designer, present the story behind the 11 launch titles of ESC.


5 Must Know Design Strategies for Better VR Games by Nicole Lazzaro (XEODesign) - 09/21/15 04:00 PM

Virtual Reality. From the dawn of time games have always created it. It's the magic circle where we transport our players for a few minutes, a few hours, a few days even years. With today's new Virtual Reality Headsets and AR Smart Glasses we finally reach the intersection of movie like immersion and the interaction possibilities of games. On one hand Virtual Reality offers an unprecedented theater for engagement on the other it presents more physiological, psychological, and gameplay challenges than all other platform shifts in game's history combined. The talk presents the 5 most common mistakes VR/AR developers make discovered in XEODesign's year of VR research. We then present practical VR design strategies to overcome them. If you want to ship a VR/AR game and not a barfatorium you must see this talk!


A coder's guide to spline-based procedural geometry by Joachim Holmér (Neat Corporation) - 09/21/15 02:00 PM

Procedural generation is a popular approach for creating content thanks to its flexibility and scalability - but how do you actually do it? This talk will blast you through everything you need to know for creating procedural geometry and manipulating them with splines.


A Little Math for Your Big Ideas by Ziba Scott (Popcannibal) - 09/22/15 01:30 PM

Unity has democratized game creation. Developers with wildly varying training and backgrounds are making brilliant games. Don't let your "non-traditional" background stop you from chasing your best world bending ideas.

Feel a rush of empowerment as we adventure through simple examples of vector math and world/local space transforms to build a multi-threaded buoyancy system.

Topics: vector manipulation (addition, scaling, cross product, normalizing, comparing), World/local space transforms, thread safe operations, reducing garbage collection, buoyancy.

Best Practices for Multiplatform Distribution by Robert Baily (JumpStart) - 09/22/15 11:30 AM

From the creators of School of Dragons, the wildly popular MMORPG based on DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon franchise, comes the best practices in multiplatform distribution. Available via Amazon, Google Play, Windows, the App Store, and Steam - among other platforms - School of Dragons has grown to more than 15 million players worldwide. Its creators will share insight in the areas of art, asset processing, build automation, runtime configuration, and auditing for developing multiplatform games.


Building Smart Toys with Unity by Jean-Philippe Auclair (Frima Studio) - 09/22/15 02:00 PM

Who has not heard of Skylanders, LEGO Dimension, the new talking Barbie or Disney Playmation? In this talk we'll show you how Unity helped us make some cool connected toy experiences. From debugging the hardware to creating new smart toy interactions, we wanted something flexible enough. Unity was a great fit and we'll show you how.


Complex Mecanim Machines by Aaron Horne (RatDog Games) - 09/21/15 05:30 PM

Ever tried to build an actual animation state machine?  Ever wanted to create something more complex and deep than what you might create with an online tutorial?  This talk will guide you into the next level of state machine design and show you the powerful features of Unity's Mecanim animation system state machine.  We'll explore the process and implementation of an actual character's animation state machine, how and why it was set up a particular way for Unity v4.x and how it was enhanced after the Unity v5.x updates.

Continuous Integration with Unity by Jonathan Peppers (Hitcents) - 09/21/15 06:00 PM

Continuous Integration is a concept that has not quite yet surfaced as a standard practice for game development. Learn the steps to set up continuous integration with Unity, including source control, using Unity Cloud Build, using Unity Test Tools for testing, distributing builds to services like HockeyApp or Dropbox, writing command-line build scripts with FAKE, and upgrading to your own CI server with TeamCity for more advanced scenarios.

Taking a few steps towards full continuous integration will benefit any game and save you time: from starting to use source control or just setting up automated builds.

Creating the Galaxy with Unity 5: Disruptor Beam on Star Trek Timelines by Jon Radoff (Disruptor Beam) - 09/23/15 11:30 AM

Disruptor Beam CEO, Jon Radoff, and Senior Technical Designer, Jason Booth, will discuss how they've created a massively multiplayer 3D space game that delivers the same level of polish players expect to see in PC and console gaming, but on phones and tablets - all leveraging Unity 5 features.  They will go into detail about how the Disruptor Beam team has used real time reflection probes and physically based rendering, as well as the content streaming and procedural rendering technology that Disruptor Beam built on top of the Unity 5 engine.


Creating UniMerge: What happens when you fill a feature hole and put it on the Asset Store by Matthew Schoen (Defective Studios) - 09/23/15 02:00 PM

Matt Schoen is a long-time Unity developer and creator of the semi-popular Editor Extension UniMerge: a tool for merging scenes and prefabs within the Unity Editor.  He maintains UniMerge as an ongoing side-project and has a long history of building third-party collaboration tools for Unity.  You'll be hearing the story behind UniMerge, some of the challenges faced during its development and initial release on the Asset Store, and seeing some Real Numbers on sales and marketing.  The talk will contain a bit of how-to information, for those curious about UniMerge and how to collaborate well while using Unity.  You'll also be getting the inside scoop on Asset Store publishing from the perspective of a software engineer with a strictly technical editor extension.  Finally, you'll be seeing what the future might hold for UniMerge, and collaborative Unity development.


Everything Connects, or How Everyone is a Developer at Dots by Chris Deaner (Dots) - 09/22/15 03:00 PM

Dots and TwoDots were born from individual creators that have the ability to game design, graphic design, and code their visions to life. This model works fine when one person is able to bring all these unique skill sets to the table, but what happens when you try to build a a team around this model? Dot's Head of Engineering, Chris Deaner will talk about how he believes that everyone that works at dots should consider themselves an engineer, an artist, and a musician and how Unity helps make that effort a reality.

Fallen Utopia - Bringing the World of PAMELA to Life with Unity 5 by Adam Simonar (NVYVE Studios) - 09/22/15 11:30 AM

Game and Level Designers looking for an example of how to design and create great looking game environments, specifically high-end sci-fi. 3D-Artists will also see examples of how to better translate their assets into finished scenes. Lastly, Programmers and Technical Artists may also be interested in broadening their knowledge base by exploring the visual tools in Unity.


Filming Giant Virtual Vehicles: Procedural Cinematography in Homeworld Shipbreakers by Adam Myhill (Blackbird Interactive) - 09/21/15 04:00 PM

Homeworld: Shipbreakers is a real-time strategy game in which hundreds of massive vehicles battle it out over the surface of a vast desert planet, harvesting resources from crashed spaceships as they struggle for survival in a harsh environment.  This talk discusses the cinematic tools and procedural camera systems used to create beautiful cutscenes of actors with variable performances.

Hand-keying cameras is great when the performers do exactly the same things each time, but what about when the actors are AI driven, or the level changes, or if their speed changes?   Blackbird Interactive has developed a procedural suite of camera tools which allow film-maker type controls and rule-sets to procedurally compose and translate cameras in order to get great shots of the events in-game.   These systems emulate the way a cameraman would compose shots and they adapt to variances with the characters or vehicles or even level design.

This talk will show juicy visuals and describe the mechanics behind them.  Cinematic camera emulation from composition to noise and camera transport methods will be deconstructed and shown in action. It should be of interest to anyone involved with gameplay cameras or cinematic presentation.


How Sago Sago transformed the build process: a Cloud Build Case Study by Luke Lutman (Sago Sago) - 09/22/15 05:30 PM

An in-depth look at how Sago Sago transformed the build process for their award winning children's apps using Unity Cloud Build. Lead developer Luke Lutman will take attendees through the journey of creating a scaleable and sustainable build process in Unity step-by-step. Using his from-the-trenches experience getting eight different projects up and running in Cloud Build, he will discuss why it has been a big win for Sago and cover all the technical challenges they faced along the way.


Process, Pipeline, Performance: A Super Blunt Tech Art Direction Crash Course for Indies by Anton Hand (RUST LTD.) - 09/23/15 10:00 AM

So you want to make an Indie game. You've got you, Chet, Daria, Emilio, and Emilio's cat (who insists she's totally boss at retopo work meow). You've got this grand vision, and you're beginning to map out your game, and then it hits you. How on earth are you going to get all this done?

In this talk, we'll be covering how an informed pre-production comprising aesthetic direction, modelling style, asset management, lighting approach, and more are the difference between success and careening into a brick wall. We'll talk to making the most of your human resources, unpack the difference between having specialists and generalists for line-asset production, when and how to use the Unity Asset Store best, and what design/production decisions are critical to lock-in up front. Lastly, we'll briefly cover some multi-platform strategies, and the sorts of things to be aware of if eventually planning to scale down to mobile, or scale up to VR. Expect a rapid-fire pace, a fair bit of ranting, and the bluntness you might expect from a veteran 3d modeler who's tired of seeing great projects go off the rails.

Race the Sun Optimization by Aaron San Filippo (Flippfly) - 09/22/15 06:00 PM

Flippfly will go into depth on their efforts to optimize Race The Sun for the Playstation Vita and other mobile platforms. As a high-speed, 3D "endless racer," Race The Sun had some unique challenges. Flippfly will detail how they overcame these challenges, and will briefly review some of the fundamentals of optimization that apply to all Unity games.


Super Dungeon Bros and Unity Networking by Ryan Adams (React Games) - 09/22/15 05:30 PM

We will be discussing how we have have used Unity 5 to help us develop a fully networked game on 4 different platforms, including 2 new gen consoles in under 9 months. We will discuss the new features including Networking, Unity Events, and UGUI, what problems we ran into, and how you can effectively use these tools to create amazing games quickly.


The Holodeck is Here - Designing for Room-Scale VR by Alex Schwartz (Owlchemy Labs) - 09/21/15 02:30 PM

The HTC Vive is the first but certainly not the last piece of VR hardware to bring standing, room-scale experiences to the living room or dedicated VR room. As designers, the thought of designing an experience that works in any configuration or size of living room / office is daunting, with the sheer amount of unknowns in the mix. Owlchemy Labs shares their experiences designing room-scale VR experiences, learned through the development of Job Simulator, an official launch title for SteamVR / HTC Vive. Watch as the team discusses tracked input, considerations for real-world ergonomics, skill transference in VR, designing for tethered experiences, locomotion, and more.

Unity for Animated Productions by Etienne Whittom (Hibernum Creations) - 09/22/15 06:00 PM

In early 2014, Montreal-based Hibernum Creations started work on a unified pipeline for game development and animation. Since then, the studio's R&D team, Hibernum Labs, has been busy experimenting with in-game motion capture previsualization, interactive photorealistic rendering, and automated asset management, as well as developing Unity-based video montage and post-production tools. The result: some very promising new technologies and some very valuable lessons learned. Get the details from Etienne Whittom, head of Hibernum Labs, and Patrick Roussel, systems engineer at the Digital Imagery Research and Development Centre (CDRIN).


Unity Maximus: Art Optimizations for Maximum Performance in Unity 5 by Elliott Mitchell (Vermont Digital Arts) - 09/21/15 06:00 PM

Many platforms, like VR and mobile, place high demands on developers to meet acceptable framerates or else risk failure. Often, the art assets in a Unity project look fantastic but no matter how optimized the codebase is, the build just doesn't meet the desired frame rate. Unoptimized art assets, including some art which may be purchased on the Asset Store, can seriously hinder performance on demanding platforms. In this session, we will highlight some red flags to lookout for in a variety of art asset types and identify key optimizations that can be implemented into your art pipeline to significantly increase performance on demanding platforms. Art asset types covered will include: 3D Models, Animations and Rigs, 2D Textures and Sprites, Materials and Shaders.


Unity tools for seamless OTA updates for a f2p mobile MMO strategy game by Oleg Pridiuk (Game Insight) - 09/21/15 04:30PM

Frequent content updates is what keeps your players in the game. We developed Unity editor tools and a bit of own technology to deliver new quests and game levels bypassing the store submission process. In this session we're sharing insights in tools we built for our mobile f2p MMO strategy X-mercs to make seamless OTA possible.


Virtual Reality for Large Multi-User Environments by Roland Haring (Ars Electronica BmgH / Futurelab) - 09/21/15 06:00 PM

In this talk a team from Ars Electronica Futurelab gives a postmortem overview on their latest VR project which was realized for the "Deep Space", a huge L-Shaped virtual reality environment (wall and floor projection with approx. 16 by 9 meters each) for up to 200 visitors.

Learn what happens when latest VR hardware (8 Christie 4k projectors with 30 ANSI lumen each, render workstations running 4 Quadro M6000 each) meets Unity Engine with enhanced VR support in a classic stereoscopic distributed rendered VR environment.

Unity will be the new reference engine for this environment. The first big application developed is "The Human Body: A Cosmos Within" which is a travel into the human physiology and takes you on an interactive journey to discover the wonders of your human body.


Writing Shaders: YOU can do it! by Yilmaz Kiymaz (Nordeus) - 09/22/15 03:00 PM

We all love to pick and choose from the list of shaders that come with Unity or from the ones available on the Asset Store. Sometimes though, you have something so specific in mind that you have to write one yourself. Be not afraid! Though it may seem daunting at first, writing shaders just isn't that hard, especially if you're used to coding in C# or UnityScript already. Custom shaders that you write yourself will help you achieve a unique look for your game and having an understanding of shaders can even let you squeeze out extra performance on mobile devices.

In this session, we'll go over the basics of shaders, how they work, how they're written, what Unity already takes care of for you, and when  you have to fend for yourself. We'll start with some very basic shaders and then work our way up to warping entire worlds in the vertex shader and pushing some really stunning pixels in the fragment shader. We'll also briefly touch on some of the more advanced shader techniques as a starter for those looking to push the envelope.

July 23, 2015 in Community | 15 min. read

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