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Hi people. After the roadmap blog post about where we’re taking the core Unity tools, we thought it was time to give you guys a heads-up about what the future holds for the asset store. Like the other road map, this one talks about where we’d like to go - with a focus on editor integration - if we can’t get everything done in time for 3.5 we’ll ship what we have. 

The goal for the asset store has always been to be a quick and convenient way to get assets for games. With Unity 3.5, we’re taking a huge stride towards this.

Part of 3.5 is a revamped object picker. The idea is that you will be able to quickly browse and assign all assets in your project - and available online - from one integrated window. Something like this:

Above, you’ve clicked the material slot for the floor. You’ll see our new object browser that
lets you pick a material from your project, from free Asset Store materials or from the paid ones. Buying one is a simple as clicking it and hitting a buy button. If you feel spammed by this, simply collapse “Paid Assets” headline in the browser. Don’t want free stuff either? Just collapse that - and you’ve got only what’s in your project. 

In the ideal world, selecting a new floor material in the browser gets you a preview in the scene view - even if it’s a paid one. Assigning a new audio clip to an audio source lets you browse and buy from a huge collection of sounds (searchable by categories, tags, with live previews, etc.) - we’re trying to get this live as well.

Let’s consider another example: Most of our users try GameObject->Create Other->Tree. Most do it exacly once. I wonder why:

Awesome, n’est-ce pas? 

What if instead you got something like this:

I think that a game engine is not complete without content. This is our answer to that - no matter which project you have open, you’ll always have access to all our assets; trees, lens flares, etc. You will also have access to any paid trees on the Asset Store. This is great for users - they get a ton of assets presented without having to hunt for them. It’s also great for asset sellers; users don’t need to open up a specific browser window. If they want to find any paid lens flares, the choice is never more than one click away.

 

To make this feel awesome, it needs to be smooth. As silk. We want single click payments to make sure the purchasing is as smooth as the selection. This brings me to the next point on our roadmap:

Payments:
Contrary to common belief, Unity doesn’t handle credit card transactions ourselves. It goes through a payment processor - something like this:
Worldpay has a number of issues: It can only operate in an external browser window. US customers sometimes get extra surcharges. It just generally sucks.

We looked around and picked CyberSource as a new payment gateway. They’ll be handling all the credit card dealings, but we can show it inside Unity. They also have an option where they provide the back-end for storing all CC info. They remember your credit card number, not us. This is good - just ask Sony ;)

Sadly this switch means that PayPal is going away as a payment method. We are aware that some of you prefer to pay this way. Be assured that you are not forgotten and this is something we will attempt to address in the near future.

To test out how much sales were affected by making a smoother workflow (and losing PayPal), we ran a 2-week test: half our users got the old system, half got the new one. The results showed that 52% of the transactions and revenue came through the new payment solution. This means that despite not supporting PayPal payments, it performs slightly better than the old system. And we can take the new one further. The old system is a dead end.

With the test over, we have reverted temporarily to the old solution while we prepare for full scale deployment of the new one.

Have fun, and make us proud (as if you didn't already)!

August 31, 2011 in Technology | 4 min. read