Unite Conference Highlights
The annual Unite Conference has wrapped up, and while much of the Ultima fan attention was on our own Lord British’s keynote address, other news related to Unity developers has also come to light.
First, here’s the keynote address by Richard “Lord British” Garriott and how his team is using Unity to craft Shroud of the Avatar.
There were some amazing talks about how to use Unity in unique and interesting ways. These will eventually be added to the Unite Conference Archives courtesy of Unity Technologies.
Unity recently tweeted about the first talks being released:
— Unity Technologies (@unity3d) September 12, 2013
— Unity Technologies (@unity3d) September 10, 2013
Upcoming Unity Features
The announcements of upcoming features for Unity is also quite interesting. Here are things to look for in Unity 4.3, expected sometime this fall.
The Unity Cloud service will be a method to add monetisation to your game, including advertising, cross-promotion, and more. Unfortunately, monetisation is one aspect of games, especially free to play titles, that is heavily criticized, and I do not see anything in the Unity Cloud offering that helps alleviate this. Still, this will make game development quicker and more cost effective, assuming its used correctly.
2D Game Support
Nearly half of the games released for Unity on mobile devices are not 3D games. This is pretty amazing, considering how 3D-centric the development process is, but Unity will add support for 2D game development in Unity 4.3 to resolve this discrepancy. This will include a drag-and-drop sprite importer, a texture atlasing process, and a sprite animation editor. The engine will also include an integrated version of the Box2D physics engine with a dedicated 2D renderer, which includes parallax scrolling and multilayer depth support. Box2D has powered some of the most popular mobile applications, including Angry Birds.
The Mecanim animation system will be updated to include blendshape-based facial animation support. Additionally, the engine will add a GoToState function to skip to an animation event, which can be set and later called within animation playback.
Other updates to Unity 4.3 will include faster occlusion culling, more accurate shadow handling, and the ability to mark a shader configurable and modify it’s properties in the Material Inspector.