September 7th, 2012 by Elliott Mitchell
Last week, Unity Technologies held their 6th annual Unite developer’s conference in Amsterdam, Holland. Approximately 4.5 thousand miles from last year’s venue in San Francisco, Unite was attended by developers from 26 nations along with Unity’s 200+ amazing employees!
The conference featured several excellent keynote talks, a look at some exciting things to come for Unity, and an opportunity to engage in an exciting community. The following is an overview of my time at Unite 2012.
The conference was spread over 4 days and 3 venues:
Day 1 – Training Day and Unity Mixer
Day 2 – Keynote & Main Conference
Day 3 – Main Conference, Unity Awards & Unity Party
Day 4 – Main Conference & Sad Goodbyes
Amsterdam was a great choice for Unite 2012. The international nature of the city, it’s rich cultural identity, excellent public transportation and welcoming nature of the people all synergize to elevate the conference to a new level.
The bulk of the conference was filled with interesting sessions on topics such as: art pipelines, rendering pipelines, virtual worlds, running an indie studio, advanced editor scripting, super cool simulators, creating universes, making tools for Unity, using Flash and Unity together, animation systems and so on. You can view video recordings of many of the talks on Unity’s website. Hopefully, all the talks will be added in the near future.
Between sessions, meetings, and meals, time was allocated for developers and artists to network, catch up, drink, play J.S. Joust and talk shop. This time was truly priceless.
I was honored to participate on a panel geared towards organizing and supporting user group communities with folks from Unity (Joe Robbins, Will Goldstone, Mark Martin, Russ Morris, Carl Carth ) and a few other fellow user group organizers (Grant Viklund, Brandon Wu and Robert Brackenridge). We had good turnout, great pointers, super questions from the audience and momentum moving forward in a more organized manner.
Unite featured keynotes by Unity founders David Helgason, Joachim Ante, Nicholas Francis and infamous Game Designer Peter Molyneux. All the speakers delivered fascinating keynotes. You can watch the official video of the Unite 2012 Keynote here.
My Short List of Unity 4 Keynote Announcements:
- Mecanim – next generation character animation system
- Shuriken Particle Engine – Collision with Particles
- Mobile Shadows
- Bumpmap Terrain
- New Project Browser
- Improved Lightmaps
- DirectX 11 Rendering
- Ship Unity 4 Beta to Prepaid Customers
- Adobe Partnership for Flash Export
- New Unity GUI!!
- Linux Support
- Future Windows 8 Export
- Future Windows Phone 8 Export
I thought the most impressive keynote highlight was the 3 minute short “Butterfly Effect” created by Passion Pictures and Unity technologies. Not only is it visually stunning, the film is real-time rendered in DirectX 11. Butterfly Effect is completely filmic with SSS Shaders, stunning procedural explosions, high quality animation and rendering. Butterfly Effect is a work of art to behold!
I’m looking forward to Unite 2013 rumored to be held in San Francisco. If your a Unity developer or interested in making games with Unity, then Unite it’s a must attend event! Hopefully, I’ll be speaking at Unite again next year. See you there!
Technical Director Infrared5
Co-founder of the Boston Unity Group
@MrT.3D on Twitter