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  • Using Unity to Develop The Hit Game…Monument Valley…

    Posted on July 6th, 2014 IndieGamePod No comments

    Dan and Pete, from Ustwo, discuss the development of Monument Valley…

    You can download the podcast here…
    http://www.indiegamepod.com/podcasts/unity-princess-podcast.mp3

    Or listen to it here…

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  • Interesting Insights for 2010 by the Unity 3D CEO

    Posted on January 19th, 2010 IndieGamePod No comments

    Hey folks,

    Got a link to this blog post by the Unity CEO…a lot of the info is relevant to indie game devs…I’ve reprinted it below…

    Original Link: http://blogs.unity3d.com/2010/01/14/2010-trends/

    We’re living in exciting times, and in some ways we here at Unity Technologies are in a unique position to be part of them. Here are the trends that we think are most important for the Unity community as a whole in 2010 along with what you can do to be part of them.

    Without further ado.

    The Year of Gamification, Part 1
    We call the adoption of game technology and game design methods outside of the games industry “gamification”, and this is a really broad trend.

    Unity and other game technologies are being used across more than a dozen sectors that have little or nothing to do with games. Architectural visualization is an obvious and older example. But apart from that we have some of the world’s biggest engineering and manufacturing companies, as well as several actual armed forces as our customers. TV production companies use Unity and other game engines to produce live TV shows and Machinima videos. Big corporations make employee training and simulation applications using Unity, and some of our customers have gone into online meeting and collaboration. Game technology being applied to all these areas means that Unity users are valuable to many and not everyone has to make a living from games.

    Action item: Sell your skills outside the games industry. With a knowledge of other industries, you can create new and innovative products or businesses servicing these industries. The sky’s the limit.

    The Year of Gamification, Part 2
    A second aspect of gamification is that game design methods and strategies are being used outside of games to design better products and user experiences. A boring site like Mint.com has experimented with turning personal finance into a game, social networking experiment FourSquare maintains high-score lists for people who bar-crawl, and natural-language search startup Siri hired an accomplished game designer to design their user experience.

    Action item: Learn game design and apply it to everything – how people sign up for a website, how people “succeed” in using your product, how customers share it with their friends and become leaders of user groups/clans, etc. Game design can be used for all of this.

    Another Golden Age for Garage Developers
    We are definitely going to see even more quality games done by small teams in 2010. With very little risk and by mainly investing their own time, a small team of 1-2 people can make a hit game that will sell millions of units. More importantly (and what makes this different than 4 years ago), there are now many more channels through which to distribute and sell such a game. Many such games are receiving world-wide acclaim.

    Action item: Find an awesome partner and go create!

    Publishers Continue to be Valuable
    With casual, online and mobile games requiring smaller production budgets and eschewing retail (and thus expensive and slow) distribution in exchange for digital, the game industry was expecting to get rid of the publisher as a concept.

    But as the iPhone ecosystem clearly proves (as well as the web somewhat less clearly with portals like Shockwave.com and distribution companies like Zynga and RockYou), the publishers stay. Though they may not be forwarding cash and fully owning the game IPs, their expertise in marketing, game design and online distribution metrics and strategies make them a valuable, if no longer totally required, partner to the game developer.

    Action item: Consider working with a publisher. Fortunately with publishers’ leverage lessened, they are typically less demanding with regards to what they have to own (IP, sequel rights, revenue share). Or become your own publisher by building that expertise. This is not a simple task, but has been done by some of the top online game developers.

    Everything Becomes a “Console”
    This one is somewhat controversial. It seemed that with the move towards mobile and web, the closed ecosystems of the console world would be under siege and eventually collapse. What game developer (except perhaps the ones most entrenched in with the Nintendos-Microsoft-Sony trinity) hasn’t fantasized about this walled garden having its walls rammed down?

    Well, welcome to the new world. The iPhone has proven that given the right amount of “openness”, neither consumers nor developers really mind closed platforms.

    Even on the anarchic web (regions of which remind one more of a Mad-Maxian post-apocalyptical cyberspace than an enlightened utopia), Facebook is in the process of creating a closed environment within which consumers and game developers can meet and exchange fun and money (more or less) safely.

    This section could also have been labeled “the Rise of the AppStore Model”, since it’s more the App Store than the gaming console which inspires this megatrend. And framed like that, it might have made people happy. But this is a problematic trend (to say the least) that should make us stop to think.

    Action item: Make use of this. Or if you’re brave, build your own!

    Facebook Wallet, Apple Tablet, Unity on Facebook
    And then are the obvious ones.

    Of course Apple will launch its tablet. We even know the screen-size and CPU make. The only uncertainly left is what day it launches. And its price.

    Surely Facebook will launch a payment platform which in tandem with Facebook Connect will dramatically transform the face of microtransactions on the internet. If they do this right, it will finally enable the web-wide microtransactions which we’ve been dreaming of since the dot-com era.

    And of course Unity will be big on Facebook. Several major games will get launched on Facebook, offering awesome games to hundreds of millions of people (not to mention significantly moving the needle on adoption of the Unity plugin).

    Action item: Left as an exercise for the reader :)

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  • Unity iPhone Contest Finalists Announced…

    Posted on September 3rd, 2009 IndieGamePod No comments

    Hey folks,

    The finalists for the contest have been announced. They are below. You can vote on your favorite one and the winner will be announced September 12th, 2009. Voting is open until 11:59 PM, September 10th.

    Thanks again to everyone that participated…

    Cast your vote for the finalist below by filling out the finalist number in the comment box below…finalists are not allowed to vote…all ballots are private.

    Finalist #1:
    Justin:
    I’m an technical artist/designer at a small studio developing games for XBLA/PSN and will be jumping into IPhone dev in my spare time with a programmer coworker. I’d love to get ahold of Unity for development though the costs seems a bit high for the initial investment in making apps.

    One project I plan on making is a 3D stylized version of a physics based destruction game similar to Crush the Castle.

    http://armorgames.com/play/3614/crush-the-castle

    The game won’t revolve around the medieval genre but the mechanic will be similar with a much more diverse upgrade system.

    The few open source engine solutions I’ve looked into seem very viable, though I know getting Unity would be a huge advantage!

    Finalist #2:
    Thamster:
    My proposal is a revision to a relatively popular previously released amateur iphone game iGate 3d. I put this out on the iphone app store to mixed reviews.

    The premise was a portable version of the popular valve game Portal. Having hand written the engine myself in 2 months as a hobby project, I would think it would be interesting to contrast the amateur implementation with one made using a professional engine like Unity.

    I wanted to see how difficult it would be to implement the portal algorithm in js instead of c++ and wanted to add a time rewind mechanic similar to the one seen in Braid.

    If I win, I would be willing to release some snippets of the algorithms involved for both of those mechanics to the unity community!

    Vote for me!

    Finalist #3:
    Sabotender:
    Hi, my name is Thomas Beswick, and i am the Lead Designer of Dark Codex studios.
    We are active indie developers and have a close partnership with Tumbleweed Interactive (who have released an iPhone game already) and iPhone publisher Chillingo.

    As such we would greatly appreciate a Unity iPhone SDK, especially as we allready have experience using Unity Indie.

    Our planned iPhone game is a classic point n click adventure, however our game will utilize a more modern appearance as we are planning to have many layers of paralax scrolling backgrounds, and modern particle effects. Our first iPhone game will be set at a very low price, and will focus mainly on telling the story.
    If the game is successfull we have many more games planned and documented.

    Best of luck to us all
    Yours,
    Thomas Beswick
    Dark Codex

    Finalist #4:
    John:
    Hi all!

    Busker Games is a team of seasoned industry vets from triple-A studios, who’ve worked on titles including Halo, Guild Wars, Dungeon Siege, and Total Annihilation.

    We’re breaking loose to try our hand at smaller and more personal games! Currently we’re getting started using Unity Indie, and working on a handful of smaller ideas for the iPhone.

    One of our planned ‘big’ projects revolves around some of our guys who were original artists on the Liesure Suit Larry series, and will be a casual (in the ‘original’ definition of the word, circa 1970) adventure game style homage to the King of Kitsch.

    Good ‘ol American fun, hopefully just clean enough to pass Apple’s review board. :)

    We’re still a bootstrapped team, scraping together resources for macs and a handful of Unity Indie kits, and would be greatly honored and cavorting for joy if you chose us!

    Thanks! Great idea guys!

    John Gronquist
    Busker Games LLC

    Finalist #5:
    Proposal:

    Revamped version of Atari’s classic S.T.U.N. Runner mixed with Wipeout elements. This game would be perfect for the iPhone’s Accelerometer/Tilt for a control schema.

    Already have a Unity3d Indie prototype of the game made.

    Thank you.

    Finalist #6:
    Jean-Francois:
    Hi, my name is Jean-François Moulin and I’m a professional developer. When not at work, I am prototyping the following game idea with a small assembled team in unity indie.

    The game I propose is a stripped down (probably space) RTS where you have to defend a base (planet) with units created by the user using lego like addon.

    The player can add an addon and an effect to any base units. This allow for very custom units where all combinations of units/addons/effects are possible.

    Unit creation controls will stay very simple to allow for a fast paced game.

    The game is centered on the planet defense, but there will be moons that players can use to build additional defenses on depending on the stage.

    Enemies will come from all sides and will force the player to dispatch his units strategically around the planet while managing energy that allows him to power his units.

    This is not a tower defense revamped, though you need to defend something. The presentation, gameplay, and mechanics are very different. (2d side scrolling style)

    The game is more designed than this, but this is enough to give the idea.

    Finalist #7:
    Brandon:
    Proposal overview:
    A “pokemon” style game where players create and raise “fighter pets” on their phones to fight against other players’ fighter pets. Similar to
    Duels (http://www.duels.com) where players can train their pets to become better at different skills. The game will be connected to Facebook to allow players to play against other players on the popular social networking site. Pets can be placed in real world locale by integrating with the iPhone’s internal camera.

    Finalist #8:
    Ryan:
    Hi everyone! We’d like to make Kahoots!

    http://www.untoldentertainment.com/blog/2009/07/31/kahoots-intro-cut-scene/

    Kahoots is a fun, crime-themed puzzle game modeled entirely in clay. We’ve been developing it using the iPhone’s screen size, but the Objective-C learning curve has really put a roadblock in our path. Here’s an article about our struggles:

    http://www.untoldentertainment.com/blog/2009/05/22/one-step-forward-nine-miles-back/

    We’d LOVE to use Unity3D for the project. It uses similar rules as a game called Set, if you’ve ever played that. It’s funny and challenging and it looks really cool. There are 50 levels in the game, with 5 game types and 2 modes – Story Mode and Quickplay Mode.

    Nearly all of the graphics and cut-scenes for the game are finished, and we’re already a licensed Apple developer. All we really need is a Unity iPhone license to plug in the assets, and we’re off to the races!

    If you want to try the Closed Public Beta build from a few months ago, please send me an email:

    info@untoldentertainment.com

    Finally, here’s the Designer Diary for the game:

    http://www.untoldentertainment.com/blog/kahoots-designer-diary

    Thanks! And good luck, everyone! (It’s great to see so many people interested in making graphic adventure games!)

    - Ryan

    Finalist #9:
    Michael:
    Proposal: An Augmented Reality Platformer

    Players can choose from different obstacle courses, that can start either at a defined map location or from the player’s immediate spot. They then run, jump and use special abilities they can pick-up to defeat enemies and surmount obstacles.

    Previous level attempts by the player or those shared by other players can be overlayed on the course to give players someone to pace against.

    Players would also be able to create their own obstacle courses and share them online either for reuse at other locations or for specific map locations allowing them to integrate real-world obstacles into the challenge.

    Finalist #10:
    Mike:
    Proposal: A “base defense” science fiction themed game

    I’m a professional developer who works with a pair of artists to develop iPhone apps outside of our day jobs. I also have almost a decade of experience in the games industry, having shipped 12 titles as a developer and 6 as a test engineer. I have tried the Unity iPhone demo and I’m very impressed; and the technical artist on my team has made some pretty impressive demos in a short amount of time.

    My game idea is inspired from the type of large starship battles familiar from Star Trek and Star Wars. You command a starship, which must defend itself from wave after wave of attacks by enemy craft. With each enemy you destroy, you gain resources which can be used to repair or upgrade your ship. Additionally, there will be a mechanic which allows you to divert power to and from different systems, which adds a real-time element to a genre that is traditionally mostly passive. For example, if enemies are attacking from the front of the ship, the player can divert power from the rear shields to the front in order to minimize the damage received. This “power” as I envision it is a separate, renewable resource as opposed to the “cash” received from destroying enemies. (But your ship’s total power capacity/renewal rate/etc. can have possible upgrades purchased with cash.)

    As the game progresses, players will see their starship evolve into whatever they choose, depending on their play style. I want to avoid the “golden path” style gameplay which rewards only one “correct” set of decisions. Any “captain” should be able to guide their ship the way they see fit.

    I could dive into more detail but I’ll keep this short for now.

    Thank you for your consideration.

    Finalist #11:
    Pacific:
    Short Description:
    Solve (language-learning) puzzles in an immersive, mysterious world!

    Game Genre:
    3d adventure game (educational)

    Background/Purpose:
    I live on Guam, a small American island south of Japan. English is the predominant language here, but the language of our elders (Chamorro) is dying out… it’s rarely spoken among younger generations. There are many recent efforts to revive this endangered language among kids and teens (following successful practices taken by the Maori in New Zealand), but there’s still much work to be done toward preserving our island’s rich culture. By applying the Chamorro language to new technology and media (i.e. an iphone game that can also be ported to an online format), youth will be able to engage with the language in a more relevant environment.

    Description:
    Using the great new tutorials being put out by Unity (e.g. http://bit.ly/DPDNW), I plan to initially develop a single-level 3d world. As the main character, you will travel about and solve a series of nine puzzles in order to complete the narrative (very similar to classic adventure games). Each puzzle will require the application of beginner-level Chamorro (example: unlock a door by solving a Chamorro riddle).

    Ideal User:
    Youth (ages 9-15), and others, who are interested in applying their Chamorro language skills.

    Additionally, I should note that this game will not make millions of dollars. In fact, I plan to make it freely available. :-) But, it will fill a significant need in providing youth with a relevant way to engage with their grandparents’ language.

    Future Expansion:
    I envision this project as a step toward creating a series of games with increasingly difficult language puzzles (to correspond with a person advancing toward language fluency).

    Additionally, I’d love to repurpose the game for other endangered languages. In other words, I’d use the same immersive world but change the language used in the puzzles.

    About myself:
    I recently completed grad school with an MA in instructional technology. My studies focused on creating educational exhibits and websites for museums, but I also took quite a few classes in game design. Until now I’ve created games using java or actionscript 3.0, but I’m looking to branch out.

    I also already have an iphone developer license, and believe it or not, a subscription to Unity Developer magazine (but no copy of Unity software yet). I’m dying to jump right in, and I look forward to sharing/blogging the game design process.

    ****

    Those are all the finalists…cast your vote below. Finalists are not allowed to vote. The ballot votes are private.

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  • Unity iPhone SDK Contest Update…

    Posted on September 3rd, 2009 IndieGamePod No comments

    Hey folks,

    Some people have asked about the results of the contest…the general contest is closed…and I’ll post the finalists later today. People will have 1 week to vote on the finalists and after that the winner will be announced. Thx :)

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  • Contest: Win a FREE Unity IPhone SDK License…

    Posted on July 20th, 2009 IndieGamePod 20 comments

    Hey folks,

    The team at Unity was nice enough to donate the dev kit they have for making an IPhone game to the show (click here to listen to their interview).

    Anyways, this is a pretty sweet deal imo…as their SDK speeds up iPhone development big time. You can check out more details on the SDK here…

    The contest will go on for 2 weeks (until August 25th, 2009) and will consist of submitting a proposal for an iPhone game. The other readers will get to vote on the game they want to see made and the most-voted person/team will win the license. Keep in mind that I’ll get final decision on the winner…and will choose the person/team most likely to finish the game they proposed :)

    Winner gets all the Unity tools needed to make an iPhone game using their platform. Keep in mind that you’ll also need to have an iPhone dev account with Apple to make an iPhone app (all iPhone devs need this).

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Anyways, submit your proposal in the comments below :)

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