Train2Game News Unity asset store expected to reach 1mil

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Unity Technologies is proud to announce that the company’s Asset Store is expected to exceed one million users by the end of the year and celebrates its fourth birthday with the Birthday Bonanza Madness Sale.

Today, it offers more than 15,000 content packages and apps – available from nearly 3,800 creators – to developers, delivering exciting content packages for 2D and 3D models, plus other tools and services such as animation, audio, editor extensions, shaders, scripting, textures, and materials.

Unity’s Asset Store is a marketplace designed to give all developers the opportunity to compete in today’s crowded gaming market by increasing quality and lowering costs. It launched in November 2010 and has continued to be a unique, robust resource that offers content, tools, and services like no other engine. Unity estimates that the Asset Store ecosystem, empowering Unity developers to create games and apps with a more efficient and effective production process, saves developers six million workdays over a 12-month period, which roughly equals a savings of $1.4 billion.

The Unity Asset Store was instrumental in empowering Nicolas Liatti to create Stealth, a new mobile game. “Thanks to the Asset Store, I was able to single-handedly develop my first mobile game, Stealth, which offers players a high-quality production value that can compete with larger studios that have multi-million dollar production budgets,” said Liatti. “The content, technology, and tools that Unity has available in its marketplace have made it possible for me to offer unique experiences in the game, which surpass the stealth-based gameplay that have come before it.”

The Unity Asset Store offers a huge array of production ready assets like environment art and Hollywood -quality music and sound effects, as well as cutting-edge technology i ncluding editor extensions and sop h i sticated  shaders. Developers come to Unity first to help them make huge strides forward in their projects. With the Asset Store, Unity is enabling innovative workflows to emerge, attracting avid users like Richard Garriott’s Portalarium and Brian Fargo’s inXile Entertainment to the system. Unity’s extensibility empowers developers to create tools and utilities to extend the functionality of the editor itself and roll their own tools and features into Unity. As a result, developers can easily resell their products in the Asset Store, which makes it a fertile ground for game-enhancing technology, tools, and content.

For many asset creators, the Asset Store has become a primary source of income. “The Asset Store and community have made the continued development of Shader Forge possible to the point where I’ve now been working on it full time for about a year,” said Joachim Holmér, creator of Shader Forge. “It’s absolutely amazing to see what people create with a tool of your own making and watch how an actively helpful community forms around it. You rarely have a chance to add an extra tool in an application and you rarely have the chance to distribute it to so many people.”

“We envisioned the Asset Store as a democratic marketplace that would give developers, especially indies, a way to acquire high quality assets and technology cheaply while also providing a way to make some extra money on the side,” said David Helgason, Founder and EVP, Unity Technologies. “Because Unity is used by so many developers, inside and outside of gaming, around the world, the Asset Store has become a big part of the success the Unity developer community. It’s saving developers time and resources, providing access to assets and tools that would otherwise have been out of reach, and has created incredible new streams of revenue for many. We are very proud of what it’s turned into just four years after launch.”

Train2Game News Former CEO of EA takes over at Unity

unity-logoUnity Technologies announced today that Co-founder David Helgason has stepped back from his role as CEO and welcomed John Riccitiello, former CEO of Electronic Arts, into the position. Helgason will continue at Unity as Executive Vice President in charge of strategy and communications.

John Riccitiello steps into the role of CEO of Unity Technologies having served on the Board of Directors from November 2013. Previous to his work with Unity, Riccitiello served as the CEO of Electronic Arts and co-founded investment firm Elevation Partners. He has also served as advisor to, and invested in, several startups including Oculus VR and Synertainment.

“I’m so proud of everything Unity accomplished in the last decade but now it’s time to look forward to an excellent future. Our mission is an important one, so I’m incredibly happy that John has agreed to lend his formidable experience to the role of CEO at Unity,” said David Helgason. “We’ve had the chance to work together over the last year-and-a-bit and come to recognize how similar our views are on the importance of the democratization of development to a thriving developer ecosystem and healthy games industry. We’re in great hands.”

“Unity has been a hugely positive force in the games industry for years. Now it’s my incredible fortune to have the opportunity to help guide Unity going forward.” said John Riccitiello. “Unity is more than a great engine or packages of services, it’s an amazing and diverse community of developers, many of which are changing the way we think about game design and production. Unity’s mission – to democratize development – is an important one that I’m very happy to help drive forward.”

Train2Game News Unity working closely with Oculus

unity-logoDuring Oculus Connect, Oculus and Unity Technologies announced that they have expanded their strategic partnership that will strengthen Unity’s engine support for Oculus, providing the 3.3 million strong Unity development community with cutting-edge tools to create incredible virtual reality experiences for the Oculus Rift and Oculus VR Store.

The new partnership will introduce a new dedicated Oculus add-on for both the free and Pro versions of the Unity platform that the Unity community will enjoy at no additional costs. The Oculus add-on will include stereo imaging optimizations, 3D audio support, deeper Unity editor integration, inclusion of the Oculus Rift in the Unity development and debugging workflow, integration of Oculus-specific APIs within Unity, and direct publishing to the Oculus platform.

“There are so many incredible VR projects on Unity, and this partnership will make it even easier to build more great experiences for the Oculus platform,” said Brendan Iribe, Oculus CEO. “We’re thrilled to be working with Unity to put world-class tools in the hands of developers.”

“Oculus and Unity have been working together for a long while now and share a giddy kind of excitement for the future of virtual reality,” said David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies.

“Oculus is an innovative technological leader that is ushering in a new era for creating fully immersive interactive experiences, not just of games, but of all kinds. We’re incredibly happy to play a role in this and see that our entire developer community, who are already producing some really incredible stuff, can bring their crazy ideas to life inside the Oculus Rift.”

Oculus and Unity’s work to make Unity a powerful development tool for virtual reality development has resulted in hundreds of Oculus projects created using Unity technology, including Lucky’s Tale, DarkNet, The Gallery: Six Elements, and Titans of Space.

Train2Game News Unity acquires Applifier

unity-logoUnity Technologies, creators of the Unity multiplatform engine and development tools, announced that it will acquire Applifier, one of the world’s largest and most successful mobile game service providers.

The acquisition will see Everyplay, the pioneering game replay sharing and community service, integrated into the Unity development platform. The GameAds video advertising network will complement the free cross-promotion network currently in development for Unity Cloud.

Everyplay, created to let players express themselves with game replay sharing, provides developers with a unique way to acquire new players and increase retention for free. The service gives players the power to easily record, share and discuss extraordinary moments from their gameplay sessions leading to authentic virality with the players’ friends and the broader audience of involved gamers. Everyplay boasts a global community of over 6 million registered mobile players and is now growing by over 1 million new users each month with millions of shared replays from hundreds of integrated games on iOS and Android. The social game replay service, already easy for developers to adopt, will get integrated into Unity for effortless activation of features. Everyplay will continue to offer its SDKs outside of Unity products and enthusiastically welcomes any developer interested in using Everyplay with their games.

“Unity was founded to democratize game development, and we are incessantly searching for tools that can make our community more successful,” said David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies. “By welcoming Everyplay to the Unity platform, we’re arming our developers with an incredibly powerful and authentic way to connect with a rapidly growing community of passionate gamers.”

“The challenge for today’s developers doesn’t end with releasing awesome games – they also need to attract and retain legions of true fans,” said Jussi Laakkonen, CEO, Applifier. “We are thrilled to join forces with Unity and, with the help of the incredible Unity community, overcome these important challenges together.”

The acquisition also brings GameAds, a broadly adopted video ad network, to Unity. The service is used by leading game publishers to find engaged new users and to monetize non-paying users with video ads. The GameAds video ad network and Everyplay gaming community will work side by side Unity Cloud and its upcoming cross-promotion network. Together the three services will provide mobile game developers with multiple methods to grow their customer base.

Train2Game News: Unity partners with GameAnalytics

unity-logoGameAnalytics, a fast-growing free analytics provider, and Unity Technologies have partnered in order to bring the powerful GameAnalytics tools into the Unity Asset Store Online Services Strategic Partner program.

“During the last nine years, Unity has truly managed to democratize game development for the creative teams. GameAnalytics is on a mission to follow up from where the Unity engine ends and enable game developers of all sizes to monitor and optimize everything easily, from user acquisition to game design based on hard facts,” explained Morten E. Wulff, CEO of GameAnalytics. He continued: “Improvements based on performance metrics are essential to success in today’s free-to-play marketplace.”

GameAnalytics was founded in 2012 with $2.5m in funding from notable investors such as the CEO of Huffington Post, Jimmy Maymann, and TechCruch’s founder, Michael Arrington. Like Unity, GameAnalytics is a Danish company. It now supports almost 4,000 games and tracks more than 30 million new players each month.

One of the secrets behind GameAnalytics’ explosive growth is how easy it is for Unity developers to get started. As the CEO of Roadhouse, James Hursthouse, explained: “For us, the deep integration between GameAnalytics and Unity meant that we were up and running with 45+ important metrics in a few hours of development time.” James continued: “Today, more than 15 people from our company log in to GameAnalytics every day as one of the tools we use to check KPIs on everything from player acquisition and engagement to in-game monetization.”

“GameAnalytics has been committed to bringing analytics to the Unity community from the day they started the company,” stated David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies. “Analytics is an important part of launching a successful game and with GameAnalytics working with us in the Unity Asset Store Online Services Program, that will be easier than ever for development studios of all sizes.”

This could be a very helpful tool for Train2Game students and student studios using Unity to create their games.

Train2Game News: Unity 4.3 released

unity-logoUnity Technologies have released version 4.3 of the Unity multi-platform engine and development tools.

The important update includes the highly anticipated dedicated 2D development tools, huge additions to the Mecanim animation system, an upgrade to the re-written Umbra 3 occlusion culling, and much more.

While Unity has been used to create thousands of excellent 2D games, Unity 4.3 introduces new 2D development tools and metaphors specifically designed to streamline 2D workflow. Manipulating and optimizing 2D assets is made easier with the addition of a new Sprite Texture import mode, automated atlasing, an optimized 2D rendering, and drag-and-drop functionality for scene creation. Box2D physics have been integrated into Unity for better performance, stability, and smaller game builds. Additionally, polygon collider generation from sprite textures means quicker creation of accurate, but fully editable, physical collider meshes for refined physical response between objects in a scene.

In addition Unity’s signature character animation suite becomes more powerful with support for Blend Shapes, used to accurately and realistically blend complex geometry between model states, giving animators the ability to create, among other things, believable emotional facial animation.

On top of high-end improvements to character animation, Mecanim is now fully integrated with the Animation Window and its new dopesheet functionality. Support for animating simple scene elements, 2D sprite animations, camera settings, and more to make Mecanim an all-purpose animation solution.

The final big update for Unity is that Occlusion Culling in Unity has been rewritten for the upgrade to Umbra 3. Among other benefits, baking is much faster and generates much more accurate and better performing results. Rapid iteration allows for much more sophisticated environments containing highly detailed graphical content.

“4.3 is a huge update in the history of Unity,” said David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies. “The addition of 2D tools is an important milestone that will help developers make incredible 2D games, and with major improvements to Mecanim and greatly increased performance, this is a weighty, productive update that we’re thrilled to release.”

You can download Unity 4.3 and start creating games straight away from http://unity3d.com/unity/download

Train2Game News: Unity free for Xbox One Developers

Xbox OneMicrosoft has partnered with the maker of the popular Unity kit to secure free access for all ID@Xbox members to the Xbox One add-on, which is planned for launch next year.

Announced at Gamescom earlier this year, ID@Xbox will allow independent developers to self-publish on Xbox One without fees. Registered users will not be required to pay certification or title update fees, though currently developers “with a proven track record” are being prioritised for registration. Microsoft also said in July that every Xbox One console can be used as a development kit, though the functionality will not be available from launch.

“When released in 2014, the Xbox One add-on for Unity will be available at no cost to all developers in the ID@Xbox program, as will special Xbox One-only Unity Pro seat licenses for Xbox One developers in the ID@Xbox program,” confirmed Microsoft’s ID@Xbox director Chris Charla.

“We want to make sure the dev who’s working away in Omaha, or Coventry, or Chiba will have the same shot to realize their vision on Xbox One as one of my developer friends we hang out with in Seattle or at a trade show like GDC or Gamescom.

“The Unity add-on for Xbox One supports every element of Xbox One, from Kinect to SmartGlass to the impulse triggers of the new controller,” Charla added. “Using Unity, developers will be able to take advantage of all aspects of Xbox One, which is rad. More importantly, Unity is available for Windows and Windows Phone too (and yes, the add-on is available at no cost to developers for Windows Phone and Windows 8 store games). So from one base game, developers can ship their games across all Microsoft platforms.”

Unity Technologies CEO David Helgason has said that while the dev kit will support high-end features that will make use of Xbox One’s additional power, its established toolset will simplify deployment for familiar developers.

Train2Game News: Unity supports Xbox One and Windows 8

unity-logoMicrosoft has entered a partnership with the makers of the Unity game engine that will add tools and support for Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Xbox One.

The deal, unveiled at Microsoft’s Build Conference in San Francisco, brings yet another set of tools to reach Microsoft’s new platforms and will see the two companies collaborating to make Windows 8 and Xbox One even more approachable for Unity developers.

Xbox 360 and Xbox One developers who have their games published by Microsoft Studios will be given free access to Unity tools.

“Our vision is to democratize game development and provide opportunity for all developers, from individuals to massive teams,” said Unity CEO David Helgason.

“Our collaboration will help further these goals by empowering our community to create games across Microsoft’s powerful platforms. Their vision to provide the best outlet for games to be enjoyed parallels our own vision to build the best platform for games to be developed and we’re excited to work with them to shape the future of the industry.”

Unity’s support for the Xbox One includes many next-generation features like Kinect gestures and recognition, multiplayer matchmaking, SmartGlass, and the console’s cloud features.

The Windows 8 support includes a Windows Store Add-on that will be available for free to Unity Pro 4 licensees once it’s launched this summer. The add-on will support both Windows Store apps and Windows Phone 8 apps.

“Unity has established itself not only as an incredible development toolset and engine, but as a significant force for creative freedom and innovation in the games development community,” said Microsoft’s Steven Guggenheimer.

“With Unity’s commitment to support Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, Xbox One and Xbox 360, Microsoft’s gaming ecosystem will benefit from the wealth of ideas and imagination flowing from the Unity games development community.”

This should be great news for Train2Game students who enjoy creating with the Unity engine. It opens bigger, wider markets to get your work out in to the world.

Train2Game News: Unity goes free to develop for mobile

unity-logoGood news for Train2Game students, the Unity engine is now free to use for development for iOS and Android.

In a move to further democratise game development, Unity is making its basic mobile tools free for independent developers and small studios.

Unity is a game development ecosystem: a powerful rendering engine fully integrated with a complete set of intuitive tools and rapid work flow to create interactive 3D content. It also has thousands of quality, ready-made assets in the Asset Store and a helpful knowledge-sharing Community.

Starting today, indies will be able to publish their games and apps to iOS and Android in the build menu. Publishing options for other mobile platforms, such as BlackBerry and Windows Phone 8 will also be included “at no additional cost” once they are released.

Unity CEO David Helgason said “We were able to make Unity free for the web and for desktop computers a while ago, but have been dreaming of doing the same for mobile for what seems like forever.

“Mobile games development is possibly the most dynamic and exciting industry in the world, and it’s an honour to be able to help so many developers be so successful in fulfilling their visions and in building their businesses.”

Taking to Twitter, Unity rendering architect Aras Pranckevičius said that there will be some compensation for developers who had already paid for their licence but he is unsure of how the compensation scheme will work.

This is obviously amazing news for Train2Game students and student studios as it is one less boundary stopping you from developing games. You can download the engine and start developing today from here, http://unity3d.com/

Train2Game News: Unity game engine developers working with Facebook

unity-logoUnity technologies is working with Facebook to improve the games on the social media site. This is good news for Train2Game students who are using the engine to develop games.

Unity Technologies, provider of the Unity multi-platform engine and development tools, have announced its collaboration with Facebook to launch an improved Unity experience on the social platform. The collaboration will improve the user experience of Unity games, continue to drive core games that build on the Unity Web Player, and make it easy for developers to build amazing cross-platform experiences.

With over 200 million global installs, the Unity Web Player is the best solution for core games and AAA visuals on the web, making the collaboration with Facebook a natural fit. Unity’s construction of a new social network API in the Unity Web Player has enabled Facebook to improve the “full screen” and the “full canvas” experience of Unity games by eliminating the need to leave full screen for social interaction, and to make it easier for developer to integrate tightly with Facebook’s social graph. Over 75m active Facebook users have installed the Unity Web Player to enjoy popular Unity games such as Offensive Combat, Robot Rising, Wizard of Oz, Uberstrike, Kings Bounty and I AM Playr. The new integrations will help make these existing experiences better while laying the foundation for further Unity Web Player adoption and feature expansion.

“The Unity Web Player is an incredible browser based platform for core games”, said Sean Ryan, Director of Games Partnerships, Facebook, “People on Facebook are looking for the type of immersive games that have traditionally existed on consoles and desktop PCs. This collaboration will drive discovery of the Unity Web Player for Facebook users, make it easier for Unity games to integrate with Facebook, improve the full-screen experience on our games platform, and make it easier for these developers to build cross platform games across desktop and mobile.”

“The experience of playing a Unity game in Facebook is vastly improved in Unity 4, and working with Facebook makes it even better,” said David Helgason, CEO of Unity Technologies. “We are already seeing an amazing crop of quality games coming to Facebook, and can’t wait to see how developers make use of this new opportunity.”

As an addition to the recently released Unity 4.1 update, Unity 4.1.1 includes the new social network API. Unity 4.1 includes a complete overhaul of the Memory Profiler, updates to the Mecanim Animation system, Apple AirPlay support, and new shader features. To download the latest product cycle release for Unity 4 visit http://unity3d.com/unity/download/.