Unity Technologies recently held its Unite 2007 user conference in San Francisco, discussing the state of the Unity engine with existing users. During the event, announcements included the release of Unity 2.0
, a price drop of its license for independent developers, news of Unity up and running on the Wii, and the winner of the Top DOG unity game development contest.
Several hours of each conference day put Unity Technologies staff one-on-one with developers for project support. Sessions focused on creating an open dialogue between Unity founders and conference attendees, creating a wish list of future features and improved usability.
Out of 40 entrants, five finalists were chosen in the Top DOG development contests, and the overall winner was FlashBang Studios, who earned licenses to Unity 2.0 Pro, Unity Asset Server, and a bag of $2000 in cash (it really was in a bag!).
During the "Taking Your Games To Market" session, Unity Evangelist Tom Higgins called out AddictingGames/Shockwave.com, Freeverse, and Ultimate Arcade -- who were in attendance at the conference -- as well as Big Fish, Real Arcade, and Kongregate as portals supporting Unity.
He advised aspiring indie and casual developers to use preexisting portals over self-publishing, to enable them to focus on developing games, rather than trying to build traction on their own website -- at least when starting out. He also stressed defining a target market before beginning development, and understanding the business models and target markets of publishers and portals as part of a solid preparation strategy before meeting with them.
In a brief interview with Gamasutra, Unity CEO David Helgason mentioned that they love "the ability to do really new things and to do them better" and that they are helping to "[push] the barrier of entry (to game development) down", both in terms of price and usability. When asked about Unreal Engine, Helgason said that Unity is the engine for everyone not using Unreal, and claimed Unity is less buggy and a more productive development environment.
Conference organizers said that the event held over 70 attendees from around the world, including both indie and non-indie developers, educators, installation and performance artists, and publishers. The conference closed with an open mic where developers could showcase their current projects.
Further information on the event is available at the official website
, and event organizers promise summaries of the event presentations to be posted on the site shortly.