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Unity今年在温哥华这个城市举办Unity大会,我们很难想象世界上还有哪个游戏大会能够像Unite 2013这样夺人眼球。

Unity在3D技术上的持续提升(以及对下一代主机的支持)意味着图像日益成为Unity引擎的重要部分。以下是Pocketgamer出席今年Unite 2013大会总结的5点体会:

convcentre(from pocketgamer)

convcentre(from pocketgamer)

1.开发者爱玩家不爱平台

如今未支持iOS平台的手机游戏开发者已经是屈指可数了。

苹果iOS已经成为第一手机游戏平台,因此也是Unity新功能及其第三方API插件的首选停靠港。

但这里有一个重要的区别。多数开发者都乐见iOS玩家大量下载游戏的事实(更重要的是,这些玩家乐意为其花钱),但却鲜有开发者对iOS本身抱有好感。

黑莓和微软在Unite 2013大会也大大露了一回脸,这两者都是该大会赞助商,享有极高曝光率。微软的游戏展位极力拉拢更多Unity开发者支持他们的平台,由此可见iOS和Android已经不再像过去那样成为Unite大会关注的焦点。

尽管如此,人群中仍有许多关于Unity新功能或插件是否“仅支持iOS”还是也能够支持其他小型平台等问题不断涌现。

在Unity的营销演讲中,一名开发者甚至站起来问他是否还有必要继续将iOS作为首要平台——其他竞争平台也已经有足够用户,他可以先支持这些平台,之后再借助Unity工具瞄准iOS平台。

简而言之,开发者现在还是像App Store刚问世不久那样对iOS十分忠诚,但在许多人看来,iOS已经不再像过去那样光彩夺目了。

开发者已经意识到,iOS开发之路并非由金砖铺砌而成。

2.Unity并非无故向发行领域进军

Unity在Unite 2013大会上宣布进军iOS和Android发行领域的消息绝非偶然,用其首席执行官David Helgason的话来说,公司的合资企业在发行领域方面还是一片空白。

尽管如此,人们还是要问,“为何要现在”宣布这一举措?

Unity开发者基础持续壮大,目前仍有许多工作室还没有使用Unity引擎,因此Unity无疑希望提早几年介入,但进军发行领域这一措施运用在这家仍在成长而非已达颠峰的公司身上,是否存在“拔苖助长”的嫌疑呢?

David Helgason在20分钟的谈话中否定了这一看法。在他看来,Unity Games就是Unity帮助开发者这一宗旨的合理扩展结果。

正如Unity Cloud(这是应游戏开发工作室的要求而诞生的产物)一样,Helgason认为Unity发以为其帮助的游戏增加其他发行商所无法提供的价值。

更重要的是,Unity的大名已经有自己的立足之地。开发者拥护Unity——他们不仅仅是出于必要性而使用Unity,他们还积极当Unity的啦啦队,向更广泛的社区推荐Unity。因此不难想象,Unity Games的问世,至少在其刚露面时,也能够获得同样的掌声。

除此之外,这一服务还能够让Unity获得一定的消费者基础。我个人并不认为这是Unity迫切需要的东西,但无论是哪种行业的公司,都不会拒绝来自消费者的认同感,未来将有更多玩家清楚地了解Unity。

3.黑莓和微软并肩作战

也许你也听说了“手机平台的第三名之争”,但行业多数人不买帐,黑莓和微软也不例外。

你会发现不少评论者和分析师都迫不及待地宣布这场竞争中的赢家,或者说这两者中谁最可能在未来数月和数年成为第三大手机平台。

但黑莓和微软这两家同时现身于Unite 2013大会的公司,似乎对争取开发者眼中的“合法”地位更感兴趣,而非压下对方的风头。

当被问到如何看待黑莓与其他操作系统相比处于哪个位置,以及黑莓是否将Windows Phone视为竞争对手时,黑莓高管Sean Paul Taylor回避了正面回答,而是将两家公司比喻为并肩作战的手足。

他指出“苹果在哪?谷歌又在哪?这两者都没有现身Unite大会,但我们却都来了”,他认为黑莓和微软是真正愿意倾听开发者心声,而不是命令开发者服从平台的公司。

“市场竞争只会更激烈。我们听了David的演讲,我们还会遇到来自其他新平台以及Windows Phone的挑战。”

简单地说就是,虽然市场入口越来越小,但竞争者规模却日益庞大。即使黑莓或Windows Phone能够将对方挤出市场,也还会有其他后来者跟上,市场竞争永远不会消停。

总有新挑战者蠢蠢欲动,这就是移动市场的魅力所在。

4、开发者开始了解游戏规则 

除了宣布Unity进军发行领域的消息之外,该公司还发表了让开发者了解营销和PR策略重要性的演讲。

它几乎是一个开发者如何进行营销和PR的建议列表,这表明在Unity看来,开发者不应该再满足于潜心制作好内容,还应该认识到身为独立开发者,就意味着他们应该关注开发和发布内容之外的更多知识。

这也意味着有效推广自己。而抛头露面对于开发者来说则是一个全新的领域。

正如Unity PR经理Dan Adams和开发者关系专家Tracy Erickson所言,这可不只是向Twitter推出你的游戏,并加上古怪的评论,而是要清楚你想如何推销游戏,未来有什么计划。

Adams称“你如果只是找到一个人向记者发送邮件说‘我的游戏有15种不同的武器’,谁会关心这个呢?有许多PR工作是创建一种核心信息,将其同社交媒体和纸质媒体整合起来。”

这并不是很容易。事实上,对于那些擅长此道的人来说,发布本身就相当于一个项目了。

5、开发者云集温哥华

Unity从来不会选择一个糟糕会场,所以Unite大会向来不乏观众捧场。

今年的温哥华Unite大会甚至比2012年阿姆斯特丹召开的大会更为成功,汇集了周边地区的大量开发者。

有名开发者在第一天的午餐时间中表示,“我甚至还没有使用Unity,但看到大会入驻,我就报名参加了。它看起来非常活跃,每年都是这么热闹吗?”

实际上,每年的大会都必须在其本身就是一个开发中心的地区召开。

今年GDC Europe在科隆举办的大会(在Unite大会之前数天召开)一个令人失望之处就是,大会本身的宗旨同当地并没有多大瓜葛,科隆充其量只能算是一个发展中的游戏开发城市。

GDC Europe选择进驻科隆,原因在于为了同科隆国际游戏展(Gamescom)挂钩,那里有一个巨大的会场可以同时容纳这两大盛事。但它本身与举办城市没有太大关系。

Unite 2013,正如去年阿姆斯特丹Unite大会一样,入驻的是一个极为活跃的开发地点,吸引了无数原来并非Unity用户的工作室。

这对Unity的好处就是,原先踏入会场的开发者或许还并非Unity工具的用户,但他们离开之后很可能就变成该引擎的拥趸。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,作者:Keith Andrew)

Top 5 things we learned at Unite 2013 in Vancouver

by Keith Andrew

It’s very easy to get lost in the city when you’re in Vancouver.

I don’t mean physically lost – landmark buildings aplenty make it quite easy to make your away around unaided – but, rather, lost in the wonder of what is truly a city of contrasts.

Though highly urbanised (and, thanks to some striking architecture, stunningly so too) Vancouver is also a city of nature. Stanley Park – the city’s 220 year old urban park – feels more like a nature reserve than it does a splash of green for executives to each their lunchtime sandwiches on.

Just as well, then, that Unity chose to base its annual Unite conference in Vancouver’s Convention Centre.

Almost built into the city’s sea wall itself, this stunning new development appears to have quickly become a Mecca for the ton of tourists that swamp into the city each day – many, in fact, departing the numerous cruise ships that slip in to dock next to the Convention Centre itself.

Chances are, even if you were walking around Vancouver aimlessly, you’d stumble upon the Convention Centre at some point.

The view below Vancouver’s Convention Centre

Yet, despite the draw of the urban environment that surrounded Unite 2013 last week, PocketGamer.biz was still in prompt attendance each day, sitting in on a bevy of talks and mingling with the great and the good banqueting in the Centre’s sumptuous dining hall, overlooking the northern reaches of the city on the other side of the harbour.

It’s hard to imagine many games conferences around the world can rival Unite 2013 in Vancouver in terms of visual splendor.

And, perhaps that sense of spectacle was intended. Unity’s continued 3D push (and support for next-gen consoles) means sharp visuals are increasingly becoming part and parcel of the engine’s arsenal. What better place is there to host a conference in a city so striking, it scarcely seems real.

But, aside from making this writer feel particularly at home (Canadians spell ‘colour’ and ‘centre’ correctly, and their $20 bill has a picture of the Queen on it) what else did PocketGamer.biz take away from this year’s Unite conference? Well…

Developers don’t love the platform, they love the player

You can probably count on one hand the number of mobile developers you know who don’t work on iOS.

Apple’s OS has become (and remains) the premier platform for mobile gaming and, as a result, is the first port of call for both Unity’s new features and the third party APIs that plug into it.

But there’s an important distinction to be made here. If the questions asked by those in attendance of many of the talks are anything to go by, developers love the fact that iOS gamers download games in their millions and – even more importantly – are seemingly happy to spend money in them, but plenty of developers seem to have fallen out of love with iOS itself.

As we’ll discuss later, both BlackBerry and Microsoft had a big presence at Unite 2013 – both were event sponsors and featured prominent stands and, in Microsoft’s case, game porting booths in an effort to endear more and more Unity developers to their respective platforms – and that undoubtedly ensured that the conference wasn’t as iOS and Android focused as it has been in the past.

But, nonetheless, an increasing number of questions from the crowd focused on whether said new feature or plugin was “just for iOS” or whether it would also work on other, smaller platforms.

In Unity’s marketing talk, one developer even stood up to ask whether he “had to” lead with iOS any more – whether rival platforms had enough of audience now that he could work on them first and, with Unity’s help, target Apple’s OS later.

In short, developers are as committed to iOS now as they have been any time since the launch of the App Store, but the gloss and allure the platform previously had has long gone in the eyes of many.

Developers have realised that the streets of iOS aren’t actually paved with gold.

Unity’s move into publishing isn’t a punt in the dark

Unity’s move into iOS and Android publishing – announced at Unite 2013 – didn’t come out of the blue. The firm’s Union venture, in CEO David Helgason’s own words, was in itself publishing blank.

Nonetheless, the key question that sprung to mind when the move was revealed was ‘why now?’

Unity’s developer base continues to grow and there are still many more studios currently not using the engine that the company is no doubt hoping to tap up in the years ahead, but could the decision to make a move on publishing be a somewhat artificial way of making the company appear to be one that’s still growing, rather than one that’s peaked?

A 20 minute chat with CEO David Helgason was enough to suggest not. In his view – given in a convincing manner – Unity Games is a logical extension of what the company has always tried to do: help developers.

Just like Unity Cloud – launched in response to calls from studios for such a service to be provided – Helgason believes Unity can add value to the games it picked up in a way that many existing publishers can’t.

What’s more, the Unity name is now a big draw in its own right. Developers genuinely love Unity – they don’t just use it out of necessity, but they actively act as cheerleaders, helping spread take up amongst the wider community. It’s not hard to imagine that Unity Games will – at launch at least – be blessed with a similar halo.

As an aside, it’ll also give Unity a consumer presence. I’m personally not convinced that this is something the company actively needs, but it’s hard for firms of any kind, trade or otherwise, to resist seeking recognition from consumers.

There will already be some gamers acutely aware of the Unity – there could be a whole lot more who are similar educated in the years ahead.

BlackBerry and Microsoft are brothers in arms

You know that ‘race for third place’ thing? Yeah, large portions of the industry aren’t buying it. What’s more, neither are BlackBerry or Microsoft.

You’ll find plenty of commentators and analysts eager to declare a winner – or, at least, project which of the two is likely to come out on top in the months and years ahead, and they’re not wrong to do so.

But both BlackBerry and Microsoft, who were both at Unite 2013 in force, are more interesting in legitimising their platforms in the eyes of the developer than they are doing each other down.

When I questioned BlackBerry’s Sean Paul Taylor about where he saw the platform sitting in comparison to the other operating systems and whether the Canadian giant had Microsoft’s Windows Phone in its sights, he avoiding going for the jugular.

Instead, he presented the two companies as something of brothers in arms.

“Where is Apple? Where is Google? Neither of them are here at Unite, but we are,” he pointed out, presenting both his firm and even Microsoft as the ones actually listening to the developer base rather than dictating to them.

“And there’s only going to be more competition. We heard in David’s keynote, we’ve got other new platforms to come as well as us and Windows Phone. There’s Tizen, there are others too.”

In short, while the market is obsessed with narrowing the field, in reality the number of players is actually widening. Even if BlackBerry or Windows Phone manages to bleed the other one out of existence, the race wouldn’t be over.

Such is the allure of the mobile market that there’s always a new challenger set to appear.

Developers are starting to understand the rules of the game

Coupled with the news of Unity’s move into publishing was a talk designed to educate developers as to the importance of getting their marketing and PR strategies right.

It was almost something of a do-it-yourself talk for developers determined to go it alone, but – combined with the aforementioned ‘logical’ launch of Unity’s publishing venture – there was a genuine sense at Unity that developers previously just content with making a good game now understand that being independent means more than just developing and distributing content.

It also means effectively promoting them, too. And that’s a whole new minefield for developers to get their collective heads around.

It’s not a case of merely pushing your game out on Twitter and securing the odd review – as Unity PR manager Dan Adams and developer relations specialist Tracy Erickson pointed out, it’s about knowing what you want to say about your game and working from there.

“You get people who will email a journalist and say ‘my game has 15 different types of weapon,” said Adams.

“Who cares about that? A lot of public relations is about building a message at the core and tying it in with everything you talk about – social media and the press.”

Turns out this publishing lark isnt so easy after all. In fact, for those who do it well, publishing is almost like a business in its own right. Who knew?

Build it in Vancouver and they will come

Unity never chooses a bad venue for a conference and, as a result, it’s never short of attendees.

Even more so than 2012′s equally successful bash in Amsterdam, Vancouver’s Convention Centre was flooded with developers from the surrounding area.

“I don’t even use Unity yet, but I saw the conference was coming into town and signed up for it,” remarked one developer at lunch on the first day. “It seems really active. Is it like this every year?”

Vancouver from Stanley Park

The truth is, every conference needs a location that itself is already something of a hub.

One of the sad things about this year’s GDC Europe in Cologne – which run just days before Unite – was the fact that it seems to have very little connection to what is, at best, an emerging development scene in the area.

GDC Europe rolls into Cologne because it’s attached to Gamescom, and there’s a ridiculously big venue able to hold both of them quite comfortably. It has little connection to the city that hosts it, however.

Unite 2013 – as with Amsterdam the previous year – drew in what is an especially active development scene, attracting studios that (as a couple of conversations I had at lunch suggested) goes beyond the reach of Unity itself.

The upside for Unity is, of course, those developers who weren’t fully on board with the engine when they first stepped into the convention centre on the Wednesday morning will likely have been willing converts when they left early Friday evening.(source:pocketgamer

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