I had the opportunity to attend the Unite Europe 16 conference in Amsterdam earlier this month. What an experience! The exhibition hall was filled with all kinds of products and companies. I also had a chance to talk to some very interesting people. There was also a dedicated space for games that was made with Unity. The conference ran for 3 days and was packed with talks on all subjects surrounding Unity.Topics ranged from business, marketing and design, to more developer oriented technical talks. Luckily there was enough time during coffee breaks to browse the showroom floor and network with other developers.
Virtual Reality on the rise
Some of the talks at Unite Europe I listened to included: Designing Motion for VR Games, Building Presence in VR, Next generation AI, Building Simulated Worlds (Spatial OS), Roomscale VR discussion panel (from Lucid Trips, Selfie Tennis, Valve, Budget Cuts and Space Pirate Trainer), Storytelling, Writing Custom Shaders, AAA Scenes into VR, and a talk by Chris from Zerolight on the challenges faced when building super high fidelity car visualisations, among others. There were quite a few VR related talks, so the industry is definitely heating up. You can watch the opening keynote to see some of the upcoming features in the next Unity release (I’m looking forward to the new cinematic sequence editor and area lights)!
Some of us got together on the first day around a few beers and discussed the future of VR. It was a sobering conversation, but also a very inspiring one. Virtual Reality as a technology and industry is still in its infancy, and has a long way to go. Especially to educate the broader market outside the IT sector of the possibilities and opportunities that VR can afford (besides gaming of course). As people get informed and can experience the tech for themselves, adoption will start to grow exponentially. A few people I spoke to where already using VR to build applications for safety training, therapy and medical visualisations.
I know this might sound like a cliché, but one thing that stood out for me was the sense of community among the Unity developers, from indie game developers to big companies. Everyone I talked to was very open and friendly and eager to answer questions and share their experiences.
Lastly a special mention for 2 games that featured this year at Unite Europe 16. The guys from “Kung-Fu for Kinect” demoed their game non stop all through the conference. You basically have to play air kung-fu to fend off attacking ninjas. The other game was Hue. In this game, you have to change the color of the level to solve puzzles. I met Dan on the train on my way to the airport and we chatted a bit about their upcoming title, and it looks awesome!
Go check it out and support indie games!