Unity 2013 Unite Conference Days 2 & 3: Awards, Free Phones & Partying like only Unity knows how

Click here for Day 1.

The talks given on day 2 of the conference were much more programming heavy so they mostly went over my head. If I were to redo the Unity conference, I would have focused on attending the design-oriented talks, such as the post-mortems. Although I know basic programming and enjoy it, my goal is to be a narrative designer (working my way up to creative director, like many other aspiring designers).

Hopefully by the next time I attend a conference like this, I’ll have obtained enough programming understanding to make better use of the talks.

Nonetheless, the Unite conference was invaluable in terms of  networking with members of the industry and absorbing what it takes to make it.

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The Xsens MVN: Inertial Motion Capture suit. One of the many sponsors of Unity who had booths set up in the main hallway.

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Do you get what she’s doing?

Lunchtime! Buffet-style Mexican with wraps, salads and empanadas. Sponsored by Qualcom. This was easily the best lunch of the conference.

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Guess what Luigi – I was sitting a few rows behind you!

There were a couple of cool things that I understood from this talk, which described the issues and workarounds in creating a rocket ship simulator. Originally when they made the ship fly millions of miles into space, the ship would break down due to floating point errors, where the numbers got too big for the 32 bit systems.

How did they solve it?

If you’re familiar with how the spaceship from Futurama flies, it’s something like that.

Instead of making the spaceship move, they move everything around it instead. So every now and then, they’d reset the numbers and move everything up to the spaceship, resetting its’ speed. Brilliant!

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Arial shot of the ‘cocktail happy hour’. Happy devs.

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I ran into my classmate Nicha (she loves cats!) and her new friend Nick.

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So Microsoft were being cool cats and giving out free Nokia Lumia 820 dev kits to anybody who successfully ported a unity game onto their phones or tablets. The lab had numerous laptops and computers for people to work with and although the room was mostly empty on the first day, once word spread, the room was continuously full from open to close on the other days.

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They provided food and drinks throughout for hardworking devs, some of whom stayed in the room for hours. Such as my classmates (left to right): Nick, Andrew and Spencer.

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It’s the Unite Awards!

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These went smoothly and quickly, as the booze-fest was soon after.

Community Choice WINNER: Endless Space, by Amplitude Studios

Runner-ups:

  • Bad Piggies by Rovio
  • Fantasy Adventure by USERJOY
  • Kentucky Route Zero by Cardboard Computer
  • Knights of Pen and Paper by Behold Studios
  • New PAL Online by Dream
  • Solstice Arena by A Bit Lucky
  • Surgeon Simulator 2013 by Bossa
  • The Room by Fireproof
  • Year Walk by Simogo

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The award was accepted by Stephanie, a communications officer from Amplitude Studios. There was a cat call from the back of the room as she went up, which surprised me. The Unite conference was a professional environment. I didn’t think a cat call was appropriate behaviour. Maybe it was something to do with the fact that the gender ratio at Unite was about 50:1, men-women. But there certainly wasn’t anything similar done towards the men.

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Best Student Project WINNER: SmartVCS, Girish Balakrishnan/Drexel University

Runner-ups:

  • Lens by Out of Focus Games – UC Santa Cruz
  • Noomix by Missing Kangaroo Productions – University of Applied Sciences, Salzburg
  • Of Light and Shadow by 12 Angry Devs – University of Applied Sciences, Salzburg
  • Shattered by Jan Werner & Yury Schicker/Zurich University of the Arts
  • Tessallation by David Bayzer, Sean Cannata, Graham Gilreath, Christopher Klein, Kristen Lambert, Eric Spevacek – DePaul University

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Balakrishnan accepting his award.

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Best 3D Visual Experience WINNER: Guns of Icarus Online by Muse Games

Runner-ups:

  • Endless Space by Amplitude Studios
  • Kentucky Route Zero by Cardboard Computer
  • New PAL Online by Dream
  • Pid by Might & Delight
  • The Drowning by Scattered Entertainment

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Brian Kehrer accepting the award.

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One of the cute animations in between each category of awards. This one’s based on the game Snake.

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Best 2D Visual Experience WINNER: Year Walk, Simogo

Runner-ups:

  • Element4l by I-Illusions
  • Girls Like Robots by Popcannibal
  • Strata by Graveck
  • The Other Brothers by 3D Attack
  • The Silent Age by House on Fire

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As with last year when Simogo won awards, no representative was present to collect the award.

Technical Achievement WINNER: Marmoset Skyshop, by Marmoset

Runner-ups:

  • Ballistic by Aquiris
  • Endless Space by Amplitude Studios
  • Museum of the Microstar by RUST LTD
  • Sphero – Sharky the Beaver by Sphero
  • The Drowning by Scattered Entertainment

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Best Gameplay WINNER: The Room, by Fireproof

Runner-ups:

  • Bad Piggies by Rovio
  • Endless Space by Amplitude Studios
  • Offensive Combat by U4iA Games
  • Pid by Might & Delight
  • Solstice Arena by A Bit Lucky

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No representative present.

Best VizSim Project WINNER: TeamLabBody, by TeamLabBody.inc

Runner-ups:

  • Datascape by Daden
  • Preview by Holopoint Interactive in conjunction with Bennett Design
  • Roman Forum by The Department of Media and Comunication at the University of Oslo in close collaboration with CodeGrind AB and Tag of Joy
  • Sports Venue Planner by Vizerra
  • TerraViz by NOAA

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These guys were adorable! The man on the right said it meant all the more to him, as he’s a doctor and not a software developer – and that he left his patients for the day to be there.

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Best Non-game Project WINNER: Become Ironman, by Apache

Runner-ups:

  • Immersive by GraphicStream
  • iTrigger by Poj Studios
  • Louvre Lens’s Multimedia Mobile Guide by Orange in association with Louvre Lens and Polymorph
  • Pajanimals by N-Fusion
  • Sneak a Snack by U.n.I Interactive

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Unity CEO David Helgason then took the stage to announce the coveted Golden Cube award. His tipsiness was all the more entertaining by his struggle to say that he would make  things quick to ensure everybody would be able to get to the party sooner.

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Golden Cube WINNER: Endless Space, by Amplitude Studios

Runner-ups:

  • Kentucky Route Zero by Cardboard Computer
  • Offensive Combat by U4iA Games
  • Pid by Might & Delight
  • The Room by Fireproof
  • Year Walk by Simogo

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Their fourth nomination and second win for the evening.

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Helgason almost forgot to give her the award, before leaving the stage.

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They weren’t expecting to win twice.

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Party time at The Fabulous Commodore Ballroom!

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Free food. The responsible thing to do before free booze.

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Nick and Spencer.

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Schwancy.

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The lonely DJ with her empty dance floor. Nerds too sober to dance still.

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Spencer, Nicha & Andrew.

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Spencer, Nicha, Andrew & Nick.

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Spencer, Andrew, Nick & myself.

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Kenneth Häggmark, Founder and Development Director of DreamStage, which delivers interactive installations to museums and galleries, with Andrew and Nick.

Kenneth said he and his workmate are going to be in Vancouver for a while, so if you’re reading this Kenneth – be prepared to eat lots of food!

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Unity being cool cats.

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Nick the goofus.

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The great thing about red lighting is that nobody can see your Asian flush.

After a bit of small talk, I discovered that the two guys on the left (Xin Zhao & Mit Beo) are also from Melbourne, Australia! Very coy about discussing what kind of games they actually make though…

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Shoving food in his mouth.

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I will always be there to capture the important moments in people’s lives. Such as this one.

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James Karg (VFS alumni), and Doug Insley (Coding Jar Studios).

I met James the first time I went to Firsty Friday, the monthly VFS get-together-networking-shindig for past and present students. The first thing I noticed about James is that he’s really great at making sure everyone gets well-acquainted. A friendly, helpful cog in the VFS social network.

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I told them they looked weird in the previous shot so they insisted on doing a manly pose. Good work boys.

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Still empty.

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But everybody was working hard to fill their drunk-o-meter…

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Me and Nicha!

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Or if you prefer, Nicha and I.

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Luigi Guatieri (Popcannibal), Daniel Patrick Gallagher (Mind Candy), Nick and Ottavio (I couldn’t find where he’s from or his last name – if anybody knows, can they give me a shout so I can add it?).

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There we go! There was one guy who was dancing front and centre all night, trying to get the blonde DJ’s attention. He got her attention – but not her.

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Nick, Björn Falke (Simplygon) and Willy.

Ended up talking to Björn about mostly social and political issues, as opposed to game development. And Ikea. Guess which country he’s from?

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Radu Muresan (formerly from Rad Lemur). Romanian game dev for young children, with his four and one-year-old boys being his primary playtesters.

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Leigh Murray (POJ Studios) – Another fellow Victorian! Leigh’s project iTrigger was nominated for Best Non-game in the Unite awards.

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Willy asked me to photograph him with Yilmaz Kiymaz, an Indie developer from Istanbul. Willy had been to all his talks at Unite and proclaimed, “this guy’s a genius!”

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Random racoons ransacking rubbish on our route home.

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Day 3.

There weren’t as many talks and the activities were only scheduled to go until 3pm, so Nick and I went in the morning for the purposes of going to the Windows lab and porting a Unity game onto a device and claiming a free dev kit. And we got one each! Woop! Thanks Microsoft! 

My shiny new baby sitting on one of my pillows at home.

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The following photos were taken with my iPhone because I brought my DSLR but left the battery in the charger at home! Dag nammit!

Friday’s lunch was sponsored by Autodesk. Arguably the lamest lunch of the conference – pre-packed lunch-boxes, which I suppose was convenient for some.

There were a few different types of sandwiches, but all the lunch-boxes came with a piece of rockmelon, a small tub of greek salad and a chocolate chip cookie.


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I got the vegetarian one – bocconcini, pesto and tomatoes.

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Nick got some ham and mustard filled dealio.

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Noms.

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And, as I had promised Björn the night before, I stopped by the Simplygon stand to collect a free t-shirt. I’d wanted one the day earlier since they had cool pirate logos, but they had already run out of adult sizes. So instead I fashioned a baby shirt into a beanie.

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So that’s it folks!

I’m incredibly grateful for having had the opportunity to attend Unite – I met so many wonderful people, and by seeing the amazing creations of others, I’m all the more motivated to go all out during my year at VFS and leave my mark.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to share them below. Even if you just want to meow a million times. That’s good too. Because I love cats.

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