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20. March 2020

With so many people stuck at home due to the quarantines around the COVID-19 virus, Unity technologies have released Unity Learn Premium for free to developers for the next few months.  Unity Learn Premium is a great source of Unity tutorials, courses, lessons and projects and even included non-Unity related content on topics such as Max and Maya.  You can learn more about Unity Learn in our prior hands-on video.

Details from the State of Unity 2020:

As the world continues to change, we are committed to helping all of you learn new skills and capabilities that can help bring your vision to life. We are pleased to announce that we are giving everyone complimentary access to Unity Learn Premium starting today through June 20. Just log in to access live sessions with Unity experts and more than 350 hours of bite-sized tutorials, hands-on projects, and in-depth courses for game developers and any creator that can benefit from the power of real-time technology. This includes everything from Game Mechanic Design Fundamentals to Getting Started with Post-Processing Stack for VR. Additionally, we are delivering Create with Code Live, live virtual classes taught by Unity experts for students, educators, and anyone who wants to learn how to code, starting on Monday, March 23.

Even if you are an existing Premium subscriber, Unity have you covered there, having released the following email:

Monthly Subscribers
We are pausing your monthly payments for three months, from March 19 until June 20. If your payment date falls within this period, you will not be charged for Unity Learn Premium. You don’t need to do anything – we’ll take care of it.

Annual Subscribers
We are adding three months of access to your Unity Learn Premium subscription. For example, if your subscription is scheduled to renew on October 1, 2020, it will now renew on January 1, 2021. No action is required on your part; we’ll automatically shift your renewal date.

30-day Trial Subscribers
If you are currently in a trial period and want to continue using Learn Premium past this trial period, we will waive your monthly payments through June 20.

Class move by Unity in these troubling times.  You can learn more about the announcement in the video below.

GameDev News

17. March 2020

In continuing not-GDC news, Unity have just released Unity 2020.1 beta.  This beta continues the trend of moving more and more functionality into packages, including new code performance and analysis tools, support for Visual Studio and VS Code and more.  Additionally 2D physics was improved, raytracing support was added and more.

Details from the Unity blog:

The Unity 2020.1 beta is a milestone in the development cycle of the first TECH stream release this year, one of two 2020 TECH stream releases that lead up to the 2020 Long-Term Support (LTS) release next year.

As a token of our appreciation, everyone who tries out the 2020.1 beta and submits at least one bug report gets a chance to win one of four NVIDIA GeForce RTX™ 2080 graphic cards. See the end of this post for details on the prize draw.

On April 20, we will be hosting a webinar for people interested in a guided tour of the features and updates in this beta. You can register here and find more information at the bottom of this post.

To get started, download the Unity 2020.1 beta from the Unity Hub or from our beta page. We recommend that you check out the beta to evaluate the technology while planning your future development, and don’t use it to work on projects that are live or in production. As always, make sure you back up existing projects before you test them with beta and Preview technology. Read our guide for more details.

For more complete details be sure to check out the video below.  If you are interested in the Physics2D samples mentioned in the video, it is available here on GitHub.

GameDev News

14. March 2020

Unity are currently running a Mega Bundle over on their asset store.  Organized into 3 tiers $49.99, $79.99 and $99.99 and representing savings up to 90%.  The Bundle runs until the end of March 2020.  The bundle breaks down as follows:

49.99$ Tier or Higher

  • Snaps Art HD Sci-Fi Military Base
  • Realistic Explosion Pack
  • Snaps Prototype Sci-Fi Military Base
  • Snaps Art HD School
  • SciFi Cockpit Bridge 6

79.99$ Tier or Higher

  • Animal Controller
  • InControl
  • Poly Art Animals Forest Set
  • Dwarven Expedition Pack

99.99$ Tier or Higher

  • Unity Learn Premium 1 Year Subscription
  • SciFi Laboratory Pack 2
  • Playmaker
  • DarkTree FPS 1.3
  • Snaps Art HD Buried Memories Volume 2: Serekh
  • POLYGON – Battle Royale Pack
  • Space Skyboxes & Planets

It is important to realize that some of these assets have been included in prior bundles such as this Humble Bundle.  Fortunately the 1 year Unity Learn Premium stacks with existing subscriptions, extending your subscription.  The links to the Unity Asset Store contain an affiliate code. 

You can learn more about this Bundle in the video below.

GameDev News

10. March 2020

Today Unity have announced they have acquired Artomatix, the Dublin based company behind ArtEngine, an AI powered material creation software.

Details from the Unity blog:

At Unity, we have talented developers working to solve problems using AI and machine learning. This talent, combined with the solution-oriented and production-validated approach of the ArtEngine team, means we can accelerate our ability to build an exceptional set of tools that help artists and creatives in many different ways. Content creators can expedite their process and get infinite variations of their materials in the blink of an eye. Immediate benefits apply to every industry exposed to 3D content, regardless of platform or engine.

We’re very excited to have the ArtEngine team join Unity. They have a great approach to solving the difficult challenges faced by artists, and we can’t wait to see what we can build together. Stay tuned as we combine forces to explore all the ways that AI-driven assisted artistry workflows can help artists deliver exceptional content.

The acquisition however did not just occur, as it was first reported on in December of 2019 by the Irish Times:

Artomatix, an Irish software company that has developed artificial intelligence (AI) technology, which can automate the creation of 3D content, has been acquired in a deal believed to be worth up to $60 million (€54 million).

The buyer’s name has not been disclosed but industry sources described it as a well-known Silicon Valley-based company that does not currently have a base in the Republic.

The transaction, which closed late last week, is valued at between $50 million and $60 million, leading to a significant return for Artomatix’s backers, which include Sure Valley Ventures and Enterprise Ireland.

Today we have learned that Unity was indeed the buyer.  There is good news for the Irish technology sector, as (again) the Irish Times have reported Unity intends to hire over 100 employees:

Unity Technologies, which recently acquired Irish software company Artomatix in a deal valued at up to $60 million (€52.8 million), is to create 100 jobs in Dublin over the next two years.

The move comes after Unity announced a new office in the Docklands area of the capital after recently completing the acquisition.

Artomatix chief executive Joe Blake said the company, which currently employs just over 20 people, intends to “immediately triple headcount,” with other Unity divisions also planning to take on staff locally.

You can learn more about the acquisition in the video below… including a small rant on how not to run your tech company!

GameDev News

4. March 2020

Humble are running the Humble Learn To Code bundle.  It’s a collection of courses on Zenva aimed at teaching viewers how to code with a very game development oriented focus.  It may sound familiar as Zenva ran a similarly named bundle just over a year ago, although the contents differed.  As with all Humble Bundles, this one is organized into tiers. 

1$ Tier

  • Bite-Sized HTML
  • Bite-Sized CSS
  • Bite-Sized Python
  • Intro To Game Development with Unity
  • Intro to Java for Mobile Development

12$ Tier

  • The Complete Beginners' JavaScript Course
  • Bite-Sized NumPy
  • Bite-Sized Pandas
  • Reading Data from APIs with Python
  • Create Your First 3D Game with Unity
  • Intro to RPG Development with Phaser
  • Kotlin for Beginners
  • iOS App Development For Beginners

25$ Tier

  • Responsive Web Design for Beginners
  • Beginning SQL – Store and Query Your Data
  • The Complete Python Data Visualization Course
  • RPG Development – Quest Systems
  • Mobile Game Development for Beginners
  • Build a Micro RPG
  • Construct a First Person Shooter
  • Craft A Mario Style Platformer in Phaser 3
  • Develop a Top Down Action RPG with Phaser 3
  • The Complete Mobile App Development Course with Flutter

As with all Humble Bundles, you can decide how your money is allocated, between the publisher, Humble, charity and if you so choose (and thanks if you do!) to support GFS if you purchase using this link.  You can learn more about the bundle in this video below.

EDIT – I made an error in the video.  The courses are not a one year subscription, but instead you have one year to redeem your key!  Once redeemed it is a life long subscription, so even better!

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