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14. November 2019


Two completely unrelated stories (beyond the Oculus commonality) in one today.  First, Unity and Oculus have teamed up to launch an 11 part, 20+ hour course on all aspects of creating a VR game using the Unity game engine with the Oculus Rift SDK and hardware.

Details from the Unity blog:

We’ve partnered with Oculus, to launch an extensive intermediate level course guiding you through all aspects of building a virtual reality (VR) game. As the VR industry continues to grow and mature, developers are asking more questions about making the switch to VR, and developers who already work in VR want to improve their skills. That’s why we teamed up with the experts at Oculus to build this comprehensive VR course, “Design, Develop, and Deploy for VR.

In more than 20 hours of hands-on course content, you’ll learn about programming, user experience (UX) considerations for VR, optimization, launching your game and more. Twelve experts from Oculus and Unity give you in-depth lessons to help you build your own vertical slice (think, level of a game) of an escape room game. Plus, after you complete the course, you can submit your vertical slice for feedback from Oculus.

Even though this course is centered around creating a game, the principles and learnings apply to almost any type of VR content, whether you’re building practical business applications or immersive experiences as art or entertainment. You’ll find this course useful even if your interests go beyond making a game. 

The course is hosted on the Unity Learn platform.  You can learn more about Unity learn here.

In additional Oculus news, John Carmack (of id fame) has announced he is stepping down as CIO of Oculus.  His announcement came via Facebook post, excerpt below:

Starting this week, I’m moving to a "Consulting CTO” position with Oculus.

I will still have a voice in the development work, but it will only be consuming a modest slice of my time.

As for what I am going to be doing with the rest of my time: When I think back over everything I have done across games, aerospace, and VR, I have always felt that I had at least a vague “line of sight” to the solutions, even if they were unconventional or unproven. I have sometimes wondered how I would fare with a problem where the solution really isn’t in sight. I decided that I should give it a try before I get too old.

I’m going to work on artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Thankfully John is leaving Facebook before working on artificial intelligence!  You can learn more about both announcements in the video below.

GameDev News


7. November 2019


Back at GDC 2019, Unity announced Havok Physics would be coming soon.  Yesterday, Havok for Unity was released as a preview package in the Unity Package manager.  The Havok physics implementation is built on the DOTS framework therefore you will require Unity 2019.1 for higher to run it.

Details of the Havok preview from the Unity blog:

When we first set out to define what the future of physics would look like with our Data-Oriented Technology Stack (DOTS), we sought a partner that shared the same core concepts and values as us. Through our partnership with Havok, we were able to leverage DOTS to deliver the highly optimized, stateless, entirely C#, and performant Unity Physics. We also knew that some of you would have more complex simulation requirements, needing a stateful physics system. For that reason, we knew Havok would be the perfect solution to integrate into Unity for those high-end simulation needs.

Some of you might be asking, “Ok, but why did you make two systems instead of just one?” We know that our users have a plethora of different use cases, and we wanted to give everyone a choice based on what their needs are. For some, Unity Physics will suffice, while others will want the benefits and enhanced workflows of Havok Physics. Ultimately, there is no right or wrong choice, as we illustrate later in this blog post. You can switch between either solver without having to reauthor all of your content completely.

An obvious question you may have is, why should I choose Havok over the new Unity physics engine?  This is explained in the Havok documentation:

  • Higher simulation performance : Havok Physics is a stateful engine, which makes it more performant than Unity.Physics for scenes with significant numbers of rigid bodies, due to automatic sleeping of inactive rigid bodies and other advanced caching techniques (typically 2x or more faster).

  • Higher simulation quality : Havok Physics is a mature engine which is robust to many use cases. In particular, it offers stable stacking and a solution for smoothing out contact points when rigid bodies slide quickly over each other (known as "welding").

  • Deep profiling and debugging of physics simulations using the Havok "Visual Debugger" standalone application (available on Windows only).

You can learn more about the Havok preview in the video below.  In addition to an overview of what Havok physics is all about, it also covers the installation process and illustrates how to configure and run the Havok Visual Debugger.  The example repository used in the video is available here.

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29. October 2019


Unity have just released a new resource for game developers, the FPS Microgame.  It consists of two parts, a project available for download on the Asset Store and a set of courses available on the Unity Learn platform.  The project is structured around teaching game development buy modding an existing game.

The courses are structured around extending the game in the following manner:

  • Add new power-ups and enemies – add loot items (such as a jet pack) and new weapons (like a sniper rifle), make weaponized projectiles (like chocolate chip cookies), create custom enemies, and boost your player’s lifespan with health (or cookie) packs.
  • Design your own levels – reconfigure the battle arena, build new levels with easy-to-use snap-in assets, set constraints for enemies’ movements, and customize the game’s look with props and level art.
  • Mod the look – change the sky, create your own title screen and menus, and give your game a unique splash of color.
  • Test, tune, and optimize – adjust hit points and damage, modify player mechanics like speed and jump strength, optimize your game’s performance, and create a WebGL build to share your game online

More details are available on the Unity blog.  You can learn more about the template and see it in action in the video below.


GameDev News


17. October 2019


For the first time since moving to a subscription based pricing model, Unity Technologies have announced an increase in price for their Plus and Pro subscriptions.

Here are the current subscription costs:


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Effective January 1, 2020 prices will rise to $40 a month for Plus and $150 a month for Pro subscriptions.

Some details from the Unity blog:

What’s changing and when?

Effective January 1, 2020 at 12:00 am UTC, the price for Unity Pro subscriptions will be USD $150/month and Unity Plus subscriptions will be USD $40/month. This pricing applies to new subscriptions, additional seats, and renewals of expiring custom agreements. Current seat subscriptions and current custom agreements are unaffected. If you wish to confirm this, please check your email or contact the Customer Service team.

Why are you raising the price of subscriptions?

The price has remained the same for over three years and we are making these increases in order to continue investing in new technology, features and services that will benefit all Unity creators.

Will there still be a free Unity version?

Yes. Unity Personal remains free to creators with revenue or funding (raised or self-funded) below USD $100K in the past year.


Subscriptions purchased before January 1st will remain at the current pricing, so if you are looking to subscribe, now is the time!

GameDev News


3. October 2019


Unity just announced the acquisition of ChilliConnect, a provider of game networking and live operations services.  This is their second such acquisition in less than a month after they purchased DeltaDNA back in September.

Details from the Unity blog:

Today we’re excited to confirm that Unity has acquired ChilliConnect, the live game management services company. With the addition of ChilliConnect to the Unity ecosystem, we’re adding even more options for developers. ChilliConnect provides cloud-based game services to enable backend operations at scale allowing anyone to add online game features without needing to stand up individual servers. But that’s only part of it. Their full-stack toolkit includes LiveOps capabilities and real-time analytics, so building and operating a connected game becomes more of a reality.

A deeper look at ChilliConnect

ChilliConnect’s strengths lie in flexible backend services, powering a variety of solutions to help game developers of all sizes.

  • Game Services: Backend management tools that are proven to scale to millions of players, including a custom player account system, cloud coding mechanism, and cloud data storage (among other things).
  • Analytics: An integrated analytics dashboard gives developers an inside look at essential KPIs, such as Player Retention, MAU, DAU and more.
  • LiveOps: A toolkit in and of itself offering downloadable content, notifications, A/B testing and promotions.


Currently ChilliConnect is platform agnostic, offering SDK support for both Unreal and Unity as well as an HTTP interface.  Unity announced they have no intention of changing this and that ChilliConnect will remain an independent company.  You can learn more about the acquisition and about ChilliConnect’s products and services in the video below.

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