Unite 2015 – Teams, Tech, Parties, and People

Our first Unite was, in short, amazing.

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Michelle volunteering at the ThinkSquirrel booth

We were happily grinning most of the time and said to each other, “I never want to miss another one”.

Our buddy, Josh Montute over at ThinkSquirrel, reached out to us and asked if we wouldn’t mind helping volunteer at his booth for the week – answering people’s questions and trying to upsell his awesome plug-ins for Unity.

We at Streamfall actually have used his products – Fluvio and Camera Shake – in the past, so of course to talk these products up was no sweat as we were genuine in our enthusiasm. (You may have seen us – ThinkSquirrel was the only all purple booth at all of Unite!)CPhNJOPWsAAluHP

Michelle (art lead on the team) was able to experience Unity’s official training day on Sunday before the event. This covered building an entire game from scratch (aside from premade 3d assets). The whole process was rewarding to her as an artist, as she is gaining more skills in the programming side of her skillset. It was a bit of a last minute placement, but we are grateful to the Unity staff for accommodating us so quickly.

The event started with the keynote. In which, the Hololens was debuted for the first time live in public. Up until now, we were skeptical of the capabilities as marketing had corrupted our trust in the past. It works! We can’t stress how excited we are for that future. It was also great to meet one of the senior engineers on the project, Patrick, whom urged us to attend one of Microsoft’s Hololens academies sometime in the future. Depending on where we are with work, we’ll see if we can follow up with it!

AR / VR was definitely a hot topic the entire week. We are glad to be a part of the wave, building incredible apps for the next set of future technologies.

Networking was phenomenal as well. We returned with a bag full of business cards, and are in the process of following up with these people.

A highlight of course was Google, who were handing out free Tango dev kits the entire week. Luckily we grabbed two, after waiting a couple hours in line. Our wireframes and UI mockups for upcoming Tango projects are complete, so this will greatly help our ambitious aspirations.

Special thanks to that Google Tango team. The staff was kind, helpful, and always full of energy. They were great support in answering our technical questions concerning our previous work experience with the Tango. Oh, and did we mention that we got to meet Johnny Lee? Bryan was a little star struck, but we are happy to have seen him!

As we happily said to each other, we will definitely try to make the effort to get out to future Unites. The experience was incredible, gaining lots of new knowledge, contacts, and excitement for future projects. (Of course, it was also way fun to geek out with fellow Unity developers and to talk shop with people from all different parts of the world).

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Streamfall Interactive at PAX Prime 2015!

 

This has been a happy rest while working on excellent client projects. Being at PAX, surrounded by game makers and players alike have renewed the passion and interests we have in working with games, and game engines. It’s nice to see people excited about this artform, and to see what people have been coming up with – what is on the horizon.

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It’s fantastic that indies and smaller studios are so heavily represented every year at PAX. More often than not, we get to talk one-on-one with these developers and talk shop a little. One of the  games that really caught our attention was Lucky’s Tale, from the guys over at Playful Corp. (http://www.playfulcorp.com )

Never have we experienced such a great Oculus game! This gives us such excitement and hope for the future of VR games, that they would be comfortable and fluid, as this one was (man, what a sexy camera rig they had set up!!)

Another exciting thing for us now: ECO. Yep, we’re getting into the modding community! (http://www.strangeloopgames.com/eco/) Walking by in the indie megabooth was exciting, and actually playing the demo gave new ideas as to what is possible with the source code (which we purchased). Can’t wait to see what’s possible with a little bit of tinkering.

The concept of ECO is as follows: a multiplayer Minecraft-like world that is on the verge of destruction by way of meteor. Work to gather resources and progress to technologies which can protect the planet. As you progress, the world is also impacted, as the waste byproducts of your production oozes into the environment. We really love this concept, and speaks to sort of the trajectory we were going towards in the Streamfall story.

Of course, panels were also really great this year as well (with a little bit of walking across the city, to get to the different hotels and locations, no less). A culmination of different thoughts, in regards to how to better think about Streamfall the game include but limited to:

  • Includifying more of a larger community, and being aware of disabilities players may have (autism, age, poor vision, lack of money for a fancy computer, noise / flashing lights, depression, people with large fingers, color blindness, nonstandard keyboards, etc)
  • Level design (concurrent voronoi nodes not separated by paths, room creators, generating lowest level of typography, cellular automata blocks, randomization of levels in general)
  • How to better present Streamfall the game at future conventions, and how to create better and better demos
  • Start testing early and often. Keeping a mind on the fact that people tend to get cloaked in visibility when you train yourself and others to ignore them or not ask what is up with them. Remember to entreat people of all manners to test and play!

All in all, another fantastic PAX. We do plan on being at PAX South in 2016 (just as attendees again) but hope to make more connections and keep attending panel after panel so we can keep gleaning more awesome information in regards to game making.
See you then!

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