The six Aim High Gaming graduates from the Game Development Academy were given the great opportunity of travelling to Amsterdam for Unity’s annual event, Unite 2016. Our main aim was to complete the Unity Training Day, a comprehensive series of tutorial sessions that would see us through the steps of making the core mechanics for an adventure game in the Unity engine.
The morning of the event we enjoyed a dander through the park to the Westergasfabriek, a complex of old gas factory buildings, arriving bang on nine o’clock to find a hall buzzing with keen developers of all nationalities and backgrounds. Unity’s setup was as impressive as the venue itself, with a centre stage straddled by neon lights and two huge screens flashing up welcome messages in various languages. The six of us strategically dispersed ourselves amongst the crowd for maximum networking potential, lanyards and Unity branded flash drives in hand.
The seating was quite intimate, I was nestled between an architect from Belgium and the company owner of an indie development team from USA. We hadn’t much time for small talk as business began immediately and moved along quickly. Tasks were broken down into six sessions, with the relevant assets for each included on the pen drive and each step demonstrated before us on the screens by two charismatic Unity reps.
It was an intense course. I strived alongside my newfound acquaintances to keep up with the programming, taking screenshots with our phones and helping each other to make frantic fixes to scripts where possible. At the end of each session there was the option to abandon your current project and pick up the next scene from the drive, yet we were determined to keep our own projects alive to the end.
The tutorial had covered a lot of ground by the time we finished up. We picked up some tricks for setting up the UI canvas, scripting collectables to be counted in an inventory, dealing with persistent changes across scenes, creating nav meshes, and general workflow tips to help know our way around the engine. All the while I was gaining a renewed respect for my code writing colleagues! We took some time to make new contacts and scrounge what was left of the complimentary chocolates, bumping into the Coffee Box Games team from NI just as we left the Westergasfabriek buildings.
Heres hoping next year I’m able to make the pilgrimage to Unite 2017 and stay a little longer for some of the seventy or so presentations from a whole range of Unity professionals. Big thanks to NI Screen for the chance to be there. If you’re a Unity developer looking to brush up on some skills I recommend checking it out.