Sunday, June 13, 2010

Boston Unity Day

Boston Unity Group is a new off-shoot of the Boston-area game development community, founded by Elliott Mitchell and fellow WPI grad Alex Schwartz. B.U.G. is a meetup group centered around the Unity game development engine.

On June 12th the group had its first meeting, dubbed Unity Day. Over 100 developers met at Northeastern University to hear from Unity's "product evangelist", Tom Higgins. The morning started off with Tom giving an overview about the Unity engine - how the company started, about himself and how he got involved with the company, some features about Unity, both current and what's in store for the future, and some business information about what's involved with licensing the engine. Then people had the opportunity to show off the projects they've been working on in Unity.

After an impressive lunch spread (thanks to Demiurge Studios), we headed back in for some tips and tricks about using the Unity engine. Unfortunately, this part got off to a late start - a lot of people were engaged in conversation - plus I had to leave early for a previous engagement. So I missed out on a lot of the tutorial talk, which is a shame since that was my main motivation for attending.

Overall I think this was a good start to what will be a great group. Personally I would have liked to see things stay on schedule, since this had a very strong conference vibe to it. And I'm not sure what the group's plans are for the future (aside from the next meeting at the end of August), but I think it would work well to follow the format of the Boston Postmortem and Boston Indies - to be able to meet and talk with people, with a short presentation. I thought the conference could have used a little refocus. Tom gave a lot of talk about how to get involved with Unity, but it seemed like everyone who was there is already on board with it.

I'm excited about the Unity engine. I'd like to work with it more on my own, which I really should, since it's available for free on Windows. But then, I need to sit down and do anything, really...not just go through Unity tutorials. Although I wonder if I should wait a bit, considering the cool new features that will be available with Unity 3.0 when it's released later this year.

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