The various versions of Unity…Why we use the free version


I was reading some posts on the Unity forums today and thought I might explain to people following our game why we use Unity Personal. I am sure you will see it pop up in our test builds so you may have some questions or concerns.

When Unity 5 was released, a decision was made by the company to make some changes to the free version of Unity. Unity 4 had a very under developed version of Unity 4 with some server limitations. Shadows were hard, render to texture was not included, image effects did not work with the free version, there was no profiler to optimize, etc. While it was a great tool for learning Unity, it quickly because very limiting as our game development needs grew.

With Unity 5, the company decided to provide for free the fully featured engine, with every single feature included in Unity 5 Pro, except for a few services, some which are available to us as a separate purchase.

Unity did make the unfortunate decision to name it Unity Personal Edition, which provided fodder for many jokes on the Unity forums but also caused many players of games made with the free version to think the games were made with a non-commercial version of Unity. Unknown to them, Unity Personal Edition is a commercial version and can be used by companies who make less than $100,000 in revenue from games/applications created with Unity.

Obviously, most of us in the development mode, unless we have previously used Unity to create very successful games, have less than $100,000 revenue with Unity. Over $100,000, we will be required to purchase Unity Plus and over $200,000, we will be required to purchase Unity Pro. Again, the differences are minor.

For a small team like ours, using a paid version of Unity would actually limit us more than using the free Personal Edition. We now can add or subtract team members easily, without any licensing issues. Since teams cannot mix licenses, with Pro or even Plus, we would have to purchase a version for a new team members or ask them to provide their own. At $125 a month for Pro, that can add up. The only thing we would get that we don’t have now that could really affect our game would be a custom splash screen, which honestly, we can do without until we publish.

I see Unity forum posts every day where new Unity users complain about the high cost of Pro and honestly believe that the free version will limit them. It makes me sad, because I am so sure some walk away without realizing the potential of this free, fully featured option. Even worse, some risk legal action by pirating the Pro version for a splash screen…and a game that could be removed after months of hard work because it is using an unlicensed copy of the engine.

Every business needs to make decisions that impact their viability. For our company, using Unity Personal during our development period makes sense. Unity has been generous in their efforts to democratize game development for all, solo developers, small teams, hobbyists and professional studios who are just starting out. By putting our money into new assets, hiring artists and programmers, and upgrading our technology instead of paying for the same engine we can get for free, we feel as though we are maximizing our chances of finishing our game. Unity doesn’t require royalties, like some engines and if we make over $100k from our game, we will be more than happy to share the wealth with Unity.  In my opinion, it is a win-win situation for both companies like ours and Unity.

So, when you see Unity Personal Edition on upcoming builds, know that we are making good fiscal decisions with the best potential for the development of our game.

Small Update: We are finishing up our cooking skill and it is awesome. We are starting on the weaponsmith skills and I think you will like the unique mechanics we are adding. The character system is ready to go and we will start making new clothing for the less medieval-looking cultures. Terrain is becoming more and more amazing, with a future update adding growing fields that can be harvested, trees that can be chopped down, and beautiful terrain textures that should increase immersion.

I have volunteered some time to help a little bit with the UMA project before it’s release. Those amazing developers have given so much to an open source project, I feel at least I can give a bit back..even though it is a fraction of what they do. I do love the Unity community. 🙂

I will post more soon, but in the meantime, Enjoy!

Teila

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Need Diverse Games has launched Game Devs Against #MuslimBan on teespring


I usually leave my politics elsewhere, but this touched me. GDC offering refunds to those who cannot attend the conference due to the Muslim ban. We have a vibrant and diverse community and it makes me sad that so many are being affected.

I Need Diverse Games

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Gaming is a global industry, and the immigration ban, better known as the #MuslimBan is affecting the industry. This ban means a lot of developers will have to skip the annual Game Developers Conference Feb 27-Mar 3, 2017.

Others cannot leave the country out of fear of being refused re-entry despite having Permanent Residence (Green Card) or possibly being questioned with a US Passport and a “suspect” name or appearance.

GDC has already stood with those affected, even offering refunds to those who can no longer attend the conference. We could do no less to help. Funds raised will go to the ACLU and other organizations fighting this illegal & unethical immigration ban.

Buy a teeshirt, sticker, mug, hoodie or tank for the next ten days via Teespring

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Reblog Allison


I love to re-blog these tidbits of medieval life. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do. If you go to Allison’s blog, you will find many more! #writers @gamedev #indiedev

Medieval Monday: Horses

Sadly, my hit the reblog button sent it to the wrong blog and can’t get it back so just posting a link today. Read it if you can!

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Medieval Monday: Travel


Love this! Medieval travel! #gamedesign #writing

Allison D. Reid

travelTravel in medieval times was a challenge to say the least. In and between rural areas, there might not be more than a narrow, beaten earth path. Overly wet or snowy weather could make such roads impassable for long stretches of time. Bandits, weather, and wild animals all added to the hazards of the road. Though main trade routes were larger and better maintained (better guarded as well) they were far from comfortable. Wagon tires were primitive, made from flexible sapling wood, and transporting anything heavy was fraught with difficulties. When possible, pack animals were used by merchants who needed to get their goods from village to village. Travel by sea was no safer than travel by foot or beast, and the sea claimed many a historic figure, including the son of King Henry I.

heraldic-regaliaHowever, history shows that in spite of the dangers and discomfort of travel, it remained…

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Our new Twitch TV Channel


Hello!

We have some exciting news. Yesterday, I gave my very first presentation on our new Twitch TV Channel, https://www.twitch.tv/watregames although sadly, I forgot to record it! Oops!  I guess we can call it a beginner’s mistake. I do plan to redo it and record it this time as I think it is something everyone would love to see.

I presented a walk through of the system we are using to create our character system. Followers were able to watch me create a character, make changes to the body and face, add hair, clothes, and change colors. I was so nervous but it really was fun. 🙂  I look forward to the next one and this time, I will record a video and embed it here.

I am hoping later tonight to showoff a build we made of a prototype city with characters walking around and engaging each other using our AI system.

We hosted Ryan, one of our programmers, as he showed viewers how to use ICE Creature Controller, which is the AI we are using in our game. Since he barely scratched the surface of this complex AI, I am sure he will have more. By request, he will show us how to make herds of animals and flocks of birds, or maybe butterflies.

Just in case you want to see a little of how it is done. 🙂 Enjoy and thanks, Ryan!

Teila

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Testing Facebook


Want to see if my blog posts are showing up. 🙂

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Medieval Monday: Pottery


I really enjoy Allison Reid’s medieval Monday’s. This one is about pottery and fascinating.

Allison D. Reid

Ok, yes, I know it is now Tuesday. The last few days have been very busy and time got away from me. A day late, but hopefully no less interesting, here is my Medieval Monday post for the week.

potter-at-wheelI mentioned last week that one task medieval people could do in January was dig for clay along river beds, which was used for pottery and tiles among other things. At least in the early medieval period, making pottery was mainly a rural activity. It was easiest to set up a workshop and kiln at or near the source of the materials needed. Large supplies of not just clay, but sand, wood to fuel the kiln, and water were needed. Access to a road or boats for transportation was also required.

potter-at-wheel-2Pottery making was typically handed down as a family industry among the peasantry. Though pottery was valued as a necessity…

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Development is so much more than making games


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It has been a while since the last update so I thought I would try to catch up.

The last few months have been busy for us. In October, we gave a presentation in Tampa to a local game development group. We are working with an open source character system for Unity that, while amazing, is difficult to use and not well understood. So when we were asked to talk about UMA to the group, we thought it was a good opportunity to be evangelists for a unique and interesting asset.

We also attended a game development conference in Orlando which gave us a chance to hear from many industry and indie developers in a thriving new game development market. While Florida doesn’t rival California or other areas know for game development, it is growing.  At the conference we heard from people who were starting studios, working in the simulation industry, and those that gave advice on marketing our games. One the most useful talks was on testing and the speakers, from Full Sail University, left us with a lot of great information and sent me a full slide show of the talk.  I look forward to writing more about that later. We came home full of ideas and newly motivated.

The next few months were busy times as we worked on skills and more advanced networking. Outside of game development, we were involved in a local art show, which was fun but very time consuming. I spend weeks printing art for sale and show as well as preparing booths for displays. It was a success and created new contacts in the local art scene, which is always a good thing.

I took on some temporary responsibility for our local Unity User Group when the organizer went out of the country for a few months. This gave me the opportunity to further network with local Unity Users. It is so easy as a developer to live in a bubble, surrounded by those that love your game and those whose ideas parallel your own. Getting out of the bubble and talking to others, getting constructive criticism and advice is a really good thing. It is also a wonderful feeling to talk to people who “get it”.  The connections and friendships formed through all this is so worth it. If you make games, I highly suggest you look for a local group in your area. Even if their games are different from yours, you can learn so much.

Now that the holidays are over, we are back to serious business. I have been struggling with our character system but it seems to have come together in the last few days. I hope to have a video showing you how to design your own character in our game soon, maybe even a build you can play with if possible. Ryan has been working on our amazing cooking skills, tying it into the attributes and modifiers that will make the skill fun and rewarding. I am sure he will have something to show you soon as well.

I am finding out that working as a game developer/designer is about a lot more than making games. It is about reaching out to others in the industry, learning new skills and polishing old ones, reading everything you can…not only about games, but also about psychology and culture and history, all which add more depth to our game setting. It also means testing assets that could add to our game, working with the other developers to see how we can get these assets to work for us.

So, busy, but so much fun. 🙂 I can’t imagine doing anything else.

Hope your holidays have been delightful and full of love, friends, and family. We wish you the best for the New Year!

Teila

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A Role Player answers the call!


So I sent out a call to role players, on my blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.  Not long after, the I found the below in the comment section.  With the writer’s permission, I have copied it here. This is a personal story of one young man’s love for role play.

I enjoy all sorts of games. My first games that I came to like were simple platformers, shooters and sports games. It always felt like I was doing more than pushing a few buttons on a control pad and staring at a screen. As I grew older my palate grew and I branched out into strategy games. It wasn’t pushing a few buttons, it was scoring a goal, jumping over a canyon or creating an empire. It was roleplaying.

Now I find myself having grown up during a time when gaming boomed to overtake Hollywood in terms of mass entertainment and is starting to rival both that and real sports combined. Throughout that period games have had to do more for me to keep me entertained. What I have found and what I have suspected they would do for some time, they have deepened their roleplaying elements.

In crusader kings (a strategy game) I don’t just find myself a faceless ruler expanding territories as I would in risk, I find myself arranging marriages and sometimes trying to kill other rulers to ensure my bloodline assumes control of their throne. In NBA 2k (sports game) I find myself playing as an individual player starting his career and even engaging in dialogue with the coach, players and general manager rather than controlling an entire team like a Godly coach. Fifa, the most popular of sports games of the most popular sport worldwide is adding a feature just like this, this year.

So roleplaying is giving me a new lease to these games, it’s adding something that keeps me entertained longer, it’s immersing me. Technology may have progressed to the point they can have an AI give you some little sense of living amongst other realistic avatars in a realistic world but it has along way to go before (if it gets there at all) before it can rival what creating a platform (virtual world) for several humans to act out their fantasy can.

So I look on in amazement as gaming giants like EA, with their biggest franchises such as fifa, (being a giant publisher with your largest franchise doesn’t lend itself to risk well) continue to add roleplaying elements to games in order to entertain, but no one seems to cater to them in their most fertile land, the virtual land, MMO land.

I wait whilst a mother of four, works from her home on a labour of love with her family and with others across the world via the internet, to cater to an audience that clearly exist in a larger capacity than is realised by most.

They say lots of things of the best laid plans of men and mice but I’m glad to know a passionate visionary regardless of how this endeavour pans out. I want you to know that I am keeping the faith and admire the passion that drives you. I believe and I’m glad you do too.

Thank you!!

One thing I have learned over the years, many play games and they play them for many reasons. Those of us involved in game development are inspired by the love the players have for our games, and all games. 

Teila

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Calling all Role Players!


I really enjoy musing about role playing but I need input from you. What do you want in a video game? What types of features do role players crave?

Yes, I am a role player but it has been a while since my role play has left the table or forum and ventured into the world of video games. Star Wars Galaxies was my last big foray into video game role playing and while did try other games, my job and family took me away from all that for a while. Of course, I did role play with my The Sims games, but only with myself. Awful lonely there….although fun.

I do know that several big MMO’s have added role play servers, but I don’t know how satisfying they are for role players. I wonder if they are enforced or if the players enforce…or if everyone gave up and they are like all other servers now.

I have decided to reach out to role players in the world and see if I can get some new ideas. So far, I have gotten an earful. 🙂

I will be writing some blog posts in the future about all these great comments and ideas.

Hope to hear from you, here or elsewhere.

Teila

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