Hello everyone! As some of you may already know, last week, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the Unite conference in Los Angeles, California. I bought my tickets way back in August for the Training Day, in addition to getting access to the events that were held during the following days. As this was my first Unite, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, I was very excited to get involved and check things out. This year, the event was held at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles, which I was very impressed with, as it was a beautiful, business-oriented facility.
My Training Day Experience
For this year’s Training Day, the subject of focus was developing with mobile devices in mind. I was very interested in attending this event, even if it was intended for those who are just getting started with game development, as optimizing for mobile is an important topic throughout today’s indie game industry.
When I arrived at the hotel, I was pleasantly surprised at the impeccable organization of the event. The initial registration process was fast and friendly. Better yet, I receive a professional-looking event badge, in addition to a lovely Unity t-shirt and water bottle. While I was unaware beforehand, I arrived at the event 20 minutes early to find that the organizers were serving complimentary breakfast and drinks for all of the attendees, which I thought was excellent.
Soon enough, the day’s courses started, which focused on the new features of Unity that are tailor-made for 2-D game development on mobile. While I felt that the pace was a bit slow at time, I found this to be reasonable as the course was targeted at beginners. I was happy to find out that the course was very hands-out, with developers working on a 2-D game for mobile throughout the event. Each instructor was well-spoken and highly professional.
As there were one lead instructor and a co-instructor assigned to every table, I felt that we had access to the sort of resources that would allow for accelerated learning throughout the day. Despite the strong instructors and the fantastic amenities, I felt a bit disappointed with the content of the training. In the end, we mainly focused on 2-D development, rather than mobile optimization (and other essential functionalities such as ads, in-app purchases, etc.). Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot about 2-D development throughout the session, and I genuinely loved it, but I feel that the advertising for the event did a poor job of communicating the information that was covered. Regardless of this fact, it was a fun-filled and active day and an overall excellent experience!
United LA: What An Awesome Event!
This year, it appeared that the main topics of the event were VR, AR and XR. Throughout the conference, I met a lot of individuals who were very interested in these topics and looking to extend these technologies into areas outside of traditional video game development. I found this to be very interesting, as such efforts are helping to take the game engine to another level.
I ended up attending several interesting talks, but the most exciting and helpful part of the conference for me was the pop-up talks that offered meaningful insight into new topics though focused yet brief discussion. Additionally, I had the chance to talk with some of Unity’s development team, and they were both extremely friendly and excited to see what the indie developer community is doing with their tools. Most importantly, I found the discussions on the new lightweight render pipeline for mobile and applications of machine learning in game development to be highly engaging. I left the event feeling as if there was a lot of potential for machine learning in the game development industry and will be very interested to see how these new technologies are expanded upon in the future.
My Final Thoughts On Unite LA
I left Unite feeling that it was a great event that was both very well organized and stocked with dozens of great speakers and interesting talks. These events are significant, as you get to sample new technology, play all of the latest games, learn so much, and get inspired by other developers, all in a brief period. It’s a great chance to talk face-to-face with other developers, all while asking new questions and sharing new ideas. Unity makes you feel like a part of their development process, as they as you for your feedback and suggestions for their great tools throughout the event. This event is an excellent reflection of why Unity is such a great company and technology provider, as they want to help build feelings of community throughout the game development industry.
In short, if you ever have the chance to attend this event, I highly recommend it, as it proved to be a fantastic experience!