I shouldn’t be spending time writing more blog posts, but this was a big week for game developers big and small. GDC (Game Developer’s Conference) had some great announcements.
Oculus Rift still doesn’t have a set release date, although most sites state it will formally release before the end of 2015. And it better… plenty of competitors from Sony, HTC, and others are racing to beat it, and will release early 2016. I’m still excited for the opportunities of VR.
NVIDIA announced the greatest thing ever: an Android TV. Like the ones we’ve had for the last five years. Except it’s slightly higher quality, and they are using a high-powered mobile chip to encourage developers to port their last-gen games to Android with the new box. More importantly, they’ve announced a sort-of Netflix for films, which again kind of existed but still has opportunity for improvement. Imagine streaming games at high-quality purely based on your Internet connection rather than your computer’s own graphics card. The thing is, my mid-range-graphics card is much better than any Internet connection in my town. Regardless, I hope it works.
More importantly, Unreal Engine 4 is now outright free. It was already cheap at $19 a month (with an easy-to-quit subscription, so it was basically $19 for the whole engine), but now there’s no excuse to not give it a try. The only barrier is that standard percentage after you make more than $3000 profit. Also, a few weeks ago they announced a new grant program to give money to small developers to use their engine. At a time when Unity 5 and Source 2 are also released, it’s hard to say that Unreal isn’t worth at least looking at.
So I looked at it. As a experienced Unity developer, did I like Unreal? Well…
Warning: I am a indie game developer and an artist by hobby only. Therefore, your requirements may differ depending on usage.
No doubt you’ve seen many reviews and previews of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet, which Microsoft claims to be the “true” laptop killer (which they’ve said for versions 2 and 1 as well). I’ve been tempted to buy one… who wouldn’t be interested in a tablet that can do everything your computer can? I remember making fun of the original iPad as a oversized-iPhone, only to realize that the larger touchscreen was the perfect device for note-taking and digital sketching. As an artist-wannabe, that meant something. But the only issues with the iPad were that it didn’t have USB connections, and that the OS itself was different. In fact, given the iPad’s relatively affordable price, I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple ditches the iMac one day for a “professional” iPad to appeal to more consumers.
So the Surface Pro seemed like a great thing. It was a professional tablet with full Windows OS, and unlike most other tablet-PC’s, it came with a pen stylus and a decent processor and other specs, making it a true replacement hardware-wise for your PC. I was torn between the Surface Pro 1 (nice price), Surface Pro 2 (Wacom-pen with latest improvements to tablet), or the new Surface Pro 3 (even more new improvements). I eventually took advantage of Microsoft’s student offer and got a i3-Surface Pro 3 for about $700 (plus tax). Here are my thoughts after a few weeks.
I love Unity3D. The game engine is still one of the most intuitive I’ve used, it’s easy to port to almost any platform, etc.
But after compiling my final game project, I was surprised that some bugs popped up. I suppose issues like this are almost certain upon finishing a project, and I’m lucky I didn’t spend more than a couple days on it. But still, you’d hope what you play in the editor can be done in the exe.
And you didn’t think I could do it! Well… ok, I didn’t think I could do it. I said months ago that this would be finished in August 2014. I hoped to get it done a few weeks ago, but even now, it looks likely to get released just before September.