Unity details new Cloud Build service; opens Unity Austin

Unity details new Cloud Build service; opens Unity Austin
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

August 20th 2014 at 8:23PM

Middleware outfit also showcases new ‘Director’ concept model for engine’s future

Unity has used its ongoing Unite 14 conference to reveal and detail a new Cloud Build service, which is to be operated by the newly acquired and rebranded Unity Austin studio.

Cloud Build adopts the continuous integration model of development favoured by many web developers, and strives to save studios time and effort in building, testing, versioning and sharing games. Approximately like elements of Microsoft’s Azure platform offering, it will also seek to empower distributed teams needing to collaborate from numerous locations, and serve to better connect those in distinct disciplines.

“The goal of Cloud Build is to take the pain out of producing and maintaining successful cross-platform games,” said Todd Hooper, VP of Online Services, Unity Technologies, who took to the stage to announce the platform during the Unite 14 keynote. “By streamlining the production process in the cloud, Unity is putting studios large and small in a position to give more time toward their creative processes to deliver amazing games that keep gamers coming back for more.”

The Cloud Build platform is to be maintained and developed by the newly established Unity Austin studio, operating out of Texas, US. Formally Tsugi, and recently acquired by Unity, the Austin team in its previous guise had already been working on a continuous integration service for game developers, working with teams and Unity developers in the local area.

Cloud Build will also integrate much of the data analytics offering currently provided by another Unity acquisition; namely Playnomics.

Cloud Build is part of what the middleware provider is pitching as its ‘Create and Connect’ initiative.

“A lot of developers get trapped in the valley between creating a game, and the releasing and publishing it,” said Hooper, speaking on stage to explain the concept. According to his metaphor, after the effort of developing a game many developers struggle to climb the next ‘mountain’, where releasing, updating, analysing and servicing a game becomes paramount.

The Beta for Cloud Build - distinct from the Unity Cloud service detailed at Unite 13 last year - is available as a public Beta with immediate effect.

During the same Unite 14 keynote, Unity also teased its ‘Director Project’; an early concept for one way Unity may evolve. While Director is not promised as a future feature, it does present a new way to work with Unity apparently loosely based on TV, film and audio editing software, and approximately comparable to some of Autodesk’s cross-disciplinary media middleware. Director uses timelines and scene editors not dissimilar to those popular in the film VFX space, and could also further democratise access to Unity. Keep an eye on Develop for more on exactly what Director mode is.