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Unite 2008: Highlights And Award Winners

Unity developer conference Unite 2008 concluded today, and Gamasutra was there to report the most-buzzed highlights of the event's closing, plus a complete list of all the Unity Awards 2008 prize winners.
Unite 2008, a Denmark conference for Unity developers, wrapped up today with the Unity Awards development contest, a panel on independent development, and the crowd favorite -- a demonstration of Rune Skovbo Johansen's Locomotion System. The Locomotion System, which is free to use with Unity projects, was Johanesen's Masters thesis; he now works for Unity Technologies. The system "solves the complex tasks of blending multiple walk and run cycles and perform dynamic foot placement on uneven terrain while keeping animators and game programmers firmly in control of style and behavior." Other conference highlights included a postmortem and demonstration of Cartoon Network's forthcoming MMO FusionFall. The game, which runs in browser via Unity's web plugin, plays more like an action platformer than a RPG. Also popular was an in-depth content pipeline automation talk by Funcom MMO developer Lucas Meijer, a talk about physics in gameplay by FunMotion and FlashBang's Matthew Wagner, and a programmable shader bootcamp by Amir Ebrahimi and Aras Pranckevičius. Like last year, Unity employees and execs were on hand for one-on-one assistance during each of the three days of the conference. The conference also showcased Unity for the iPhone, with sessions devoted to content optimization -- including their new occlusion culling system. The iPhone version was released on the opening day of the conference. Unity execs and members of the iPhone team were aglow Wednesday night after recuperating the costs of their iPhone extension by the end of the first day's sales. Beyond an endorsement by Atari president Phil Harrison, former Criterion/Renderware CEO David Lau-Kee was also in attendance. "Unity is doing everything we should have been trying to do [at Criterion], and it does it the right way." Lau-Kee enthused. While a video of Phil Harrison's opening keynote, previously reported by Gamasutra, in which he set forth a striking industry roadmap is not yet available on the Unity homepage, Unity execs have claimed that, like last year, many of the conference proceedings will become available for free in the resources section of the Unity3D.com homepage in the near future. The final day of the Unite 2008 conference also included the Unity Awards 2008 presentation. The contest is the successor to last year's Top DOG contest (Top Developer of Online Games) and was the fourth contest held by Unity. This year's contest lifted the web game requirement of submissions, introduced a beta milestone requirement, and encouraged public beta testing. According to Sam Kalman, Unity's quality assurance director and organizer of the contest, this year's event saw more submissions, more platform diversity and more finished games than in previous years. Of this year's 75 initial entries, 50 brought their games to completion to compete for cash prizes in four categories: Best Overall, Forum Favorite, Best Visual, abd Best Gameplay. However, because they received "too many great entries", Unity Technologies created special recognition categories based on the submissions received. Additionally, all of the 50 entrants who made it through the entire process were rewarded with a 20% discount on an Unity License. The winners of the cash prizes: Best Visual Design: Feist – Florian Faller & Adrian Stutz Best Gameplay: Tumble Drop – Dock Forum Favorite: Off-Road Velociraptor Safari – FlashBang Studios Best Overall Game: Feist - Florian Faller & Adrian Stutz (You can download the standalone OSX beta version here: http://gd08.ch/FEIST/FEIST_BETA.zip) "We're very very proud of this game, all the other games that were entered, and all the games that were recognized," said Kalman of Feist and the other entrants. Before the cash prize winners were announced, the awards started with a showcase of submissions by conference attendees and previously non-public entries of note which didn't participate in public beta. Among these were a Tron-esque snake game called Traces of Illumination, by Jashan Chittesh; an interactive art piece called The Graveyard by IGF finalists Tale of Tales, and FlashBang Studios' Minotaur China Shop. The awards proceeded with the Special Recognition Awards, with categories based on the entries submitted. and the full list of winners by category is as follows: Action - Downhill Bowling - Rasta Monkey - Manta Adventure: - Lies and Seductions - Aesopia - Jeecheereen One Strategy: - Circuit Defenders - Hordes of Orcs - Legendary Kingdom Tactics Vehicle/Racing: - Manta - Cloudwitch - Traces of Illumination Serious Game: - Wolf Quest - Seamulator 2009 - SpermRacer Puzzle: - Flip Sorter - Tumble Drop - Turtle Trap Multiplayer: - Sanctioned Renegades - Mars Explore - Wolf Quest 2D: - Flip Sorter - Tumble Drop - Rasta Monkey Advergame: - Billions – Axe Body Spray - Templo - Kibon Laka Gameshow Physics: - Downhill Bowling - Jetpack Brontosaurus - Tumble Drop Web Integration: - Super VoleiBrasil - Jetpack Brontosaurus - Off-Road Velociraptor Safari Good Candidate for the iPhone: - Lander Commander - Flip Sorter - Manta Yoggy Award -- For Developers Under 18 Years Old - Outpost - Lander Commander - Odd Ball

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