Unity CEO John Riccitiello: 創作者能夠美化這個世界

原作者:Craig Chapple 譯者:Willow Wu

Unity作爲手遊業內的首選開發引擎,其地位可謂是越發地舉足輕重。

在2017年的遊戲開發者大會上,Unity的CEO John Riccitiello公佈了相關數據:隨着技術的發展,手遊在2016年的下載量已經達到了160億次,比2015年增長了31%。

Call of Duty Strike Team(from play.google)

Call of Duty Strike Team(from play.google)

他說由Unity製作的遊戲已經佔到了全球的38%,這些遊戲的運行設備大約有26億臺。

此外,有70%的VR和AR項目都在用這項技術。

近期報道說有超過2百萬的用戶在使用這個引擎,Unity的開放式版本令人滿意。

與中國市場接軌

但是在某種程度上,這是一個永遠都無法完成的任務,在Riccitiello的帶領下,公司還在沿這條路繼續走下去,我接下去會詳細解釋着這句話的意思。

Unity並沒有故步自封,去年他們公佈了一些大計劃,尤其是和中國手機制造商小米的合作項目。

目的是爲了幫助世界各地的開發者通過中國嚴格的授權程序,讓他們的遊戲能夠在中國本土市場上架。開發者們可以通過應用內支付和Unity廣告盈利,但目前爲止廣告只能由小米商店授權過的第三方纔可以投放。

這對於那些之前有意開發中國市場,卻對進入市場所需的繁瑣官方手續有所猶豫的Unity開發者們是個大好消息。

Riccitiello告訴PocketGamer.biz:“我們免除了很多令人難以置信的繁雜手續。”

“規模比較大的公司可以派遣一隊百人商務拓展團去進行協商,即使是這樣可能也不會得到我們現在取得的這種成果。我覺得這還是挺了不起的一件事。”

技術難題

進入中國市場的主要壁壘就僅僅是西方和亞洲之間的文化障礙,這種說法Riccitiello認爲是錯誤的。

從物理屏障角度出發,鑑於進入該市場的難度,他認爲這是一種技術性難題,而不是文化方面的。

他重點列舉了幾個以前的遊戲:Battlefield, Medal of Honor, Need for Speed, FIFA和World of Warcraft,儘管遊戲風格都比較“西方”,但它們都在亞洲市場獲得了成功。

“這並不意味着在中國和日本就沒有文化差異了,在某種程度上還是有的,”但是之後他補充說這些文化影響也隨着時間擴散到各個地區,比如說Street Fighter對格鬥遊戲的設計有着重要影響。

“事情朝着兩個方向發展。其實在實際中看到的情況也是很出乎我的意料,西方遊戲進入亞洲市場的數量比亞洲遊戲進入西方市場的數量還多。”

團隊協作

在2017遊戲開發者大會上宣佈的另外一個計劃就是針對原畫師和設計師的。

Unity想要幫助原畫師們更佳順手地使用這個引擎,尤其是程序員們。馬上就有一系列的新特色即將加入引擎中,包括全新可編寫腳本的渲染管線,名爲Cinemachine智能攝像系統,還有基於軌跡的序列化工具,稱作Timeline。

Riccitiello稱這絕對不是Unity的短板,“有點像是你責怪汽車不能飛的感覺”,他說。但它更多的是承認原畫師和設計師所面臨的問題,而Unity的目標之一就是爲開發團隊解決難題。

他還說“現在,隨着團隊的壯大,最大的問題就是他們會無限地僱傭越來越多的原畫師,專業化程度會越來越高,”

“但是還是需要付出很多血汗還有眼淚,因爲工具並不是那麼好用。”

Riccitiello並沒有批判像Maya, Studio Max或者Photoshop這樣的工具,但是他的意思要把這些資產融入遊戲中,賦予它們生命力,對付別的難題,像是燈光還有遊戲內的細節程度。

他說“用一種比較古怪的比喻就是程序員就是原畫師手中拿根針的針眼,”

“實際上,程序員們想要的就是成爲原畫師的畫布,讓他們可以盡情地表達自己的想法,但是目前還是有些限制。我們正在嘗試之前從未做過的東西,就是免除那些約束。”

創作者的世界

現在要進入中國市場沒那麼難了,加上VR和AR的的用戶越來越多,再加上針對設計師和原畫師的新特性,讓Unity的聚焦回到了各個開發階段的開放性上。

“我們已經儘可能地提升了引擎的各方面性能,並且我們正着手全力實現。”Riccitiello說。

開放式版本也是Riccitiello的個人抱負,他之前建立了GlassLab,目的是利用遊戲帶動孩子們去學習現代科技世界中的關鍵技能。

而且他還在跟Unity一起繼續努力實現這個目標,努力去改變他現在眼中的世界——每個創作者都有一大堆的消費者在等着,轉變成大多數普通人都能創造自己的技術。

他說:“有件事我深信不疑,我們爲教育投入了很多就是因爲我相信這個世界還能更加美好——儘管當下社會中還有很多爛攤子,政府扯淡等等,但如果有更多創作者出現的話,其實就不會這麼糟糕。”

“要是跟我女兒們的學校來一場辯論,我會說我們不需要教孩子們如何使用上帝之道,他們多少已經瞭解了,是你們這羣人不懂得如何用。”

“我們應該要教他們電視信號是怎麼工作的,怎麼把畫面重現在你家裏的設備上,或者我們應該教他們什麼是runtime,編程語言是怎麼運作的,我們應該教他們相信自己可以進行創作,他們能成爲進化的貢獻者。”

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

Unity’s status as the mobile game engine of choice continues to strengthen each year.

At GDC 2017, CEO John Riccitiello revealed that mobile games harnessing the tech had been downloaded 16 billion times in 2016 – representing 31% growth from 2015.

He also claimed that Unity games now make up 38% of all mobile titles globally, while the number of devices these titles reached is thought to be 2.6 billion.

On top of that, he says 70% of all virtual reality and augmented reality projects are using the tech.

And with it last reported that the engine is harnessed by more than two million users, Unity’s vision of the democratisation has been met.

Making China accessible

But in a sense it’s a mission that can never be finished, and under Riccitiello the company is continuing down that road, while continuing to expand on exactly what that means.

Not resting on its laurels, Unity has made some major announcements in the last year, not least its partnership with Chinese mobile phone manufacturer Xiaomi.

The deal aims to help developers across the globe get through China’s strict licensing process to get their games released in the local market. Developers will also be able to monetise through both IAPs and Unity Ads, which is currently the only third-party ad network authorised within the Xiaomi store.

The news is a boon for Unity developers who may previously have looked at the Chinese market and baulked at the red tape they need to overcome to get a foot in the door.

“We’re removing a staggering amount of the complexity for what it takes to get there,” Riccitiello tells PocketGamer.biz.

“Larger companies can send out one of their army of a hundred BD people to go put together a deal, and even then it’s probably not as slick a solution as we’ve got in place now. I think it’s a pretty big deal.”

Technical hurdles

Riccitiello claims it’s a false judgement to suggest that the main barrier to entry in China is simply down to a fundamental cultural impediment between the West and Asia.

He sees it as a technical hurdle, rather than a cultural one, and it’s a belief based on the difficulty of penetrating the market from a physical barrier perspective.

He highlights games in the past such as Battlefield, Medal of Honor, Need for Speed, FIFA and World of Warcraft as examples of games that haven proven successes in Asia, despite having a more ‘Western’ flavour.

“That doesn’t mean there aren’t different cultural cues in China and Japan, there is in a way,” says Riccitiello, but adds that influences have also stretched across regions over the years, such as Street Fighter’s impact on fighting game design.

“Things move in both directions. I think we’ve seen, to my surprise actually, more penetration in Asia of Western titles than the other way around.”

Uniting professions

Another string to Unity’s bow announced during its GDC 2017 address was the new focus on artists and designers.

The company wants to make it easier for artists to use its engine, typically the realm of programmers, and has an upcoming slate of features that includes a new scriptable rendering pipeline, a smart camera system called Cinemachine and a track-based sequencing tool called Timeline.

Riccitiello claims it was never a real weakness for Unity, “it would be a bit like blaming a car for not flying”, he says. But it’s more a recognition of the issues artists and designers face, and is part of Unity’s goal of solving hard problems for development teams.

“Right now, the biggest problem as teams scale up is they’re hiring an infinitely larger number of artists and the specialisations are increasingly fine,” he says.

“Yet it’s still blood, sweat and tears, because the tools aren’t very good.”

Riccitiello isn’t criticising tools like Maya, Studio Max or Photoshop, but he’s referring to getting those assets into a game, animating them and dealing with other complexities such as lighting and level of detail in-game.

“In a weird sort of way, the programmer was the eye of the needle for the artist,” he says.

“Realistically, what the programmer wants is to be the canvas around which the greatest artists can express themselves, and yet there was still a constraint. We’re trying to do something that’s not been done before, which is remove that constraint.”

World of creators

The increased accessibility to China, an expansion in VR and AR, and addition of new features targeted at designers and artists come back to Unity’s focus on democratisation – at all levels of development.

“We’ve taken evolution as far as it can go, and we’re starting to attack revolution,” states Riccitiello.

The goal of democratisation is also a personal ambition of Riccitiello himself, having in the past set up GlassLab, which aims to use games to power the learning of key skills in the modern tech world.

And he’s keen to continue pursuing those goals with Unity to turn what he believes is a world of 999 content consumers for every one content creator, to one where most people can create technology.

“One of the things that I believe, and we’re investing heavily in education and the long arc of democratisation, is I think the world would be a better place – notwithstanding all the crap and politics in the world today – if there were just more creators,” he says.

“The argument I would have with my girls’ schools was, we don’t need to teach them to use Word, they kind of know it already it’s you guys that don’t know how to use it.

“We should teach them how a television signal works and how it’s reproduced on a device in your house, or we should teach them what runtime is, we should teach them how programming languages work, we should teach them to believe that they can create, they can be part of the revolution.(source:pocketgamer.biz