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The 404 1,211: Where we're down with GDC (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- A what, where, and why primer on the Game Developer's Conference from guests Meggan Scavio and Simon Carless.

- The 15th annual Independent Games Festival opens its Audience Award voting window, now through March 1.

- Nominations open for 2013 Game Developers Choice Awards.

- Unity Engine coming to BlackBerry 10 smartphones, BlackBerry PlayBook.… Read more

Unity 4 gives game coders animation, Flash, Linux support

Unity Technologies, maker of a widely used video-game engine, today announced that its fourth-generation product will introduce new animation technology and extend its support for Adobe Systems' Flash Player, Linux, and Microsoft's DirectX 11.

The game engine brings physics simulations and other tools to programmers -- especially those who want to reach multiple computing systems. Such "cross-platform" developer tools are a good fit for today's world: Unity games can be adapted for Windows, OS X, iOS, Android, Xbox, PS3, Wii, and the Web, though adjustments are necessary for performance and interface differences.

Unity 4 will be … Read more

Unity game engine embraces Google's Native Client

Startup Unity Technologies released version 3.5 of its video game engine that now includes support for Google's Native Client browser-boosting software.

Unity's software is a cross-platform tool that lets game programmers reach a wide range of devices--everything from iPhones to Windows to browsers. Cross-platform tools are only worth it if they reach a broad number of platforms, though, so it's important to expand, and the company has been working on Unity 3.5 for months.

Native Client is Google software built into Chrome that lets programmers run lightly modified C or C++ software directly in the … Read more

iPad apps for kids: Bats! like a furry museum field trip

What is a "book" on an iPad? It's a question that bears some consideration, because the very nature of a tablet redefines the book experience.

According to Apple, iBooks 2 is the answer. However, plenty of booklike apps on the iPad also redefine the territory; the newly released Bats!: Furry Fliers of the Night doesn't live in iBooks, but this app feels as next-gen as Apple's iBooks offerings, or more so.… Read more

Hands-on with Unity home theater

During CES, I got a chance to hook up with Engage, the company behind Unity, a well-built home theater system.

Unity is the brainchild of Todd Beauchamp, an ex-Apple audio engineer (he worked closely on iPhone acoustics, for example) and Mike Fidler, an individual with a strong marketing and engineering background in Sony.

The sound system looks familiar because it has a design similar to the many sound bar and subwoofer combos out there, but stacked on top of each other. Unlike most sound bars, Unity's modular design has a depth to it that can support a 60-inch TV.

I quickly learned that the idea is a "system that can be set up in little as 15 minutes," Beauchamp said enthusiastically. You can tell that a lot of time and dedication went into the first version of the home theater and future versions could be compelling as the design evolves. … Read more

Is Unity a true all-in-one home theater system?

At first glance, the Unity Home Theater is a T-shaped speaker system that looks like a Jenga tower of home theater equipment.

The setup aims to give consumers a Swiss Army Knife of entertainment with the inclusion of a 5.1 surround sound bar, subwoofer, Blu-ray/DVD player, HDMI pass-through, surge protector, and TV stand (up to 60 inches) in a single package. A power cord to Unity and a HDMI connection to the HDTV would be the only wires you would need to get started.

A home theater system without a jungle of cords that uses only one remote is enticing, but is Unity the end-all accessory for someone buying a first HDTV? I recently had a chance to speak with the co-founders of the company behind the product, In2Technologies. … Read more

Google's fast pipe to Asia almost ready

Google and a group of telecommunications companies are about ready to turn on a fast Internet cable running under the Pacific Ocean from the U.S. to Japan, increasing bandwidth by about 20 percent and giving Google its own connection to Asia.

The Unity Consortium, which consists of Google, Bharti Airtel, Global Transit, KDDI, Pacnet, and SingTel, has nearly completed the testing of the $300 million project. Internet users in Asia will start seeing faster Internet speeds over the next several months from the new cable, which has the potential to create a 7.68Tbps (terabits per second) connection under … Read more