Now that’s creative power: 1000+ Unity apps across Windows Store and Windows Phone

This past June, we announced collaboration with Unity, through which Unity developers can publish their apps on Windows platforms. In porting Unity apps to both Windows Store and Windows Phone Store, developers can expand market reach to millions of users with minimal additional effort.

Unity Developer Momentum

I’m thrilled to see the momentum Unity developers have demonstrated in launching so many apps on Windows platforms. Since the release of Unity 4.2 we’ve seen exponential growth of apps made with Unity for Windows Store and Windows Phone Store; you have submitted more than one thousand Unity apps—and counting.

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“This milestone is a powerful reminder of the incredible flexibility of the Unity technology and developer community,” said David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies. “The Windows Store apps add-on for Unity was just released in July and there are already over 1000 games powered by Unity available on Windows Phone 8 and Windows Store! That’s a mind-blowing achievement realized in less than four months.”

Thanks to your feedback, Unity continues to provide improved support for Windows platforms in the latest version, Unity 4.3, which you can download here.

The Porting labs: what happened…

As you may know, Unity is designed to operate cross-platform and ensures a smooth recompiling experience; still, each platform is unique. So, in order to set you up for success in porting Unity apps to Windows platforms, we gathered a crew of technical experts and headed to the Unite 2013 event in Vancouver, British Columbia, where we worked hands-on with developers for three days in our Porting Lab.

Learning from experience: Porting Lab at Unite 2013

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Our goal in hosting the Porting Lab was simple: to help developers quickly port as many apps / games as possible and learn what we could do to make the process easier.

…And what we learned

For most, recompiling code was easy, but we also learned about the various aspects of porting that require extra care and attention. If you’ve gone beyond using standard Unity features, you may find extra work in incorporating your special plug-ins or APIs. For example, if you want to integrate In-App Purchase, use the Microsoft Ad Control, or manage the ‘back’ button, you’ll need to customize.

By the end of the lab, we had helped developers port about 80 apps from iOS, Android, and other platforms to Windows Phone or Windows Store. Watch this video to hear what developers had to say about their porting experiences.

New technical resources

To further empower Unity developers, we’ve developed technical guides that explain how to bring Unity apps to Windows Store and Windows Phone Store, including specifics of the platforms, what you need to get started, how to address platform-specific edge cases, and how to address roadblocks you may encounter as you build on Windows. The content will continue to evolve as we get more feedback from you.

Also, we’re expanding the gallery of Windows Phone and Windows apps made with Unity. Remember, your Unity-based app could be featured here, just let me now @jccim when you publish.

Get Started: Join a porting lab or check the porting guides

The porting lab was so successful that we are now working with Unity to host similar events in additional cities around the world.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Microsoft in their efforts to help developers get their games up and running for Windows Store and Windows Phone 8,” said Carl Callewaert, Unity Evangelist, Unity Technologies. “The live porting labs have been a huge success, so much so that merely days after meeting Tic Toc Games at a recent porting event, I was playing their game on my Windows Phone. The new online porting guides will put these excellent resources in the hands of those unable to attend live events.”

Below is an initial schedule.

Check for updates on the schedule here.

I hope you can make it to a lab in one of these cities. If not, read the guides, build great apps, and continue to give feedback.

Who won the Unity Porting Challenge and the $100,000 in cash and prizes?

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The response to the contest for the best Unity-authored content for Windows Store and Windows Phone Store was overwhelming. On November 14, we announced the 15 talented winners.
Take a look at the great projects.

Last but not the least; I am going to leave you with advice from developers we interviewed during the Unite 2013 event. Watch this to hear what they have to say about becoming a game developer.

Video posted on Channel9