Unity 3D Wrap-Up

Local game, web, and iPhone developers got together last Friday at the awesome District 319 to hear Unity’s Evangelist Tom Higgin’s speak. Tom talked about how tools like Unity 3D are enabling developers to create, market, and monetize console-like browser content for a growing audience of online and mobile gamers.

This was the first event that we here at BES put on that was targetted at the giant gaming community we have here in Vancouver.

This event was the first of its kind put on by BES that targeted the local and surrounding gaming community, attendees all the way from Portland and Seattle were present that night. In collaboration with New Media BC, BES will continue to work on bringing together the web & gaming world.

The next day was a Unity 3D Workshop that was held at the Centre for Digital Media and directed by Tom himself. The workshop provided a more hands on introduction to the Unity software.

Thanks to our sponsors and volunteers for all their help in making this event a huge success.

By now, everyone should have received a survey regarding the event through Eventbrite. We want to do more events mixing the web, mobile, and gaming communities, so let us know what you thought of the events. If you haven’t filled it out already, here is a direct link to the survey – http://b.ootup.com/unitytgifsurvey

How Many Paddlers?

Most startups wrestle with how to trade off development velocity against burn rate. Certainly we have been agonizing over this at Jostle.

A good analogy is that you are selfishly manning a life raft to row to shore, which is weeks away. Your only provision is a case of pop. Do you invite others to join you in your boat?

To keep it simple, let’s consider the case of hiring helpers for a single (‘lead’) coder. These helpers will be less expensive and less productive than the lead coder, so the overall impact on when you run out of money and how much code you have at that point is not obvious.

And there is a training period where everyone is less productive. And an ongoing supervision/coordination cost for the lead.

I built a simple model that takes all these things into account. Contact me at BJFPalmer@gmail.com if you would like a copy of this Excel model so you can play with your own assumptions.

Using my assumptions, with a $50 k runway to support this team, results in the chart below. The dynamic seems clear — adding people shortens the runway much faster than it adds output. Adding a person shortens the runway by 33% and increases the output by 18%.

Runway and Output as a function of Team Size

Runway and Output as a function of Team Size

We know having runway is super important since it provides time to learn from customers and iterate the product. In our paddling analogy this runway provides more time for a plane to fly over and point out the direction we should paddle.

Which I think means that it makes sense to add a person only if the fit is outstanding and you need their skills ‘to get to shore’. Back to the paddling analogy — you add a person if they fit in the boat and there is a headwind that requires their paddling output.

But this is just a model with lots of assumptions (which are very sensitive to exactly who we hire and what we use them for). The consensus at Jostle, which was based as much on intuition as this model, was to go ahead and add one “helper” to the team.

Know any great young developers looking for a startup adventure?

Unity 3D TGIF

From the OverInteractive Blog;

To celebrate the  launch of the Vancouver Chapter of Unity Users GroupdimeRocker.com in partnership with Unity Technologies invites all local game, web, and iPhone developers to a premiere industry UnityNetworking TGIF followed the next day by a Unity Skills Workshop.

The entire initiative will be framed within a “web-ready” context, exploring how tools like Unity 3D in combination with a new breed of social gaming hives are enabling developers to create, market, and monetize console-likebrowser content for a growing audience of online and mobile gamers.

Not-to-be-missed event for iPhone, game, web developers and those wanting to learn about Unity, This will be a great event for those looking to network and socialize with like-minded peeps.

Tickets are now on available for this event – Unity 3D TGIF

DemoCamp 7 Review by McElroy Flavelle

[Also posted at http://thewhyoftheweb.blogspot.com/2009/07/democamp-7-review.html]

Last night was DemoCamp 7, the Social Platform Edition and the event was definitely a success. There was a total of 12 different ideas brought to the table and each one had some real merit to it.

Two of those businesses were guests of honour (Anahita and BuddyPress) with prepared presentations and most of the others were just people with an idea they wanted to share. There were some who just dropped in and some people who had clearly been planning their 30 second spiel for quite a while, but everybody was excited to be sharing their vision.

The Format

  1. Each contestant got to pitch their concept for 30 seconds. (10 people total)
  2. The two guest of honour companies made their presentations.
  3. The top five 30 second pitches got expanded into six minute pitches. (Everybody watching got to vote.)

As usual Boris was the master of ceremonies and did a tremendous job of keeping the train on the tracks. I’ve only been to a couple of Bootup Labs events so far but everyone has worked out really well. I suspect it’s because they have found a way to perfectly maintain the tension between structured order and organic chaos that allows for maximum creativity, interactivity and entertainment.

Certainly the event wasn’t perfect but for the most part the presentations were highly informative and sometimes down right fun. Some of the ideas didn’t seem overly connected to the theme of Social Platforms but none the less they were all worth listening to.

Apparently this was the reboot of the DemoCamp nights here in Vancouver and I have no doubt the next one will be equally as interesting and possibly even more focused. I’m not sure why there was a hiatus but for all of our sake I hope the next event is soon. DemoCamp 7 was absolutely incredible from a networking perspective; I met a couple of people who I was deeply grateful for being introduced to and already have a lunch date with one.

If you are involved in tech, business or the web here in Vancouver there really is no excuse to miss the next one.