Unity and Universal Windows Platform

So… back in 2015 I went to Microsoft Ignite on the Gold Coast in Queensland and was lucky enough to attend Vaughan Knight’s session on Unity 3D and Universal Windows Platform.

The claim was that an application could be built and tested either on a PC or Mac and could then be deployed to many different platforms. The focus of this session was on Universal Windows Platform; specifically mobile devices as Vaughan had recently left Nokia.

So Vaughan fired up this application called Unity and started dragging and dropping things into what he was calling a Scene, including GUI elements and interactive objects.

He was then adding “scripts” to them and making them do things in real time, such as responding to user input or following out their own predetermined behaviour, sometimes they would just sit there until something triggered them.

That was my first exposure to C#, and it looked daunting to say the least… Vaughan then went on to explain it was using some sort of library called Mono that was apparently based on Dot Net whatever that was… Vaughan was making it all look far too easy…

Finally something didn’t go to plan and he had to start debugging. I’d never seen debugging like this before, switching things on and off and narrowing it down until the object that was causing the issue was highlighted. Then he could jump into the script and have it write debug messages out to the console… wow… all this and he hasn’t even deployed it to the device yet. It’s all running by clicking a little play button in the Unity Editor. Where was the five minute compile and build and deploy and register and launch and noooooo I forgot to save my changes routine I remember from programming?

Apparently this application he was building could be deployed to any Universal Windows Platform device, straight from Unity. I was looking round the room seeing if anyone else was as sceptical as I was… nope, people were suddenly clapping and the session was over.

Vaughan’s Presentation

Later at Ignite I saw someone called Rocky Heckman and remembered this thing he was talking about at the Key Note called the HoloLens which apparently was a computer you could wear on your head and look at these things he was calling “Holograms” as they moved about in the room with you… I remembered he said that was running Universal Windows Platform… Hmmmm interesting… I started talking to Rocky asking him about it, but it seemed that they didn’t even have a demo unit in Australia yet… well if they did, he definitely wasn’t going to be letting anyone like me play with it… next thing I know I accidentally overhear a conversation between two other high ups at Microsoft and apparently Rocky is going to be the HoloLens advocate for Australia… sounded like Microsoft were really serious about these “Hollographic computers” that can deliver something they are calling a “Mixed Reality” experience.

Rocky Heckman’s Presentations

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