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Steam Dev Days 2016 Takeaways

In part so I can look back on it, and also if you’re curious how it’ll affect Unturned. I probably should have written this closer to the event itself when it was fresher in my mind.

  • Steam API is going a really cool direction with PS4 controller implementation, so I really want to refactor Unturned’s input code to better use it. Although they haven’t said so yet, XBOX controller support seems inevitable so by supporting it you get a high quality controller wrapper for all the important ones present and future.
  • Developers using Unreal that I talked to are making very similar changes/running into similar issues to those using Unity and myself, the big draw really seems to be unlimited sourcecode access.
  • On that note, Unity sourcecode access is supposedly more reasonably priced than I thought so I’ll be looking into buying it depending on the license terms. If I do get it this will be great for avoiding bugs, tracking down issues and making changes that really help Unturned (I have a list of small things I’m confident I could adjust with the sourcecode).
  • There’s a lot of other ways to handle accepting community updates I hadn’t really considered, like allowing them to run an Early Access version of their map, so I’ll be experimenting with some of those for the next few projects.
  • Building off of that, experiment with everything. The current way to do something isn’t necessarily the best. That was a common point from a lot of the super successful devs I talked to.
  • I’d recently been considering how to handle “Unturned 4” with all the big upgrades I want to do, but following the conference I’m positive that the right thing to do is gradually refactor Unturned into the best game it can be no matter how difficult, i.e. 4.0 will be a future update – not some sequel/huge delay between updates/reboot that would harm the community.
  • It was really cool to meet these people I’d only talked to/heard of online, and there are way more and a greater variety of developers than I could have imagined. It was also kind of grounding to see that everyone is human and the feedback/business e-mails you might send back/forth online are very refined, in-person you talk like people.

In conclusion: the big focus at these events is really social interaction, not so much the panels themselves. Being a bit shy I didn’t really take complete advantage of that, but while I was there I did try to constantly be talking to someone. I’m not sure if I’ll go to some of these other conferences like GDC, but I’ll go to the next SDD for sure.