Interview with Ngozi Watts, Vice President, Worldwide Gaming at Unity 1

Flash, HTML5 or Unity? Which technology is the future of online gaming? We spoke to Ngozi Watts and his Unity team to find out about new trends in casino games development. If you are curious what he told us, read the interview below!

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How would you describe your experience at ICE Totally Gaming 2015?

ICE is very successful for us. We have had meetings from the very beginning until the end.

We’ve heard game developers have to obtain a special license to use your software. Are casino gaming developers required to own a gambling license (e.g. from UK or Malta) to obtain your license?

Our license is just for the use of Unity software. Our product is just the software to create the games. There is no regulatory body or restrictions associated to our software.

We ask no questions, we have no influence, no interest in whether or not someone has licenses for particular jurisdictions. We just grant the  license to use  our software. We are not granting any regulatory license. In gambling, there are the required regulatory licenses from Gibraltar, Malta, UK and so on. These regulatory licenses are absolutely not related to the Unity Gambling license. This is simple – we grant the right for someone to use our software in their company. Basically, itis just buying software.

Can you share names of any companies that are creating games in Unity?

There are a number of major gambling companies around the world that are using UNITY. There are UNITY games running that had been approved in various jurisdiction around the world and there are UNITY games that are running on casino show floors and casino machines. Those UNITY games are being run on mobile devices as well as on desktop ones. So online and casino.

A short list of companies that are currently using UNITY: IGT, Bally, WMS, ShuffleMaster, VGT, Cadillac Jack, Interblock, etc.

What are the advantages of using Unity for game development in comparison to other technologies like HTML5, which is pretty popular among gambling developers? 

What’s powerful about UNITY is cross platform development. UNITY allows you to create a game for physical slot machines. UNITY can run the base game, as well as the bonus and multiple monitors, but you can take those same games and run them online, in a desktop browser. We have new technology, that we’re launching at this show, which is a HTML5 technology – WebGL Simply put, you can use it on UNITY content on desktop browsers without the need for a plug-in.

Is it better to e.g. start with HTML5 and then move to Unity to develop games or is Unity easy enough to pick up?

One of the most attractive features about UNITY is the smooth workflow. It’s one very easy tool to learn and most importantly, you can create games faster, easier and of higher quality. You don’t have to develop anything yourself, you just use the UNITY Engine. It gives you everything you need – the physics and the navigation when you needed it.

Is it possible to introduce a functionality that would convert HTML5 <> Unity code? If yes, do you have plans to do it and when?

Yes. Inside of our software we have a build menu, where you create a game – you simply pick on what kind of device the game will run, e.g. for slot machine, iOS, Android, web browser, and so on, and you choose how the game should be presented. In other words, after creating a game you go to build menu and pick the platform you want to build the game on. Simply choose from WebGL Linux, Android, Windows, iOS, MacPC, Xbox, BlackBerry, Windows Phone and the product will do that for you. You can play games in UNITY on almost any device. We choose the new devices that are introduced to the market and adopted. We adjust to the requirements of the market.

Is it possible to play UNITY games on older devices?

You can run on some older devices. You can run Unity content on all the browsers on desktop devices, on iOS and Android phones, and not only the newest ones, we can go back to older generations, for example on iPhone 4s the games will still run with smooth frame rates.

What is the difference between UNITY software for producing video games and gambling games?

In Unity gambling we create special features and functionalities especially for the gambling industry. For example we created a Linux target specifically for gambling,unity 2
because a lot of gambling machines, slot machines, run on Linux. Number two – we have 2D, we push to get a 2D editor because of gambling, where most games are 2D. Number three – we also have a multi-monitor solution. So UNITY works on multiple monitors right out of the box. So we create variety of features specific for gambling industry.

Do you provide any kind of a support? 

Yes. We offer architectural support, gambling experts to help integrate UNITY for gambling companies and we also have support to help with just learning UNITY as well. So by choosing UNITY you get special features, special support from gambling experts, that’s why UNITY is perfect for gambling industry.

Does a player have to download a web player to enjoy UNITY-engined games? 

There was a time when you had to download a web player, a plug-in. But now we launched our new WebGL product in March. Then you can run UNITY content in a desktop browser, without a plug-in. On mobile devices you also don’t have to download anything.

Do you have to download games to your device when using a casino application?

When a company is hosting a game online and you’re going to open it up in a browser, you do download the game, the content for that game, but there is no special plug-in required. So the game is downloaded by your browser and runs from the memory there. Each time you load it in your browser, there are some elements that may be cached, so it will load faster. It loads up in your browser each time you open it there.