Press Play to open source their Unity 3D Windows Phone porting toolset

Unity Technologies, the company behind the Unity gaming engine, previously announced they would be 'skipping' Windows Phone 7.x due to a closed environment being present, much like Epic Games with Unreal. For those who have games built using said engines this was a fairly confusing situation, especially since Microsoft is actively pushing the mobile platform as a gaming platform.

Current gaming development is aided by both Silverlight and XNA. Cue Press Play, developer of the Xbox LIVE games Tentacles (our review) and Max & the Magic Marker (our review), who have announced in a Facebook post that they will be releasing their Unity 3D porting toolkit to the community as open source. This move will enable developers who have built games using the Unity engine to bring across their titles to the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Check out the post in full detail below. Good news for both game studios and consumers alike, bravo Press Play. Let us hope that we see some exciting titles brought over to fill up the catalogue of games.

"We are the good guys! In Press Play we have built a toolset for porting Unity games to Windows Phones and now we want to make it open source. The toolset called (FFWD or “Fast Forward”) has been used in getting games like Tentacles and Max from Unity3D to the Windows Phone.What we have done is to recreate a version of the Unity framework within XNA. This allows us to build and design the game within Unity and build it in XNA and eventually play it on our Windows Phone. For a Unity centered studio like ours, it has been great because it has allowed us to maintain our usual workflow within Unity. Now we want to share it. Lately we have been contacted by several studios who wants a go with it – and we finally came to the conclusion “WHY NOT!”.The idea is now to make it an open source project and see where it goes. If you are interested in using it, you may also be interested in contributing to it, and that way we may actually get something back from our efforts. Our problem now is that making it open source takes an effort in itself. Thomas Gravgaard (the father of FFWD) is busy sprinkling his brilliance upon our other projects, but as soon as he gets a moment off those, he will be looking into uploading it somewhere, and we will let you know.So stay tuned for more info on this."

Source: Facebook (Press Play), via: WPSauce

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • So does this potentially mean first person shooters now, or will that still require a move on Microsoft to "open up a bit"?  Tired of not seeing games like Modern Combat not in the Marketplace.
  • What's modern combat? Or do you mean Modern Warfare
  • Modern Combat is a First Person shooter from gameloft for ios, bada and android
  • Tots not a fan if MW, even less on a mobile phone, but would love some turn based rpgs.
  • Gta3 ?
  • Great to see devs taking the time to work around WP limitations but MS should be helping devs more. The sooner multiple big name engines can be run the better! Kudos to the dev
  • I don't see why game companies wouldn't just port their engine to XNA by doing that u have ur engine ready for Xbox wp8 and windows 8 SOC devices.
  • Windows 8 doesn't use XNA. Xbox, I believe only Indie games use XNA but there might be some XBLA games that do too
    So yeah, not that much incentive
  • This is a nice step forward.
    However, until Microsoft opens up their OS a bit more, we will not see the great graphical titles that exist on other OS's.
    In the Future, what I see coming to fruition, is 1 of the following.
    1. Microsoft opens up the OS in WP8 for native support
    2. Microsoft opens the OS to only certain Premier Developers for Native Support.
    My reasons are as follows:
    1. We already know Microsoft is porting XBOX Live integration to iOS and Android (Makes fiscal sense.) We make money off of each Droid sold so why not get gaming revenue from them as well. Our phone is better, but their advertising is better. *Shaking Head* so sad.
    2. If you make a game using Unity3d or the UDK, you can immediately export the game to multiple OS's. It is kind of like what .NET hoped to be. Cross platform.
    3. The games that are built using the UDK that exist on iOS (Infinity Blade & Infinity Blade 2 for instance) are Killer and have grossed millions and millions of dollars.
    4. using Infinity Blade series as an example, this game is NOT XBOX Live capable, however, once Microsoft enables XBOX Live on the iOS AND Once they allow the UDK to work on Windows Phones, they can make Infinity Blade 3 ONCE and port it immediately to the iOS and Windows Phone 8 ... hopefully Tablet 8 as well.
    5. This would help Windows Phone out tremendously to get a big name game on the phone when it is first released.
     Imagine telling game companies that their phone games are now capable of utilizing the XBOX Live system, and that they can release at the same time on all phones. Brilliant strategic move on Microsoft's part. One ecosystem to rule them all, and in the cloud unite them.
    Now I prefer the Windows phone because of the integration and unique UI so I might be shooting for the stars when I say that this might ultimately bring people to our phone, but I believe it. If we had EVERY SINGLE app that the iOS has, which would you prefer? right now, lets just start by swinging the games our way since a majority of people seem more interested in games than apps.
    Looking forward, I can see a bright future for mobile XBOX Live gaming.
  • I agree to a point sense other then a job posting mentioning xbox live and having ios and android experience we don't know if it is really going to be a port of intergration or if it is going to be services such as the xbox companion app (we don't know).
    But I really think putting xbox live with achievements and full services on other devices would be one of the biggest downfalls to the wp7/wp8 os I know probable 50 people alone that bought a wp7 for that feature if they could have had those features on a ios or android device they probable would have went that route.
    and besides ios has there "achievement" type system with game center
  • It's true. without first hand knowledge of Microsofts intent with the hire for the XBOX Live "Port", I am touting Vaporware. We won't know till it's announced. I am however, hopeful as I would LOVE to see some of the big iOS games on my  Windows phone.
    Unlike my younger brother, I don't really have anything against the iOS system. I really dislike Android, but iOS is/was a truely inspired and unique system that changed the way people in general think about smart phones and apps.
    but in regards to it being a huge downfall, I still don't think that it would impact the WP marketshare that much. we only have like 1.8% market share.
    It's a Mind Set. A Culture. Steve Jobs and Apple have built a culture around owning and wanting an iPhone. We have to build that same culture for the WP. it will be difficult, but I believe doable. expecially once W8 comes out and the marketplace is completely cross device for Microsoft. People will love the integration with all their devices. And while the iOS is pretty slick, the WP7 is the all around better experience. Everyone I know who uses it, loves it. It might take a while for people to make the switch, but Microsoft has the Time.
    And from a purely financial standpoint ... I don't believe Microsoft cares how long it is going to take. They are making outrageous sums of money off of Android ... so although they are microsofts "Enemy", they would be foolish to whipe them out unless they took all the marketshare back towards themselves which is highly unlikely. and since the iOS croud is generally fanatical about their products (Sometimes to a fault),  I can't see Microsoft sitting around and not trying to capitalize on that marketshare. If I had the knowldge (and time to learn it) I too would be writing games for the iOS just like I am for the WP OS because of the sheer number of devices and people who might buy my game. If I was a BIG name developer who was going to spend resources on developing a game, would I develop it for 1.8% of the market or 40% of the market? If I was Microsoft and needed to spend my resources building my os to support CDMA on 2 carriers, or GMS on hundreds of carriers, where do I spend the initial investment of my time?? Although I am on Sprint, and was initially pissed to hear I was going to be left out in the cold at the launch, I understood the logic behind it and saw their bigger picture.
    That is why I believe Microsoft would be wise to bring the XBOX Live system to iOS, not just to get people to buy an XBOX Membership (revenue), but to help bring games to the WP by having the vendor build it once in the UDK or Unity3D and simultaneouly releasing it on both platforms. Like I said, if all apps were available on both systems, which OS would you prefer?