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Worried About Unity Customer Relations, Community and Development Priorities.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by AntonQvarfordt, Jul 25, 2019.

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  1. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    I've been using Unity for a long time, and picking up Unity is what led me down the path that got me my first real job that I loved - making games, and set me on the career path I'm currently on... Basically I love Unity a whole lot, and I also depend on it for a lot. That's why it's very unsettling for me personally when Unity (corp) seems to have a lot of priorities in their product/business too much askew from my own...

    I think some fundamental things like how you monetize Unity can if their not very carefully considered can both harm the utility of it for users and in the long-term it can harm how further development of Unity prioritized.

    To me I feel the fundamental problem that I'm trying to get at is this: I don't feel like Unity really wants what I want:
    'I want to make great games, the greater the better, and I want them to be successful.'
    So from Unity point of view as service/tool provider they should be thinking:
    'I want to help this guy ( and these people ;) ) to make great games, the greater the better. And I want them to be successful'.

    But more and more I feel like 'Unity is trying to monetize me with this stuff', 'All these initiatives and resources etc on basically whatever are the latest Silicon Valley-hyped technologies with out very much, if any, proven application in any more critical part of 99.9% of games being made'.

    BIM. CAD. Automotive Industry-something. Unity for making animated movies. Pushing different premium services and subscriptions and hyping different partnerships with little-to-no impact on anything except for.. I'm not sure.. It's what CEO's and business people do? Go to lunch meetings and strike up some partnerships and whatnot... Like.. That there is basically 98% of the Unity Blog. The GitHub is full of stuff like that also.... And it's barely useful for anybody...

    I want to sit you down, Unity, like a misbehaving child and say while pointing my finger at you: "NO! STOP IT! Game Development, okay? Making real games, putting most development resources into the things that's the most pivotal for the people who are actually successfully and actively using Unity.

    This does of course not mean that partnerships cant be great and exciting, that Unity can't be very useful for a lot of things besides game development and that you shouldn't lean into that. It doesn't mean you shouldn't R&D sassy new technologies even if it might not pay off etc etc etc etc... But that stuff is all you ever hear about and that gets promoted.

    What about doing blogs on game development workflows, system architecture, project setup/management, general game development trends, comparing different contemporary widely used setups for developing AI.... Obviously etc etc etc... Yes that stuff exist but I feel like over the past two they've been pushed to the brink of extinction....

    Do you want to do the same thing I want to do anymore, Unity? Because all the telltale signs are the and the drifting apart, and I'm really confused as to why as surely I'm representing your core user base?

    I for one would much perfer skipping the subscription services and all of the freemium-like nickle-and-diming on the 'Unity Services' for a royalty-based system, even if it was a substantial cut taken by Unity... Primarily for this reason:
    The better you help me make a successful product, period, the more money you make. That means our objectives are perfectly aligned.

    Unity is for making great, wonderful successful stuff. Focusing on that should be the end-all be-all. But the message I'm start to feel I'm getting is that it's not.

    That really bums me out because I love Unity. And do help people make great, wonderful successful stuff.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
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  2. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    Some positives that's been happening lately to balance that out a bit.

    * The (ongoing) change to packages/modularity... This is just great, it makes it simpler (don't get distracted by tools etc you dont use) AND more powerful (easier integration, better performance etc)... I'm looking into basically getting my own sort of default systems in in this way as well.. Where you have a number of default solutions for Cameras, Movement etc etc fit for different projects.. Now you can mix, match and re purpose code much better.

    *Cinemachine is amazing, nuff said.

    *I havn't really gotten into Timeline yet but I like the concept a lot.

    This stuff is great... But why havn't you done any type of generic "Unity(C) super-easy but also very powerful" take on State Machines, Behaviour Trees and stuff like that? Machine Learning can wait.

    Anyways basically: Unity as a piece of software, a collection of tools and API's etc is imo bordering on work of art. Constructed by brains so exquisite that they should be the envy of every boy and girl all throughout the land!

    So... Don't S*** on that!!!!

    Basically constructors Unity: Please fire your business people?
     
  3. MadeFromPolygons

    MadeFromPolygons

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    Its not for you to choose what the engine can be used for. We use unity for more than just games, my entire dayjob would not exist if unity did not cater to other industries.

    All I think is that we need a category / filter for blog posts and content to filter for games related content, which doesnt exist right now (for blog at least). Ive mentioned this in comments on a few blog posts.

    But its not for you or I to dictate what other users can use it for! Its a democratized engine for lots of people and use cases
     
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  4. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    Quoting the original post here.

     
  5. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    So what stop OP from making successful games?

    In contrast, we got tons of platformers, puzzles and even FPS game, which are flooding game market every year. Seams even game making become too simple.

    What's not in Unity by default, can be found externally online. Including different AI systems. No problem what's so ever. Just need some time. Or roll in own solution.

    I also used Unity beyond game making. So limiting focus to such only, won't be much of benefits now.
     
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  6. MadeFromPolygons

    MadeFromPolygons

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    But you also go on to say stuff like you want to sit unity down like a misbehaving child etc etc and even suggest firing unity staff, which by the way is a ridiculous statement to make based on the very little (if any) facts in your posts.

    Idk but to me it seems like you want to rant and be reasonably aggressive to unity staff but also want to semi-backtrack some of your own statements so that people wont call you up on it.

    Either way, I definately dont think this was the way to phrase a lot of this, and no-one should ever suggest firing unity staff and its a quick way to get a post locked tbh.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
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  7. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    There are many things to be improved with Unity, but I suggest first making a list of all the choices that Unity are making that directly roadblock your game development in some way, and how you suggest to deal with them.

    At the moment, even what you do suggest in your post is completely un-anchored to any specific problem you're dealing with. System architecture? Workflows? What does this mean in terms of your argument? What exactly do you want?

    I would also prefer to use a game engine based on royalties, since as you say it makes an engine somewhat dependent on any given user's success, but I suspect it's for that very reason that they would prefer not to do it, which isn't exactly surprising given how much of that user's success is not dependent on the engine itself.
     
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  8. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    The post isn't really about any specific problem or problems. It's more a concern about Unity's overall direction and methods that seems to me is a generator of problems. This isn't a Tech Support kind of problem :p

    I just feel less and less good about Unity as a company overall. Whilst still definitively thinking Unity, the product, the software - is great.

    However game development (and tech overall) is in constant shift and it's not really good enough that it's good right now.. You need to feel safe that it's going to be good years from now if you're going to invest in it.

    The point of my post really is to just try and gage to what extent if any other people agree with me.
     
  9. MadeFromPolygons

    MadeFromPolygons

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    Well I agree that I would prefer it to be based on royalties, that point I think is a good one.

    Thats mostly the only actionable point I can pull out of your wall of text post though.
     
  10. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    Yea well I did give it my best shot, and what more can you really do but that.
     
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  11. Billy4184

    Billy4184

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    Well I do get your point about how Unity's brand has changed, but I see it a bit differently. For one thing, the engine is simply getting better all the time. The engine they had pre-Unity 5 is a dinosaur compared to what they have now. There's no doubt that many things have massively improved, including graphics/lighting/post, UGUI/text mesh pro, cinemachine (was using yesterday, very cool), profiler, a whole range of stuff. So in terms of raw engine capability, it's quite good imo (and wasn't before). That's the main thing for me, to have an engine that's capable of dealing with major game features. That's not to say it's as good in every department as some other engines, but it's up there.

    I think though what really changed people's perception, including maybe yours, is the image of Unity itself. The forums, the asset store, the Learn site, it has all gone through a sort of commercial re-branding that's a bit hyper. Not to mention that a lot of a bit shifty looking Unity teaching resources, many on Udemy, have sprung up at the same time, which doesn't help. They might be useful, but the way they are presented is pure, aggressive marketing and hype.

    Also, Unity have gone a lot more into stuff that's not directly game related. I would like this to work, but I'm not sure exactly what it does mean for the engine. The fact that it coincides with the Great Flood making its way into Steam and a general feeling that the world of game development is about to end and we're all fighting over scraps (which isn't actually true but the market doesn't operate on exact reality) makes it feel like everyone's looking for another boat to get onto.

    Overall I'm not too concerned - my main priorities are a good engine and the ability to develop my skills, both of which are under control. Until I make a game, I don't really concern myself too much with anything because until someone has made a game the biggest obstacle is very likely not what they think it is.

    Also, despite all the uproar I like what Epic are doing throwing money at all sorts of crazy stuff because it's shaking up a bloated and inefficient industry back into some semblance of competition. As long as someone is doing that role, things will probably stay pretty healthy.
     
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  12. sinzer0

    sinzer0

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    Unity has raised a ton of money from investors. They have to give them an out eventually which means go public or sale to a megacorp. That's why we are seeing all this "enterprise" features imo. They need to make the case Unity can grow revenues as a company to get the investors their 100x return.
     
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  13. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    Yes this has been my working theory as well. That they've doing a whole bunch of stuff that's essentially business-facing rather than targeting Unity users to basically super-charge its perceived value for traders for when they do an IPO, that's been rumored is coming.

    But with these things floating around... All these different campaigns, pushes and attempts at opening new revenue streams... How are the actual users who at the very least provide most of their concrete value as a company to take all this? And if their willing to completely up-end what Unity has been focusing on and made their name doing to squeeze out every last penny for the largest possible payout to investors.. That doesn't exactly instill confidence that it's a service you can be safe investing time and money in the future of.

    And then I haven't even gotten to what going public might mean for the future... Are all the key players just going to retire in order to focus on making their own artisan wine label and driving expensive cars in the south of France?

    I realize I'm being dramatic and alarmist etc... However it'd hardly be the first time something like that has happened, and all the telltale signs are there... And again which way it goes will matter a lot to a lot of people who have spent and are spending a lot of money an doing a lot of planning with Unity as a key part of that planning.

    The past few years have seemed very nonchalant and brash towards the people who spend the most time using Unity. And it's worrisome, that's all.
     
  14. Zarconis

    Zarconis

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    It's not just Unity, Epic are doing the exact same thing because there's money to be made in those segments. They're not a charity and AFAIK game development (especially with Unity's licensing scheme) isn't the biggest money maker compared to other industries and analytics.

    Whilst a dev can become successful from uncomplicated small games with a bit of luck, the odd license here and there doesn't generate a lot of revenue. It's large, complex, 3D games that require multi-license repeat custom where the money is. Whilst I personally believe Unity is one of the best looking and performant engines out there it's still very much WIP, their's little incentive for dev's to move from their existing engines / pipelines or Unreal because if nothing else they're finished and ready for prime time.

    Even then the large 3D game space is a tough cookie, requires a lot of investment to keep up to date and persuading games like Ark to come over to your side is never simple. On top of that Epic will always earn more money from successful games due to royalties. Which I'm split on TBH, if Epic see a good game in the works they will bend over backwards to make sure it sees the light of day (they flew an engineer to help a smaller game dev out for e.g.). On the other hand you loose a lot of revenue.

    This might seem like rambling but I can empathise with Unity, in their situation I probably would do the exact same thing. Revenue allows the engine to evolve which then allows them to compete in other spaces. You think those 3D rendering specialists come cheap? The amount they must pay in staff alone would make someone realise why.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  15. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    I understand this, and that there are realities of running a business that I can be ignorant to.
    On the flip side though I think that if you put the work in to make a reliable really useful engine that's consistent and actively working to remain cutting edge, then the games games and the big hits to revenue from will come.

    IMO this has been what Unreal has been doing.. And it's very much paying off for them (because they've been reliably successful at making tools that create high quality, successful and cutting edge games). That's what we should be selecting which tools we use based upon right? Honestly is it even excusable to have any primary guiding principle than that? THATS WHAT ITS FOR :p If you provide it people will use it and want it, that's value. That's real value... Hyping up stockbrokers and nickle-and-diming like a free-to-play experience.. In truth how can anyone really argue in favor of that approach? You generate value by providing the thing the users value it for. Then exactly how to translate that into direct cash honestly is of secondary interest... Any number of ways... Provided you provide that core value it'll work. So please don't start focusing on a bunch of stuff on the sides of that :p

    I don't really see Epic's position atm as analogous to Unity's at all. Yea they catch a lot of flak atm for getting PC exclusive games (I guess thats what your referring to?), but that's a long-term play, and definitely not something that makes them higher valued or generating more revenue atm.. And the reason I believe their making it is because Steam has remained essentially a monopoly for what over a decade now? It's an aggressive and risky play but that aims to dislodge Steam as monarch of PC-games.. And I think long term it's going to be a positive thing for gamers, game developers and Epic alike provided that it works... The only real party that's going to end up worse off than they were before is Valve.

    Anyways that's a quite a tangent...

    I get companies need to make money.. I think there is a positive way to pursue that though and many negative ones... And I think that at least in the long term the positive one will end up making the most money.
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2019
  16. sinzer0

    sinzer0

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    I choose Unity knowing full well the investment side was the single biggest threat to it's future as indies currently know it. Fact is there is no ideal options. Best option if you are worried about the investment side of things is Godot but it comes with all the bugs that may or may not effect you. Epic is part owned by Tencent (scary chinese megacorp) but they make so much money on games they probably don't need to go public but then again I saw they are raising ton of money while they can so who knows there.
     
  17. Zarconis

    Zarconis

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    No, I meant Epic have moved into a LOT of other industry spaces just like Unity to gain revenue from it. Every update is some sort of raytracing, real time movie or arch viz function.

    I don't agree "the revenue will come", Unity's licensing scheme or business model isn't set up to take advantage of people's success like Epic's is. If you use UE (and are good enough), they'll again bend over backwards to make sure you're successful and then reap the 5% (for the engine use) plus whatever publishing cost revenue share for their own "Epic store".

    They'll promote your game if it's good enough and earn money back from coverage. They're in a money making position when it comes to games, Unity need bulk to make their game dev licensing work and that'll only come from those who need a lot of licenses and / or already earn a lot of game dev related money every year.

    So what then? Yeah, analytics, animated movies, arch viz etc. etc.
     
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  18. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    Tencent has minority stake in Epic.. With the majority control still being with the founders who are working there today... In light of Epic probably being a multi-billion dollar company at this point to have that type of 'grassroots' control centered inside the company is pretty much unheard of...

    I don't think that qualify them as a corporate sellout just based on that the Chinese are 'scary' to people.
     
  19. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    Right, that's my point that I think they should be. I think it'd be great if Unity's success is tied to it being used to make good successful stuff.

    They'd be incentiveised to think 'are these things we're spending all this time and money on actually helping people be successful in their projects their using Unity to make?' And with Unity's core claim to value and relevance being that it helps projects using it be better and more successful that makes a lot of sense to me.
     
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  20. MadeFromPolygons

    MadeFromPolygons

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    On the flip side, if no-one makes much money the engine would suffer and everyone using it would suffer as a result due to unity lacking funds and having to lay off staff, reduce feature team sizes etc dependent on success for that year which would directly equate to revenue, further making it hard to make money. Dont you see how this can easily become a visous cycle, locking you into making a handleful of genres that are seen as money makers (cough, unreal, cough)?

    Ultimately I think if that is the business model you want and its the be-all end-all for you, then you should take a look at unreal, or even move to godot where its all free. I guarantee if you do youll be back though, the grass really isnt greener on the other side.
     
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  21. Zarconis

    Zarconis

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    It would be super cool.... For Unity, whilst I agree shifting focus on to our success is a good thing what dev in their right mind would want royalties? Instead of paying max $125 a month for a couple of years (at most) you could end up paying $50k / $100K +++.

    It's not like Unity is in such a state that you can't develop a decent (or even ambitious) game how it is.! Their user base would shrink rapidly but their business model / revenue would improve dramatically (dependant on them of course) or it could end in disaster. That ain't a decision to take lightly, rather them than me :)..
     
  22. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    It doesn't really matter in the end its about making Unity the best it can be. And if it is, most devs in their right mind wouldn't think twice about it being worth it no matter the model.

    If Unity deviate from providing and expanding on providing top-notch tools and consistent workflows etc etc that you can invest in custom solutions etc for many years and projects to come.

    Reliably being that hub that you can stake your flag in and hire talent geared with that in mind etc.. If you're a game developer you're basically shaping your whole company around that stuff.
    ... Reliably being that hub versus unreliably being competent is the difference between close to priceless and worse than worthless - A waste of time, that is.
     
  23. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    No, that is the predatory micro-transactions and how they are treating their developers: what they are doing with Fortnite.
     
  24. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    I feel like you're not really tuned in to what I'm suggesting if you think this was my issue.
    The reason I'm positive to the royalty revenue model isn't because I have a personal issue with the pricing. It's because I feel like it more clearly puts the developers of Unity's financial incentives in line with my own.

    They make money when they help me make money. So we're developing in the same direction.. Otherwise maybe from a business point of view it makes more sense to spend a lot of resources on (this is hypothetical and doesn't refer to any actual thing) a cloud building system that they can monetize at different levels and use spaces like blogs to essentially advertise this service. It also does, from a strictly business point of view, make a lot of sense since Unity of course fundamentally controls Unity, lock off the ability for other cloud build services to provide integration with unity. Effectively now being able to just kill any competition to their service.

    These actions are from a certain kind of business perspective a complete no-brainer home run.

    However if you start operating in these kinds of ways when providing these kinds of services I'm convinced you're just going to play yourself out of your own market and it's going to come back and bite you bad.
     
  25. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    Oh yeah - that is quite predatory I agree.. Or at least manipulative... I think it becomes a different discussion though if the product is one meant for entertainment versus one that's meant to provide cold utility meant to help completing tasks.

    I think it's a slippery approach for games too though but the fact that it's never claiming to provide anything but entertainment makes them a different discussion.
     
  26. AntonQvarfordt

    AntonQvarfordt

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    I do see what you mean when you say that. I just don't really agree that's necessarily how it would go.
    I would suggest it's equally valid to conclude that you would then start to increasingly spend time working on developing your game engine to generate more money, rather than working on actually developing the utility of the game engine. Users would start slipping, loosing your revenue, prompting you to respond by focusing even harder on revenue generation until it's just completely lost it's actual core value.

    I'm of the belief that if you make something that a lot of people want a lot, you'll be able to turn that into profit one way or another because that's indisputable value. If you have something that nobody wants at all then you spend all of the time in the universe trying to get it to generate revenue but it's not going to work.

    Of course things aren't that generally that black or white. If I had to pick one extreme though I know which one I would choose.
     
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  27. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    Here is a thing. You can make already tons of games and applications with Unity tools / utilities that they provide. No issue here. That not even looking for external resources (i.e. Asset Store).

    Lets say you want your dreamed AI utility and is available. Now you get it and you can implement of hand, with minimal time. Ok no issue. Then you want something else, since you got more time to implement new features. And you need be more competitive, as many others use that tools too. So you are in endless circle of demand.

    As the result, it doesn't matter how many utilities / tools is available. Anyone else is on same boat. It is matter of how you utilize them. + external sources.

    Just sarcastically, 1 click MMO game making button, wont put anyone ahead of competition.
     
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  28. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    Well, I think:

    - it would be awesome if Unity would move to the royality-scheme, but I don't see this happening, because as opposed to Epic, UE has roots in smaller teams, which means both they would have to be more expensive than Epic, and it would be very bad for the small indie teams, because instead of a quite predictable monthly charge, they would need to pay a sum depending on their income (also raising the volume of paper-work, which sinks money), maybe when Unity finally grow their roots in either the AAA world and/or in other industries, they can afford to do so
    - I think having many legs for a business brings more stability and not less, so UE is doing other industries beside gaming is a good thing in my opinion
    - It is okay to feel bad because the once more "indie-like" Unity Technologies became a corporation. I don't feel bad about it, but it is okay to feel that way. Although I don't see how you would be able to help that. IE: you will need to get over it, because you are not in decision-making position there. None of us customers are.
    - I don't see having more tools would be a bad thing, even if you or me don't use them, it's not like they don't work on awesome things connected to gaming because they are working on TV and movie-related things.
     
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  29. zombiegorilla

    zombiegorilla

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    There is no place on the board these kind of generic rants. The place for those is a blog. This board is for using unity and game development in general. While I’m sure your insights into how to run a successful business are valuable, this isn’t the place. Closing.
     
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