Unity beta program helps game developers with Windows Phone 8.1

Unity for Windows Phone 8.1 is available for experienced developers

Game developers can prepare to create apps for Windows Phone 8.1 with a beta program from Unity Technologies.

Support for Windows Phone 8.1 apps is almost feature complete, but a lot of bug fixes and polishing is needed, according to Unity, which offers cross-platform game development tools. Unity for Windows Phone 8.1 is the company's first beta build, and it's going to take time for the product to "reach rock-solid stability," the company said. However, experienced developers can take advantage of this early-stage technology and start working on Windows Phone 8.1 games right now, Unity said Wednesday.

Unity for Windows Phone 8.1 includes improved scripting and rendering performance. The scripting back end has been optimized with the help of a new Windows Phone 8.1 SDK (software development kit). The SDK also allows Unity to implement efficient multithreaded rendering on mobile devices, letting developers take better advantage of the multicore processors in most new smartphones.

Unity's cross-platform development tools can be used to simultaneously create games for a multitude of different platforms, including smartphones, PCs and the Web. Backing from companies such as Unity is important to Microsoft to help more apps developers, which the company needs to compete with Apple and Google.

The beta program has limited capacity and is open only to experienced developers. To participate in the beta program, developers need to write a short introduction and provide links to published games on Windows Store or Windows Phone Store. Information about how to submit an application for the program can be found at the Unity website.

Newcomers to Unity should wait to develop in Unity for Windows Phone 8.1 until after the public commercial release or use the existing Windows Phone 8 product, the company said.

Microsoft launched Windows Phone 8.1 Wednesday at its Build conference. The new version of the company's smartphone OS includes Cortana, a competitor to Apple's Siri and Google's Now, as well as an improved start screen, and an action center that collects notifications and accesses the settings for things like Wi-Fi, Flight Mode and Bluetooth in one place.

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Tags application developmentUnity TechnologiessmartphonesgamesMobile OSessoftwaremobileWindows PhoneDevelopment toolsmobile applicationsconsumer electronicsMicrosoft

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Mikael Ricknäs

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