Google I/O

Vector Unit dives into Google Play game services

San Francisco, CA – May 15, 2013 — Vector Unit, the indie game developer known for top-selling mobile racing titles Beach Buggy Blitz™, Riptide GP™ and Shine Runner™, announced at Google I/O, Google’s developer conference, that all its games will offer full support for Android’s new Google Play game services starting immediately.

“We love to connect players in our games, but until recently on Android there have been a lot of competing social platforms without a single standout,” says Vector Unit CEO Matt Small. “Google Play game services offer a unifying platform that every Android gamer can join easily, has all the features we could want, and that we as developers can support without worrying about whether it’s going to still be around in 2 years.”

The company’s premium water racing titles, Riptide GP and Shine Runner, and its popular free-to-play “endless driver” Beach Buggy Blitz, all receive updates today that allow users to log in with their Google accounts to earn Achievements, post scores to Leaderboards, and sync their game progress using Cloud Save.

Vector Unit’s upcoming sequel Riptide GP2 is also showcased at Google I/O this week to demonstrate Google Play game services’ real-time multi-player capabilities. Google I/O attendees can play Riptide GP2 this week in the Sandbox on the third floor, and also with NVIDIA, where it’s being shown running with extra graphic features on NVIDIA’s new Tegra 4-based Shield devices.

“Multi-player is a major focus of Riptide GP2,” explains Ralf Knoesel, Vector Unit’s CTO. “Google Play game services provide a robust and easy to use real-time multi-player experience. The elegant invitations and notifications allow players to easily connect with their friends to show off their hydro jet racing skills.”

Riptide GP2 is due to be released on Android and iOS this summer. In addition to multi-player gameplay, the game features a new deeper career mode, player and hydro jet customization, and a stunt combo system with dozens of spectacular stunts.

10 Awesomest Things from Google I/O

This last week we traveled allllll the way down to San Francisco to attend Google I/O as part of the Developer Sandbox.  

The main reason for going was to show off our new game, Beach Buggy Blitz ... which we did to every poor sucker who walked by within arm's length of our kiosk and didn't run away screaming when we shoved our preloaded Nexus 7's into their face.  

Actually, OK, it was a bit more relaxed than that.  We had a great time meeting fellow Android nerds, and people seemed to really enjoy the game, which was gratifying because we haven't shown it to many people outside our little circle.

We had the Sandbox kiosk on Thursday, and on Wednesday and Friday we got to wander around, explore, check out some exhbits, and just soak up the Android love.  

Along the way we saw some things we really liked, and here in no particular order, are our top 10:

1. Nexus 7

Um... a 7" Tegra 3 tablet, kept eternally up to date with the latest pure Android experience starting with the as-yet-unreleased Jellybean...for $199?  Yes, please.  Sure you could quibble about not having a back-facing camera or HDMI out or whatever, but...for the love of pete it's $199!  This is the new ultimate portable gaming device.

2. Jellybean and Project Butter

Jellybean is Android OS 4.1, and it's slick.  It's especially slick because of "Project Butter", Google's effort to smooth out the UI in Android.  Anyone who's compared an iPad and Android tablet side by side knows what I'm talking about.  And thanks to their efforts Jellybean on a Tegra 3 at least is smooooooth as silk, and there are a lot of other new features we like as well.

3. The giant Nexus Q ball

I never quite figured out what this thing did, but it was big and robotic and it played cool music.

4. Cube 3D printer

At $1299 it's not cheap, but the Cube is the first consumer-level 3D printer that I've ever seen that actually looks like it does what you want.  We were super impressed with the quality of the detail and the durability of the materials.  It really is kind of like magic.  Slow magic, but still...magic.

5. Beach Buggy Blitz!

Yeah OK I know this is self serving, but it's my list dammit.  And yeah we were super happy to finally be able to show the game to people and talk to them about it and it didn't crash or do anything weird, and so I think it's fair to say it was the highlight of the show for us at least :-)

6. That guy with the helicopter

Dammit, I didn't get a video of this guy, but on Thursday afternoon this RC helicopter champion gave a demonstration in front of a massive crowd that was completely insane.  He flew that thing upside down, sideways, and within inches of the ceiling and floor.  Really, he distorted physical reality.  It was loco.

7. Visual Studio development plugins for Android and Chrome Native Client

This is actually Ralf's favorite thing.  NVIDIA is releasing a plugin that allows direct building and debugging of Android apps from within Visual Studio.  And Google is releasing one for Chrome Native Client.  This is going to make developing and debugging Android and Chrome apps a lot smoother!

8. 10 Things Every Android Game Developer Should Know

This talk on Friday morning by Daniel Galpin and Ian Lewis focused on what NOT to do to NOT get featured....or NOT NOT get featured.  Or something.  Anyway it was really informative, and surprisingly entertaining and funny to boot.  I don't know if they'll post it online, but if they do and you ever think about making Android games you should watch it.

9. Skydivers with Glass

By now pretty much everybody's seen this, or at least heard about it.  And even though I'm not totally sold on wearing a plastic toothbrush with a camera on it next to my face, the demo was pretty incredible.  Hats of to Google for coordiating a live demo like that which could have gone wrong in so many ways...and didn't.

10. Free Stuff!

Nexus 7, Nexus Q, Galaxy Nexus phone, Chromebox.  Plus T-shirts, little pins and stickers, free food and booze and music and entertainment.  OK well I guess it's not technically free if you bought your ticket, but it's still pretty awesome considering that most conferences don't give you anything except tired feet. 

Thanks again, Google!  See you next year (I hope!)

Vector Unit showing new game at Google I/O 2012

The good people at Google have invited us to participate in the Developer Sandbox at Google I/O this year, and we couldn't be more thrilled.  

First of all, we're excited because we love Google I/O.  We were fortunate enough to be part of the Sandbox last year with Riptide GP.  We got to meet a ton of other developers working on amazing new projects, participate in the conference, and of course managed to score some of that sweet Google I/O swag.

On top of just getting to attend the conference, of course, it also feels really good to have the Android team at Google recognize our work and invite us to join them. 

But the other reason we're excited is because the game we're going to be showing is our brand new, as yet unannounced title.  

No details yet about what the game actually is -- attendees at Google I/O are going to be the first people outside of Vector Unit to see and play it.  

So stay tuned for the official announcement next week.   We hope you like it -- and if you're attending, we hope to see you in the Google I/O Developer Sandbox in a couple of weeks!

Ralf Knoesel on developing games for Android

You may recall the Vector Unit team exhibited our new game Riptide GP at Google I/O back in May.  During the conference, the Google I/O team interviewed Technical Director and Lead Programmer Ralf Knoesel about developing high-performance games for Android.  

The short video gives you a little insight into what it's like these days making games for mobile platforms, and shows off some gameplay footage of Riptide GP.

Riptide GP featured at Google I/O

Vector Unit has been selected from hundreds of developer applicants to exhibit in the Sandbox area at Google I/O 2011.

The team will be on hand to demo our latest game, Riptide GP, the first console quality water racing game for mobile phones and tablets.  Riptide GP features superfast hydro jets racing through futuristic landscapes across a dynamic, ever changing surface of water.

We're super excited about the opportunity to exhibit at the show, and grateful to Google for giving us a chance to participate.

Come by the booth and visit, and check out the near-final version of Riptide GP!

More about the Sandbox can be found here: