Facebook is releasing an SDK that will allow greater integration with the Unity gaming engine, allowing developers to import their games to Facebook with little work.
Facebook and Unity announced a partnership in March, and they revealed the outcome of the venture Wednesday at the Unite conference for developers. Whether someone is building a game for iOS, Android or the web, Facebook says now they can quickly optimize it to work with the social network and its features.
“We want game developers to be able to publish into a large population,” said Facebook Product Manager for Games George Lee. Facebook has 260 million monthly active users playing games and has seen growth across all demographics, he said.
In addition to the Unity SDK, Facebook said game developers would soon have access to the Parse plugin for Unity. Facebook’s Parse purchase means developers can worry less about infrastructure, Lee said. It will provide services like social infrastructure for leaderboards, cloud saving for players, user authentication and other features.
Lee said the company hopes these improvements will attract a wider variety of gamers and a wider variety of games. His hope is to bring more “core” games to Facebook — games that attract a more traditional gaming audience like first-person shooters and role-playing games.
Lee said the problem, which Facebook has already taken steps to address, is that full-screen games were difficult to implement from Facebook. Facebook’s notification posed a problem as well.
“It might be annoying if you keep receiving notifications that bump you out of full-screen mode,” Lee said. “We want people to see those messages, instead, when they are ready for a break.”
Facebook also saw drop-offs when players had to install the Unity Web Player, necessary to run games built in that engine. Lee said the social network went on a campaign to make users more aware of Unity’s potential usefulness, and the install base for players grew from 30 million to 90 million.
Facebook has a full link to download the SDK on its development blog.