The second annual Unity Developer Conference was held right here in Copenhagen at the Tycho Brahe Planetarium. With the keynote held in the huge IMAX DOME theatre delivering highlights such as the announcement of a Windows IDE and the release of Unity for the Iphone the event was kicked off in style.
When Unity Technologies approached us with the task of developing the identity for the conference, it was with the intent of giving the event a visual style that wasn't necessarily games related but rather rooted in a contemporary design context. The identity included live visuals to run before and in-between presentations, configurations of the physical space at the venue and a registration gift for the attendants with t-shirt and stickers with the unite'08 identity.
Concept - Creation & Engine
One of the things that was obvious to us when looking at Unity was how differently the tool is used. With games ranging from 2D platformers to complex 3D MMORPG's and non-games projects being developed in fields such as architectural & data visualization, art, simulation and more, it's really a tool that enables all kinds of amazing content. Conveying this universe of possibilities, the creation, quickly became the main thread of the concept.
To give the visual presence an unexpected twist we wanted to add a second layer that could act as a revelation of what it is that makes all that amazing content possible - the Unity game engine itself. We wanted it to act as a hidden layer beneath the surface of the visuals revealing itself from time to time in a way that would surprise viewers - visually as well as conceptually and technically. Simply called engine, this part of the identity would act as the connection between the creation and the tool.
With the somewhat complex concept of the two worlds existing side by side and the task of visualizing an abstraction of the game engine, the solution was kept simple, using recognizable visual elements as metaphors to enable the story to be told in a short time-frame.
To convey the multiplicity of the creation universe we started with a simple shape - the stroke. It was given the ability to 'paint' complex systems through a set of rules that could be mixed independently. These rules controlled appearance of individual strokes and how strokes interacted with each other. With the simple, recognizable building block as the base we managed to keep visuals coherent while still conveying the flexibility and diversity of the creation universe.
Visualizing the engine as the second layer . The engine was represented by the Unity logo, a universally recognizable symbol in this context and also tied the whole identity back to Unity Technologies. The transformation from creation to engine was visualized as revealing what's behind the content, literally by peeling off the strokes of the creation and revealing the unity logo behind.