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Gaming startups Unity and Improbable end their feud peacefully

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It looks like the very public feud between high-flying game development companies Unity and Improbable has come to a peaceful end — at least, for now.

In short: Unity has clarified its terms of service, putting in writing that it’s committing to an open platform, where customers can use technology from Improbable or any other developer. Furthermore, Unity says that it no longer considers Improbable in violation of its terms of service, and will be reinstating its licenses for Unity software.

“We are glad that Unity Technologies has done the right thing by making Unity an open platform,” an Improbable spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday. “We now have access to our Unity licenses again, and can provide full support to developers building games with Unity and SpatialOS. We are confident that this situation will not arise again.”It’s a capstone on a fight with important ramifications for the video game development industry.

Read more:The CEO behind ‘Fortnite’ explains why he’s getting involved with an intense feud between $2.6 billion Unity and $2 billion startup Improbable

Unity, the flagship gaming engine from Unity Technologies, is the foundational software behind many modern video games, including “Pokémon Go,” “Hollow Knight,” and “Cuphead.” The $2 billion British startup Improbable created SpatialOS, which helps developers deploy the underlying plumbing for online multiplayer features.

The two got into a spat last week when Improbable accused Unity of suddenly changing its terms of service to cut off support for SpatialOS and any services like it. The news rattled game developers who were using both Unity and Improbable’s SpatialOS.

Unity fired back by saying that SpatialOS users were fine, and would continue to be supported — its beef was with Improbable in particular, which Unity said was in violation of its terms of service. Unity said that it had revoked Improbable’s Unity software licenses. Still, Unity said at the time, it would update its terms of service to better reflect its commitment to letting customers use whatever technology they want to build their games.

“When you make a game with Unity, you own the content and you should have the right to put it wherever you want,” Unity CTO Joachim Ante wrote in the blog post on Wednesday. “Our [terms of service] didn’t reflect this principle – something that is not in line with who we are.”

The ‘Fortnite’ connection

Epic Games co-founder and CEO Tim Sweeney
Epic

At the peak of the back-and-forth, industry heavyweight Epic Games — the company behind “Fortnite” — got in on the fight. Epic sided with Improbable, with the two announcing a fund to help developers who might be affected by changes in Unity’s terms of service.

Now, with things seemingly better between Unity and Improbable, Epic might be standing down, as well.

“Unity made a solid move by undoing the recently-introduced Terms of Service restrictions on cloud services, SDKs, and stores,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney posted on Twitter. “Developers are again free to mix and match everyone’s tools and services.”

Room to grow

Ultimately, however, Unity is still keeping Improbable at arm’s length in some ways.

While Unity has committed to keeping its platform open, it says that not every service that plugs into the engine will be supported — meaning that it’s not something that Unity itself has vetted to work great for its customers. While Unity customers are free to use unsupported technology, the company makes no guarantees about its performance.

Improbable and its SpatialOS fall under the umbrella of “unsupported.” In its statement, Improbable said Thursday that it hopes this situation will change, and it plans to discuss partnering with Unity in the future.

For its part, Unity also reinforced in its blog entry that it plans on building and integrating its own services into the platform, which may compete with those built by other developers. However, Unity committed to not blocking services from rival developers.

Finally, Unity plans to post its terms of service on the code hosting platform GitHub, so that developers can track what changes are made and when.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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