By Bobby Carlton and Dilmer Valecillos
The latest toolkit from Unity opens up pathways for XR enterprise solutions
Happy new year! Let’s start off 2023 with some knowledge! One of the best tools out there for building out amazing XR solutions used in everything from gaming, entertainment, warehouse automation, robotics, and more, is Unity!
Unity is an incredible tool that has has been used by many studios, including our own FS Studio creative team, to help revolutionize industries through amazing interactive digital experiences. If you’ve ever played a VR game, used AR on your mobile device, seen a Hollywood blockbuster movie with amazing special effects, or your company uses an immersive experience for employee training, there’s a good chance Unity was involved in the process.
Just recently Unity, released their Unity Interaction Toolkit 2.3 prerelease and our good friend and FS Studio Consultant Dilmer Valecillos took a moment to dive into those Unity features to show us what is possible.
This is a big upgrade to the Unity toolkit and opens up a number of new possibilities for XR as an enterprise solution for industries. Dilmer goes over the new Unity XR Interaction Toolkit 2.3 prerelease version which provides some cool new features such as poking interactions, a new affordance system (for interaction feedback), a new revamped XR device simulator for running VR experiences in Unity without deployment, and a very early sneak peek of gaze interaction features.
Overview of Unity XR Interaction Toolkit new features by chapter:
00:26 Unity XRI setup including XRI Unity package, XR plugin management, and Oculus XR plugin
05:02 Unity XR simple interactable with poke filters
08:05 Poke interactions with UI canvas and UI components
09:36 New Unity XRI affordance system for interaction feedback
13:41 Setting up affordance system with Unity XR Grab interactable
17:40 Setting up new redesigned XR device simulator
What is really important to note here is that as tools such as Unity continues to evolve and give creatives better and easier ways for them to build out interactive digital content, and we see hardware evolve to become lighter, faster, and move us closer to XR glasses that look more like everyday glasses, we see more uses of XR solutions in our day-to-day lives. This includes social, entertainment, and the workforce.
With a wide range of support for multiple platforms and developers, Unity is a powerful option for a development tool for AR,VR, and MR solutions.
Following the release of the 2017 version, Unity has continued to build in a wide range of features and capabilities for VR and AR. It can be used on various platforms, such as the Meta Quest, PlayStation VR, HTC Vive and Microsoft HoloLens. Native support for these platforms is also available from the box with more than 91% of the apps made for mobile AR and Hololens, along with countless VR experiences all using Unity. This is an indication of the engine’s direction in the MR space.
With the ability to create cross-platform applications, Unity is a great tool for developers. It only takes a few clicks to create a structure for any given platform, and experiences can be delivered through platforms such as a VR headset, AR device, mobile AR and VR, and WebXR. This also means that Unity will be a part of industry4.0 and web3.0 evolution as the idea of digital twinning for almost everything we do, becomes more accepted by the masses.
With the ability to create third-party plugins and SDKs, developers can easily create impressive AR and VR experiences using Unity.
Besides being used for game development, Unity is also great for non-game development, such as industrial training and education. Its ability to support real-time rendering and 3D compositing makes it an ideal tool for game makers and filmmakers who want to create interactive worlds out of immersive 360 environments. Facebooks Horizon Worlds, a platform that showcases the vision of socialVR, is currently being built using Unity.
The Unity Asset Store can help simplify and speed up your development process. It features a variety of assets, such as art and sound. In addition, it announced Virtual Room, an interactive advertising platform that will be released later this year.
Unity Interaction Toolkit 2.3 prerelease gives us an incredible sneak peek into what Unity has in mind for XR tools, and what it means for creatives to be able to manipulate immersive digital worlds that feel more real for the user through things such as interaction feedback and poke filters. Of course there are lot of other amazing things you can do with Unity. Check out their website for the Unity Manual for more possibilities.