GDC 2017: With 6,000 Downloads, Unity’s Editor VR Is Making VR Dev Accessible To All
Unity launched its Editor VR service in an alpha form late last year, and the engine-maker appears to be pretty happy with the results so far.
Editor VR is an in-VR section of the larger Unity engine that lets you edit virtual scenes in games and more. Taking to the stage at the company’s GDC 2017 press conference this morning, Principal Designer on the Labs team, Timoni West, revealed that the platform has had over 6,000 downloads since its launch. That might not sound like a huge amount, but given the platform’s alpha phase it’s a good start. Some of those users have already contributed code back into the platform’s code base too.
The Unity Labs team is developing an XR Foundation Toolkit to help #VR creators design, prototype & test experiences. We’ll share more soon.
— Unity (@unity3d) February 28, 2017
West then showcased some of the Tools that are now included in the alpha version. These are creative apps and middleware that are imported into the Unity engine, to literally provide developers with more tools to make VR experiences. They include animation apps like Tvorii, and ProBuilder, which allows you to build, texture and edit meshes inside VR.
The company wants yet more Tools, though, and to encourage developers to contribute their work, Unity is hosting a competition with an undisclosed cash prize and a chance to showcase at May’s VR and AR-focused Vision Summit.
Unity isn’t just leaving the development of Editor VR up to the community, though. West’s biggest announcement was its own Tool, the Cross Reality Foundation Toolkit (XRFT). This was described as a “framework” for just about anyone interested in working in VR, AR and MR, allowing them to “get up to speed” without starting from scratch.
“We want to give you the building blocks for interaction and locomotion,” West said, “and everything else you need.”
Included in the XRFT will be elements like cross-platform controller input, customizable physics systems, AR/VR-specific shaders and cameras, object snapping and building systems, debugging and profiling tools, and support for all major VR and AR platforms. The toolkit will be released as an open-source beta “over the next few months.”
It sounds like this could be the next big step in Unity’s plan to make VR development accessible to everyone and anyone.