Unbound is a virtual reality 3D creation program that is currently in development for the HTC Vive. A new alpha program is being announced by the creators today and signups are available now on the Unbound website. Potential participants should be advised that the experience is in the earliest possible stages of release and should take any bugs or glitches they encounter with a grain of salt. Uncovering flaws is one of the reasons why developers do alpha and beta releases in the first place.
In essence, Unbound is very similar to other VR creation tools such as Tvori, Tilt Brush, SculptrVR, or even Mindshow. In practice, however, it features a very different set of tools and is pursuing an entirely separate objective.
According to an official release from the developers, “The past three years Unbound has spent on the goal of developing a new kind of technology (internally dubbed “PlayEngine”) aimed at making it easy to create things in 3D. It works just like you’d expect it, and requires very little explanation.”
I had the chance to go hands on with the “PlayEngine” and, while it did have a few flashes of brilliance, it was for the most part an underpowered addition to a VR genre that is steadily becoming more and more crowded.
Unbound only has two real claims to fame judging from what was demonstrated to me. The first is actually quite impressive and transformative for the world of VR artistic expression: collaboration. Two users in two separate Vive headsets can collaborate on a project in the same virtual space in real time — similar to SculptrVR and Hyper Room.
This type of system could allow a team of developers or a group of artists to work on single project together without having to send the asset back and forth over the web. This is definitely a feature that this particular vertical doesn’t see a lot of currently. So even in this early version of Unbound, the platform delivers that component well.
Unbound‘s second feature of note is an axis lock system that allows you to create on a computed grid rather than having to form every part of a creation free hand. Enabling this form of interaction allows for more standardized structures to be created. This again could facilitate more collaborative, large scale projects in VR.
Besides these two standout mechanics, however, Unbound has little else to hold your attention. Its selection of tools and colors looks starkly limited when compared to Tilt Brush and the fidelity of its creations are lackluster next to Oculus Medium.
Again, this is only an alpha release. Unbound’s creators have plenty of time to iron out the kinks and expand the experience before going gold. In the meantime, the alpha is free and will be released “soon” according to the studio.
Sign up space is limited so act quickly if you want to ensure your spot in the alpha.