Unity CEO Wants ‘Equivalent of LittleBigPlanet’ Made In VR

by Jamie Feltham • May 3rd, 2017

User-generated content might be a common feature of many games these days, but you could argue that its inception was kick started by Sony’s LittleBigPlanet series. Unity is hoping that, one day, something will do the same for VR.

Unity CEO John Riccitiello said as much to UploadVR in an interview at this week’s Vision Summit. We asked Riccitiello about the company’s two experimental in-VR development tools, Carte Blanche and EditorVR. The latter is already available in an early state, and allows you to edit scenes from within VR, accessing some of the features available to Unity developers on a traditional screen. Carte Blanche, meanwhile, largely remains under wraps but looks to be a simplified way of quickly assembling virtual worlds that anyone can get to grips with.

We’ve seen with straightforward creation software, like Google’s Tilt Brush, that almost anyone can learn how to use the ever-improving toolset and sketch out something in VR. With some serious skill, programming and additional tools, though, you can even use elements created in VR as the pieces for a game. Meanwhile, Mindshow lets people intuitively make cartoons using their  voice and body movements. There’s also Medium, Tvori, Quill, Gravity Sketch and many more projects in development all centered on unleashing creativity through intuitive VR tools. None have yet to find a sweet spot, though, where anyone can use them to jump into VR and make a highly interactive virtual world they can then invite other people to play inside.

Unity may be the company to make it happen. At least, that seems to be the plan according to Riccitiello.

“I want to try and create a world where there can be…as many creators as consumers. I hate the fact that most people are on the outside looking in when it comes to creating technology products. I think that sucks,” he said. “So we’re doing a lot with Unity to make it simpler to use and a lot with Unity to create sort of training materials.”

Riccitiello noted that “obviously Carte Blanche is much easier to use than EditorVR. I think in the fullness of time EditorVR gets there earlier than does Carte Blanche, but Carte Blanche I think most people will probably use that one of two ways.” One of those ways, the CEO says, will be building the platform out to almost make developing a game a game inside itself, just like LittleBigPlanet.

“Somebody is gonna go out and build with Unity the equivalent of LittleBigPlanet,” Riccitiello said. “So here is 100 assets or 1,000 assets and you can import them and build your own game out of that in Carte Blanche. But if you’re really going to get down and edit the actual pieces, you’re going to need some level of Editor capability that’s probably beyond Carte Blanche — so you’re gonna have to intersect with the two.”

When asked when we might see that start to happen, he replied: “We’re working on it now, and it’s not that far from true now. You can use the Editor, then EditorVR to do what I’ve just described. I would say late this year for Carte Blanche having somebody using it to create what I’ve talked to you about, maybe early next year.”

If Unity has its way, the barriers to game development could soon be broken down with the help of VR. That’s an exciting thought.

Senior Editor Ian Hamilton contributed to this report. 

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