Power of Unity for AR

This post is related to a previous post I wrote about the power of Unity and other game engines for filmmaking. Instead of focusing on the limitless capabilities that Unity has for filmmakers, this post is centered on the even more numerous capabilities that Unity has for AR developers. As someone who has used Unity to create AR applications, I can testify firsthand to the power of the software. With Unity, one can implement the most important elements of AR into their projects with relative ease. These elements include:

  • Spatial computing: With Magic Leap and Hololens SDKs for Unity, one can quickly add room meshing to their project. In spatial applications, AR interacts with the existing environment drastically improving the application’s apparent interactivity. I believe spatial computing is the future of AR and the most compelling AR experiences will need to be spatial.
  • Cross Platform: Unity allows developers to create applications that work between different AR platforms. The best example of a company that has been able to harness this, much to the benefit of their applications, is Across Realities, the creators of Spatiate. Cross platform applications can drastically increase the user base of an AR experience.
  • Multi-Player: People love to experience things together. There are a number of plug-ins for Unity that allow developers to create multi-player AR experiences. These plug-ins include Photon and Normal, both of which are extremely effective at creating multi-user AR experiences for various platforms.
  • Location-Based: I find location-based AR to be the most fun because it can put to use the entertainment value of existing sites. Through Vuforia and other ways of harnessing persistent coordinates, Unity can create powerful location-based AR experiences.
  • High quality graphics: As is evidenced by The Lion King and the numerous other games and films created using Unity, it is clear that there is no limit to what Unity is capable of displaying graphically. As AR HMD’s become more powerful, it seems inevitable that these high-quality graphics will be put to use in upcoming AR experiences. Just look at Magic Leap Studios’ Undersea application. It does not use any low poly graphics and the result is beautiful.

I believe the above elements of AR are all going to be necessary in order to create the AR experiences that usher in the age of spatial computing. Luckily for all of us, Unity has made it relatively easy for any developer to make these happen.

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