Augmented & Virtual Reality with Unity3D

Virtual Reality by Deep Canvas

In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about augmented and virtual reality. We’ve had a lot of fun being a part of the conversation and hearing what others are working on within the growing industry. This January, we’re launching our Unity AR/VR bootcamp, and we’ve been getting this question quite a bit:

Why did Grand Circus decide to launch a Unity VR/AR bootcamp?  

Unity3D is a massively popular, incredibly powerful game engine.  Check out some Fast Facts from Unity:

  • More than 5 billion downloads
  • 2.4 billion unique mobile devices running one or more games made with Unity
  • Widely used by millions of developers, including developers from small indie game companies all the way up to Disney, Electronic Arts, LEGO, Microsoft, NASA, Ubisoft and Warner Bros
Virtual Reality by Deep Canvas
Created by Deep Canvas, this Tiny TechTown allows you to explore and create in a virtual reality city.

The Unity engine and development environment are incredibly flexible.  Unity development happens with a balance of three-dimensional manipulation (dragging and dropping elements, positioning them in space and using a Graphical User Interface (GUI) to set them up) and writing software in C# to make objects act and interact.  And even though it’s called Unity3D, it also allows developers to build 2-dimensional games and other content like simulations, Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality. (See my other blog for the difference between Virtual and Augmented Reality.)

Unity is cross-platform; it can be used to create content for Windows, Mac, and Linux desktop systems, iOS and Android, and even XBox and PlayStation.  For VR platforms it supports HTC Vive and Oculus Rift along with mobile platforms like Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream, and it supports mobile AR platforms such as Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore. In fact, Unity supports development for over 25 platforms.

Unity also offers an Asset Store.  This helps developers in three main ways:

  • It provides lots of free assets, many high quality, so that developers can start out with low or no budget;
  • It makes professional-quality assets like 3D models and game frameworks available so not everything in a project has to be built from scratch;
  • It adds functionality to the base program with plugins, toolkits and other add-ons.

The Asset Store is an incredible strength to the Unity platform and makes it the go-to choice for a lot of dev shops.

Unity3D allows for incredibly rapid development.  I was told by the head of one dev shop, “My team can do six Unity projects in the time it takes to get a single Unreal [another game engine] project mostly running.”  The availability of pre-made objects within Unity3D, coupled with the power and ease of coding in C#, makes for quick prototyping and even final development.

VR Van parked on street
DTE Energy now offers a safer training option for its workers. This virtual reality app was created by Vectorform.

As mentioned, although Unity3D is a game engine it can be used to develop much more.

Virtual Reality entertainment investment jumped 79% in the second half of 2017 but Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are already established in enterprise uses.  In healthcare alone, VR and AR are valued at nearly $800 million and growing rapidly as use cases for both employees and patients grow.  In training in general, VR is expected to be a more than $6 billion industry by 2022.  VR is also being adopted in construction, in education, and in retail, .  Augmented Reality is showing up in many of the same places, including automotive, manufacturing and retail.  

There is a ton happening in this industry, and it’s all developing so quickly. These evolving technologies need skilled professionals ready to create new projects. This January, we’ll be training Augmented and Virtual Reality’s newest developers. 

Want to hear more about the projects being developed in Unity3D? Check out my blog: Metro Detroit Companies Using Unity3D

Applications for our Unity bootcamp are now closed. Sign up for our newsletter to get updated on new class schedules.