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25. January 2020


Over on the Unity blog there is a discussion of the upcoming changes to VR and AR support in Unity 2019.3.  The Unity engine is migrating to a new plugin based framework called the Unity XR SDK.

We have been working to improve our multi-platform offering, enabling direct integrations through a unified plugin framework. The resulting tech stack consists of an API that exposes common functionalities across our supported platforms in a frictionless way for creators while enabling XR hardware and software providers to develop their own Unity plugins. This architecture offers the following benefits:

  • Multi-platform developer tools such as AR Foundation and the XR Interaction Toolkit
  • Faster partner updates from supported plugins via the Unity Package Manager
  • More platforms have access to an interface to leverage Unity’s XR rendering optimizations and developer tools

Unity has developed new XR plugins for our supported platforms as part of this shift. Additionally, we have deprecated our built-in platform implementations in 2019.3.

With the move to a plugin architecture future support for OpenXR will be handled by Valve in the future.  From version 2019.3 onward, GearVR, Daydream and Vuforia will no longer be supported, forcing you to use the Unity 2018 LTS release if you wish to support those platforms.  Additionally Google Cardboard support is ultimately going to be provided by this Google open source project.

In comments there was further details about VR/AR support improvements in the Unity 2019.3:

Hi Felix, Unity’s 2019.3 release is coming soon, and there are new features in XR that will roll out in that update. In 2019.3, we have enabled Vulkan for Oculus Quest, using multiview fixed foveated rendering (FFR). Additionally, the Universal Rendering Pipeline (URP) and High-Definition Rendering Pipeline (HDRP) are both supported in our XR SDK, and will continue to be supported. Lastly, our new XR Plugins are compatible with the new input system. That means if you add the Magic Leap XR Plugin and Input System packages, for example, you will get the controller layouts for Magic Leap devices.

You can learn more about the changes in the video below.

GameDev News


16. December 2019


A-Frame is a 3D entity component system built over top of the open source Three.js 3D rendering framework that aims to provide an easy way to create VR and AR experiences that run in the browser.  A-Frame just released version 1.0.0 with the following features (from the release notes on GitHub):

Major Changes

A-Frame is an open source MIT licensed project available here on GitHub.  You can learn more about A-Frame in the video below.

GameDev News


6. December 2019


Adobe announced today that they have acquired Oculus Medium, a VR based content creation tool developed at Facebook’s Oculus division.

Details from the Adobe announcement:

Today, I am thrilled to welcome the amazing Medium team to the Adobe family. Born as an innovative VR authoring tool at Facebook’s Oculus division, the Medium team and technology are an exciting addition to Adobe as we aim to meaningfully accelerate our 3D and immersive efforts.

Medium has been a beacon of creativity in the VR space, pushing creative and technical boundaries of 3D modeling. The creative tool enables users to sculpt, model and paint in an immersive environment – to easily create characters, objects, environments, expressive works of art and more. The integration of Medium’s tools and technology will greatly contribute to our 3D and immersive strategy.

Medium also have a blog post about the acquisition, with details of how existing customers will be impacted:

To our passionate Medium users, nothing is changing for you today. And the app is currently still free when you activate your new Oculus Touch controllers on the Oculus Store. Stay tuned for more features, improvements, and other developments coming from Adobe in 2020 as Medium continues to evolve.

If you wish to learn more about the acquisition, be sure to check out the video below.

GameDev News


14. November 2019


Two completely unrelated stories (beyond the Oculus commonality) in one today.  First, Unity and Oculus have teamed up to launch an 11 part, 20+ hour course on all aspects of creating a VR game using the Unity game engine with the Oculus Rift SDK and hardware.

Details from the Unity blog:

We’ve partnered with Oculus, to launch an extensive intermediate level course guiding you through all aspects of building a virtual reality (VR) game. As the VR industry continues to grow and mature, developers are asking more questions about making the switch to VR, and developers who already work in VR want to improve their skills. That’s why we teamed up with the experts at Oculus to build this comprehensive VR course, “Design, Develop, and Deploy for VR.

In more than 20 hours of hands-on course content, you’ll learn about programming, user experience (UX) considerations for VR, optimization, launching your game and more. Twelve experts from Oculus and Unity give you in-depth lessons to help you build your own vertical slice (think, level of a game) of an escape room game. Plus, after you complete the course, you can submit your vertical slice for feedback from Oculus.

Even though this course is centered around creating a game, the principles and learnings apply to almost any type of VR content, whether you’re building practical business applications or immersive experiences as art or entertainment. You’ll find this course useful even if your interests go beyond making a game. 

The course is hosted on the Unity Learn platform.  You can learn more about Unity learn here.

In additional Oculus news, John Carmack (of id fame) has announced he is stepping down as CIO of Oculus.  His announcement came via Facebook post, excerpt below:

Starting this week, I’m moving to a "Consulting CTO” position with Oculus.

I will still have a voice in the development work, but it will only be consuming a modest slice of my time.

As for what I am going to be doing with the rest of my time: When I think back over everything I have done across games, aerospace, and VR, I have always felt that I had at least a vague “line of sight” to the solutions, even if they were unconventional or unproven. I have sometimes wondered how I would fare with a problem where the solution really isn’t in sight. I decided that I should give it a try before I get too old.

I’m going to work on artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Thankfully John is leaving Facebook before working on artificial intelligence!  You can learn more about both announcements in the video below.

GameDev News


30. October 2019


Humble are running a new bundle of interest to game developers, the Humble Learn and Play VR-AR Game Dev Bundle.  This is a collection of courses by Zenva on the topics of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality development using the Unity game engine.  Additionally it contains several VR games as well, each redeemed on Steam.

As always the bundle is broken into tiers, this bundle’s tiers are:

1$

  • Intro to Augmented Realitry
  • Intro to Game Development with Unity
  • Create Your First 3D Game with Unity
  • VR Game Development for Beginners
  • VR Game Development with Controllers
  • Insect Revolution VR

11$

  • AR Projects – Job Training App
  • AR Projects – Geology App
  • VR Pointers – Space Station App
  • VR Projects – Night with Mosquitos Game
  • VR Projects – Space Invaders
  • Intro to ARKit
  • Intro to ARCore
  • AR Projects Science App For Kids

20$

  • Project Based Oculus Avatars and Platform SDK
  • VR Projects 360 Photos Experience
  • VR Projects 360 Video Quiz App
  • VR Projects Puzzle Game
  • VR Projects Fitness Game
  • VR Projects Cabin Experience
  • VR Projects Third Person Platformer Game
  • VR Projects Underwater Shark Experience
  • VR Projects First Person Shooter
  • VR Projects Build an RPG
  • AR Game Development Space Shooter
  • VR Projects Exploration Game
  • Stunt Kite Masters VR
  • Devil and the Fairy

As with all Humble bundles, you can decide how your money is allocated, between the Publisher, Humble, Charity or if you choose (and thanks if you do!) GameFromScratch by using this link.  You can learn more about this bundle in the video below.

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