With the release of AR and VR hardware like the Oculus Rift, HTC VIVE, Microsoft Hololens…. there is a growing interest in the business world into Unity 3D as the software platform for these types of solutions.
So this year my colleague Tom and I went to the Unity Unite event. It is a developer conference that Unity organizes each year all over the world where the show latest and greatest improvements, features, … that they have released or going to release.
In this blog post, we want to share the things we learning and our experience at the conference.

A general overview of the entire conference

The conference itself took place from the 19th to 21st of June in Berlin at the ‘station-berlin’. Quite a large venue but a necessity as each day was fully packed with one-hour sessions, spread out over 4 -5 breakout rooms.

The first day consisted of a training given by 2 evangelists, Mike Geig and Andy Touch and with some help of their team. The day ended with a keynote which was kicked off by the CEO John Riccitiello, they also invited a special guest, who had a special announcement (small teaser…. It was related to prefabs).

And then 2 days packed full of interesting sessions started. The topics went from the Unity roadmap, the new and improved prefab workflow, Unity Hub, maximizing performance on Oculus Go, Particle system updates, ECS, C# job system, Several session related about Mobile/ Handheld AR, creating the best AR experiences, optimizing AR, extend battery life and avoid overheating and many more.

The workshop

So our first day was filled with a workshop, and I truly mean a hands-on workshop following the trainers. The people from Pixel Regin studios provided assets from there game “robbie swifthand”.

using theses materials we touched topics like tilemaps which we used to construct the 2D level. A tilemap allows you to quickly create 2D levels using tiles and a grid overlay. Then we had look at the player, how to react to the environment like wall grab, movement and jumping. We used cinemachine to keep the camera focused and add effect when adding lights and Visual FX like camera shake. We ended with adding concepts like winning and losing.

The keynote

During the keynote, they made several announcements like project Mars, AR facial performance for animation, kinematica, small runtime, connected games, new prefab workflows. But we will talk more about this in a separate blog post as there is much to talk about.

The sessions

If we look at the sessions, there were a lot of them that focused on handheld AR and Mobile VR and how to get the best experience out of it. The session about the roadmap was very interesting.

Another session about ‘Mobile VR, Programming, rendering’ by Dan Miller showed us how the develop VR for standalone mobile VR headsets like the Oculus Go and 3-DOF (degree of freedom) controllers. The session called ‘Optimizing AR: extend battery life and avoid overheating’ by Adam Smith focused on 2 of the biggest hurdles for handheld AR development which are device overheating and drained batteries.

Andrew Bowell and Arisa Scott gave us a view of the roadmap of 2018 that Unity will following which showed a lot of promising things to look for in the near future. And last be not least, we also went to a session given by Yoon Park, who showed of the latest building blocks in Mixed reality toolkit for Unity (MRTK)

The verdict

The event itself was a great way to get up-to-date with the latest and greatest news about Unity. And we went home with a lot things that peaked our interest and we want to take a closer look into.

Who knows…. You might find us next year at the event again.

Stijn is a Software Engineer and Competence Lead INNOVATION at Ordina Belgium. As a Competence Lead, he is passionate about technologies like VR/AR/Mixed reality and Microsoft Cognitive service, .NET, chatbots, IOT, technologies that improve the user experience in a new and modern way.

Tom is a .NET Software Engineer at Ordina Belgium, specialized in web technologies. Tom is passionate about all things .NET related and loves to learn new things. Software architecture, Unity Development, machine learning, Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things are some of the things that excite him the most.