Sylvio Drouin is the Executive Vice President of Unity Labs, which for the past year has been doing advanced research into VR authoring tools both for developers and consumers as well as graphic research. I caught up with Sylvio at Unity’s VR/AR Vision Summit where we talked about their some of their research projects including: VR authoring tools within VR, Project Carte Blanche to bring authoring tools to consumers, integrating motion capture and facial capture technology into Unity, and the future of smart assets that use AI and machine learning.
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A big theme that Unity Labs is working on is to make the assets smarter to eventually have more intent-based development that’s controlled with voice input. The smarter that the assets become, then the more streamlined and user-friendly the VR authoring tools can be. So the 3D assets are going to have more metadata integrated as well as eventually have more sophisticated integration of AI, deep learning and machine learning that enables intent-based content creation with a very simple and minimal UI.
Unity announced at the Vision Summit that they have 5 million registered developers, and they’re hoping to expand their content creation tools into the wider consumer market in 2017 with their Carte Blanche project. They’re planning on leveraging the Unity Asset store to allow an even larger demographic of VR users to create content without having to write any code.
Sylvio also talked about some of the new storytelling tools that they’re integrating that will allow people to create timeline sequences that are similar to film editing software. Enabling people to tell their stories with VR technology is something that has been motivating Sylvio for a long time, and so you can expect to see a lot more tools for capturing human performances in VR using webcams, Kinects, VR input devices, and other hardware input solutions yet to be announced.
It’s still an open question as to whether the metaverse will develop starting with a closed, walled garden with by apps or be more open and interconnected like the Internet. Sylvio’s suspicion is that it’ll likely eventually be an open and interconnected world that is more similar to the Internet than the fragmented game console market, but that either way Unity will have a key role to play. Based on the fact that around 90% of the consumer VR experiences that have been released so far use Unity, then they’re in a really great position to continue to expand their reach from the existing developers into the wider consumer market starting sometime in 2017.
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