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03 Jun 2021

Unity 2021 & Unreal Engine 5 Bringing Next Gen Visual Fidelity to AR and VR

Building a truly immersive experience requires both skill and expertise, it however also relies heavily on the capabilities of the cross-platform software engines. Both Unity and Unreal Engine have been on the software market for over a decade, constantly expanding their fidelity, performance and capabilities. Even though both engines were originally created as games development tools, they have gradually extended their capabilities to become commonly used platforms for Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) creation as well. 

Both engines have grown extensively popular when it comes to immersive experiences, allowing developers to build a vast variety of virtual environments using 2D and 3D. The major advantage of these two engines lies in their capability to be integrated into a variety of operations systems. They allow development of both low and high complexity projects, making immersive experiences creation quicker and easier with the availability of asset stores - Unity Asset Store & UE Marketplace. If starting to work on developing AR or VR experiences on either of the two sounds too complex, there is a growing number of educational resources available. Their sizable popularity has brought thousands of educational courses on resources like Udemy that allow developers to expand their knowledge and learn how to get started. 

Back in August 2020, Unity Technologies shared their exciting new vision of a roadmap to the next gen platform - Unity 2021.1, with the actual kickoff of the beta in January 2021.  Since then Unity has announced the availability of Unity 2020 LTS and Unity 2021.1 Tech Stream. The new versions are aimed at improving visual fidelity as well as productivity and stability, offering several new features. Both versions incorporate workflow improvements that allow users to create stunning visuals for more realistic AR and VR experiences. The updated versions offer enhanced coding experiences, with advancements to testing, building and profiling. Both versions promise to deliver features that are aimed at smoother AR and VR creation to help developers realize their ideas and vision. Unity 2020 LTS and Unity 2021.1 Tech Stream continues to improve graphics, workflow and usability as well as aims to increase productivity throughout the entire development life cycle. With all enhanced features allowing to create high fidelity 2D and 3D immersive experiences.  

Today, we are equally excited to see the latest news on the Early Access Availability of Unreal Engine 5, which was announced on May 26, 2021. Even though this version is released predominantly for the game developers, it is planned to be launched for content creators of all industries. The Early Access users can now get their hands on a number of stunning new features. Nanite, the system that enables creators to integrate a vast amount of high-fidelity geometric details without losing the quality of the source. Lumen, the next gen illumination tool that allows to adapt lighting on the go while changing the angle or geometry of the object or scene. The new version of the Unreal Engine promises to deliver a new approach to the Open Worlds creation, expansion of the Animation toolset, the new sound creation and management system, the MetaSound and last but not least the new UI look.

It is yet too early to compare the updated version of the two engines in terms of immersive experiences creation. What is evident now, is the rapidly accelerating fidelity improvements which is combined with delivering convenient, flexible and easily manageable tools. All of the advancements in the software engines without doubt will help move the quality of AR and VR experiences to the new levels, allowing to advance the visual and immersive content creation.