The Unity Technologies' Unite develop conference is happening in Los Angeles this week, and to kick things off, Unity has announced it'll be debuting an open-beta of its virtual reality game developer tool EditorVR this December.
The big news? Unity say EditorVR will be open-source, making it perhaps the biggest tool to be open-sourced since the open-source initiative that Unity began in 2014. The aim here though isn't a commitment to the ideals of open source development and a more open web, but to getting developers on board to help accelerate development on the project.
“At launch, the build will be completely open-source and feature an open API to easily expand, adapt and customize tooling to suit individual needs,” Unity CMO Clive Downie told Gamasutra in an interview. “This is kind of an unprecedented first for Unity, in terms of our ability to offer open API and a level of open-source to our toolset so that our customers can build this tool with us and get the most out of it from day one.”
It's a big deal for Unity to open-source their software and try to get VR developers and hobbyists into their VR editor without giving them a negative experience because Unity is one of the major players in virtual reality - there's not a mass of competition in the VR development engine space right now, with Epic's Unreal Engine being one of the only competitors in the field at the time of writing.
This developer conference is something of a turning point for Unity, and for its VR development ambitions - now that virtual reality really exists it's interesting to see that Unity are moving away from being "pioneers" and aiming instead to get developers and content creators to make fully fleshed out experiences using the editor, instead of the tech demos and concept pieces that made up so much of last years VR output.