Augmented Reality (AR) involves a new set of design challenges compared to VRVirtual Reality More info
See in Glossary or traditional real-time 3D applications. By definition, an augmented reality app overlays its content on the real world around the user. To place an object in the real world, you must first determine where to place for it. For example, you may want to place a virtual painting on a physical wall. If you place a virtual potted plant, you may want it on a physical table or the floor. An AR app receives information about the world from the user’s device, such as the locations of planar surfaces, the detection of objects, people, faces, and so on; and must decide how to use this information to create a good experience for the user.
When you open a typical AR sceneA Scene contains the environments and menus of your game. Think of each unique Scene file as a unique level. In each Scene, you place your environments, obstacles, and decorations, essentially designing and building your game in pieces. More info
See in Glossary in Unity, you will not find many 3D objectsA 3D GameObject such as a cube, terrain or ragdoll. More info
See in Glossary in the scene or the Hierarchy view. Instead, most GameObjectsThe fundamental object in Unity scenes, which can represent characters, props, scenery, cameras, waypoints, and more. A GameObject’s functionality is defined by the Components attached to it. More info
See in Glossary in the scene define the settings and logic of the app. 3D content is typically created as prefabsAn asset type that allows you to store a GameObject complete with components and properties. The prefab acts as a template from which you can create new object instances in the scene. More info
See in Glossary that are added to the scene at runtime in response to AR-related events.
A typical AR scene in the Unity Editor
A basic AR scene contains the following GameObjects and components:
If you have the XR Interaction Toolkit installed, the XR Origin option for AR applications changes to XR Origin (AR), which adds GameObecjts for representing hand-held controllers and the toolkit components to interaction with objects in the scene.
Tip: Use the GameObject > XR menu to add these GameObjects and their associated components to a scene. (You can also open the menu by right-clicking in the Hierarchy window.)
In addition to these session GameObjects, you need the corresponding AR manager component for each type of AR feature that your application uses.
Refer to Set up an XR scene for an overview of how to set up any XR scene.
To build AR apps in unity, you can install the AR Foundation package along with the XR provider plug-insA set of code created outside of Unity that creates functionality in Unity. There are two kinds of plug-ins you can use in Unity: Managed plug-ins (managed .NET assemblies created with tools like Visual Studio) and Native plug-ins (platform-specific native code libraries). More info
See in Glossary for the devices you want to support. Unity provides additional packages, including Unity Mars and the XR Interaction Toolkit to make it easier and faster to develop AR experiences.
The AR provider plug-ins supported by Unity include:
Use the XR Plug-in Management system to add and enable one or more of these plug-ins. See XR Project set up for instructions.
Note: Depending on the platform or device, you might need to install additional packages to along with OpenXR. For example, to build an AR app for HoloLens 2, you must install the Microsoft’s Mixed Reality OpenXR Plugin.
The AR Foundation package supports AR development in Unity.
AR Foundation enables you to create multi-platform AR apps with Unity. In an AR Foundation project, you choose which AR features to enable by adding the corresponding manager components to your scene. When you build and run your app on an AR device, AR Foundation enables these features using the platform’s native AR SDK, so you can create once and deploy to the world’s leading AR platforms.
A device can be AR-capable without supporting all possible AR features. Available functionality depends on both the device platform and the capabilities of the specific device. For example, ARCore, Google’s AR platform for Android, does not currently support body tracking, so body tracking can’t be used when you build your app for the Android platform. Even on the same platform, capabilities can vary from device to device. For example, a specific device model might support AR through its world-facing camera, but not its user-facing camera.
For more information about AR Foundation, see the AR Foundation package documentation.
Unity Mars provides purpose-built authoring tools and better workflows for creating AR applications.
Unity Mars requires a compatible license. The Unity Pro, Unity Enterprise, and Unity Industrial Collection plans include Mars. You can also obtain a license for Unity Mars separately if you have a different plan. See Unity Mars for more information.
The Unity XR Interaction Toolkit provides tools for building both AR and VR interactions. The AR functionality provided by the XR Interaction Toolkit includes:
Unity’s AR Project Template provides a starting point for virtual realityVirtual Reality (VR) immerses users in an artificial 3D world of realistic images and sounds, using a headset and motion tracking. More info
See in Glossary development in Unity. The template configures project settingsA broad collection of settings which allow you to configure how Physics, Audio, Networking, Graphics, Input and many other areas of your project behave. More info
See in Glossary, pre-installs the right packages, and includes a sample scene with various pre-configured example assets to demonstrate how to set up a project that is ready for AR. Access the AR template through the Unity Hub when you create a new project. Refer to Create a new project for information about creating a project with the template.
For more information about the template assets and how the sample scene is set up, refer to About the AR Project Template.