Why Create a Mobile Application in Unity?
Unity is a game engine that combines an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) and a set of tools and services in a single software package.
People often think that this technology is only for video games, but it can be used to create 2D or 3D experiences for various platforms, including mobile. The term “experience” is important here and encompasses applications, video games, virtual and augmented reality, and animation, among others.
A wide range of sectors have adopted Unity, including video games, architecture, industry, healthcare, and even cinema.
The Benefits of Unity
Unity, an Easy Tool to Master
The tool’s simplicity is immediately apparent on installation and the creation of a new project from the Unity Hub. You can use this launcher to install your preferred Unity version and plugins. You can also create a project by selecting one of several templates.
Unity’s development environment (IDE) is extremely simple to learn. Even inexperienced users can achieve results quickly. Scene view lets you instantly view the contents of your experience and change it or the properties of the objects included in it via an inspector.
Creating scripts with the C# language and part of the .NET framework also contributes to the technology’s simplicity.
Finally, with Unity, Play Mode allows you to test your production directly from the IDE, independently from the target platform.
Unity Rapid Prototyping
Unity provides an impressive number of bricks and tools in its IDE and through its Asset Store to help you quickly create a viable prototype to illustrate a concept, idea, or situation.
The Asset Store contains resources such as 2D, 3D, and sound models, but also scripts, plugins, and extensions developed by the community or Unity. This means you can speed up your development by avoiding the need to develop certain components yourself.
The visual scripting tools provided in the software can save you time depending on your situation and team profile. You can even create an experience without using any visual code.
Unity: a Multi-Platform Technology
Unity allows you to target a wide range of platforms, including:
- Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Google consoles
- Windows, Linux, or macOS desktops
- AR/VR/MR headsets such as HoloLens, Magic Leap, or Oculus
- The web
- Finally, mobile with iOS and Android
It is not uncommon for Unity applications to target multiple platforms at the same time because it is easy to support several platforms most of the time.
An Extensible Solution
Unity is designed to be extensible. Creating plugins and extensions for its IDE is fairly simple. The Asset Store also contains many free extensions. These extensions, plugins, templates, and assets are managed from the Package Manager.
Unity plugins are also available from many well-known publishers. These include Vuforia, Firebase, Azure PlayFab, and even Microsoft App Center.
Another option is the rendering engine extension. Although the readily available ones are quite comprehensive, you can also create your own rendering pipeline.
Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, and Mixed Reality (AR/VR/MR)
Unity focuses on the augmented or virtual reality experience by providing compatibility with ARKit and ARCore and enabling support for numerous devices. Its ease of use and available tools make it an ideal platform for creating this type of application.
These tools include:
- ARFoundation, which provides an interface for the multi-platform management of features within this type of application, such as anchors, face tracking, or surface tracking.
- XR Interaction Toolkit, which lets you add interactions within an AR/VR app without writing any code.
- Mars Unity, which provides developers with an environment that makes creating augmented reality applications even easier. For example, the solution’s production tools and flows enable you to test an AR application without deploying it from the editor directly.
- Players such as Vuforia offer their own augmented reality solutions for Unity.
A Service Package
Unity also provides a teamwork, productivity, analysis, hosting, or support service package. This includes the services listed below:
- Unity Build Server, which provides a Build pipeline for all the target platforms
- Cloud Content Delivery, which is a content delivery network (CDN)
- Cloud Diagnostics, which allows you to centralize information about bugs, crashes, and errors within the application
- Remote Config, which allows you to update the application content remotely
- Analytics helps you learn more about your users
- Plastic SCM, a version management tool designed for versioning applications that include both code and graphic design elements
What Are the Disadvantages of Unity?
Despite this technology’s many benefits, Unity does have some shortcomings to consider.
Everything Is Simple
The fact that Unity is easy to learn and use, combined with its powerful engine, makes it the perfect tool for beginners and the inexperienced who want to achieve visually pleasing results quickly. This frequently results in poorly structured projects with questionable performance, leading to considerable technical debt.
There are best practices, and calling upon architects and lead techs, as in any other project, is vital for any applications you intend to publish, as in any other project. The same is true for your brand image.
⚠️ Don’t just do anything!
The License Model
A Unity license model could be considered a disadvantage. There is, in fact, a free license. This requires the addition of a “made with Unity” splash screen. A company would need to consider purchasing a Pro license for each developer and per year to remove this screen. However, in some cases, the license cost will be offset by the speed with which you can create an application by using Unity.
Cellenza’s Recommendations for Using Unity
You can create almost anything with Unity, from mobile applications to augmented reality (AR) experiences. Its ease of use and the power of its engine make it the ideal tool for a variety of situations. Having said that, it is not the right technology for all project types.
Beyond video games, we recommend Unity for 3D experiences and augmented reality experiences in particular.
Reasons for choosing this tool will also depend on team size and experience. A small inexperienced team with tight deadlines will undoubtedly be interested in using this solution. The many tools and plugins available will help them save time without comprehensive technical know-how.
Unity Use Cases
Unity has numerous possible uses.
Unity’s first common use case is creating a virtual visit, either on mobile directly or on a virtual reality device.
Another use case to consider is using Unity in any project aimed at increasing human capabilities within an augmented reality device: for example, path lookup in a warehouse or the real-time display of the fact sheet/preview for a product in a box.
Finally, consider developing customization tools (product or area customization). The rendering engine allows you to make projections and changes to the area or object without going through production. It also gives you the option of sharing this content with clients or partners.
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