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Unity/Qualcomm pipeline restrictions

August 31, 2011 - 10:15pm #1

Hello all, I’m a cg supervisor working for a start-up company that produces AR experiences, and we have recently decided to switch to the Qualcomm AR SDK.

We’re looking at producing iOS and Android scenarios via the Qualcomm Unity plug-in, and I wanted to know if anyone could answer some questions and shed some light on restrictions/pipeline from Maya to Unity to the Qualcomm SDK. I have searched through the forums and found many answers already, so I’m doing my best to ask for anyone to fill in the grey area I have not been able to; I really appreciate any and all advice and direction.

We have been in contact with Qualcomm, and were told that the AR SDK allows the artists to employ any of Unity Pros features, but it seems unlikely there are no restrictions and we’re looking for more details on this.

First, the team we will be employing has Unity Pro, and from my understanding they will not need the iOS Pro or Android Pro Unity extensions to work with the Qualcomm AR SDK, the standard add-ons will work; Is this correct? Also, would we be able to build both iOS and Android apps out of the same Unity scene with the same app features and functionality?

Secondly, is there a significant benefit offered or ability to create a more ‘rich’ AR experience using the Pro add-ons, rather than the standard add-ons? We have a decent understanding of the differences in features between Unity Pro and Unity Standard, but not the add-ons.

Would we be able to employ features for a mobile AR app such as Unity’s ambient occlusion, standard shadows (or blob shadows), displacement mapping, particles w/dynamics, and glows into the AR scenario? These are the specific features we are looking to implement in our current project.

We are working out of Maya, and have a couple questions regarding optimal performance; for mobile, what is considered an ‘optimal’ poly count, something that would not cause hang-ups in the app? I believe the only answer I could find on this was “18k might run a bit choppy, but 12K will run more smoothly”. This might be the best answer I can get, but we’re just looking for something a little more definitive on this.

Lastly, what FPS for mobile should we be working out of in Maya? Should we just work at a standard 24 FPS? The last AR software we were using required us to export our Maya data at 15 FPS for mobile, not sure if the SDK or Unity will need specific FPS set before export.

Thanks everyone so much for your support!

Best regards! :)

Re: Unity/Qualcomm pipeline restrictions

September 1, 2011 - 7:24pm #4
Quote:

Secondly, is there a significant benefit offered or ability to create a more ‘rich’ AR experience using the Pro add-ons, rather than the standard add-ons?

Take a look at the license comparison provided by Unity. There are some major advantages to using Unity Pro and Pro licenses for iOS and Android.

http://unity3d.com/unity/licenses

Specifically features like asset bundle loading, video streaming and playback, and rendering to textures, are valuable for richer experiences. Also occlusion culling and Glow are Pro-only features.

As a rule of thumb, features that are exclusive to Unity Pro are only found in the Pro licenses of iOS and Android as well.

Re: Unity/Qualcomm pipeline restrictions

September 1, 2011 - 10:58am #3

Kim,

Thanks so much for answering all my questions! On the FPS export, we will check with our Unity team in regards to frame interpolation, but this is a great head start for us.:)

Thanks again, and I will most likely have more questions in the near future.

Jeff

Re: Unity/Qualcomm pipeline restrictions

September 1, 2011 - 9:01am #2
Quote:

the standard add-ons will work; Is this correct?

That's correct, no Pro license is required, either for Unity or for the mobile add ons.

Quote:

would we be able to build both iOS and Android apps out of the same Unity scene with the same app features and functionality?

This is a little tricky right now as the two extensions aren't in line, but they will be in the future (iOS is still in beta). For now, you should be able to combine the two extensions into a single project by importing the Android one first, followed by the iOS one.

Quote:

Secondly, is there a significant benefit offered or ability to create a more ‘rich’ AR experience using the Pro add-ons, rather than the standard add-ons?

To be quite honest we haven't tried pushing the bar with the effects available in Pro. We'd be very interested in your feedback, however!

Quote:

Would we be able to employ features for a mobile AR app such as Unity’s ambient occlusion, standard shadows (or blob shadows), displacement mapping, particles w/dynamics, and glows into the AR scenario?

Many of these effects should work, but we can't guarantee it at the moment. Currently, our video background is rendered outside the Unity pipeline, so any effects that take the camera image into account may not work as expected. We are hard at work improving this for future versions.

Quote:

for mobile, what is considered an ‘optimal’ poly count

Unfortunately this is completely device dependent. Some devices will have trouble with 15k polys, while others can render 60k without a hiccup. I suggest choosing your low-end target hardware and making sure the performance is acceptable.

Quote:

what FPS for mobile should we be working out of in Maya?

This will depend on the final fps of your application. QCAR apps can run at 30 fps on many devices, but once you add a lot of content and effects you may drop below this. I'm not sure that this matters for character animations however, doesn't Unity interpolate the frames?

- Kim

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