Optim is a tool designed to make Unreal Engine more user-friendly for enterprise use-cases like design, visualization, and review. The latest version allows businesses to easily turn their projects into collaborative apps, allowing multiple parties to remotely step into the scene with expected features like voice chat, locomotion, and avatars.
While Unreal Engine is a popular game engine, the tool is also increasingly being used for things like architecture, visualization, training, planning, and even filmmaking.
Optim is a tool from Theia Interactive which is designed to simplify Unreal Engine for non-developers, making it easier for business without game development expertise to use the engine for these non-game development use-cases. Theia received an Unreal Dev Grant in 2018 for its work on Optim.
Released earlier this month, Optim 1.2 take an inverse approach to some other enterprise-focused VR collaboration tools. While most expect users to import data into some other app, Optim 1.2 allows users to simply turn their existing Unreal Engine projects into multiplayer apps which can be joined remotely via VR and desktop.
After preparing an Unreal Engine project, the user can package it as an app and send it to any participant who can launch it without installing any other tools. From there, the app is set up to automatically connect with other users, anywhere else on the internet, that are running the app at the same time.
Participants can join via desktop or VR headsets; once connected, users have expected ‘game’ capabilities (like movement and voice chat), which is pre-configured by Optim. The tool automatically includes fully-featured avatars and some useful extras like a whiteboard & pen, a laser pointer, and a virtual camera for saving photos.
Beyond just adding a set of pre-built collaboration features, Optim also offers pre-made environments like showrooms and office spaces to dress up the presentation with little additional work.
Unreal Engine actually already includes a ‘Collab Viewer Template‘ with similar capabilities, but Theia says that Optim streamlines the process for non-developers. This includes dynamic networking—which means hosts and participants don’t need to play with firewalls, IP addresses, or ports—as well as latency compensation and voice chat.
The new collaboration functionality in Optim 1.2 is part of the tool’s broader set of features which are designed to help enterprises easily navigate Unreal Engine and optimize their existing models and content to be able to run in real-time.
“Built to sit on top of Unreal Engine’s viewport, the [Optim] Toolkit has a sleek, easy-to-use UI that brings essential functionality out from the depths of extra windows and details panels. It provides a myriad of time-saving features, like clustered merging, batch LODs, simplified lightmap settings, and even a lightbuild scheduler,” Theia explains.
Optim uses a subscription model which starts at $ 12 per month (less if paid annually), though the ‘Multi-user Collaborative Template’ tier with the collaboration features starts at $ 90 per month (less if paid annually).
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Read more here: Road to VR