Opinions please, Blender in schools for VR development. Unity or Unreal?

Hi

In your opinion, If you had the chance to run a small intro course on VR development in a school for 15/16 year olds. Would you choose Unity or Unreal if using Blender for CAD development?

Which has the easiest integration with Blender?
Blueprints in UE or Scripting in Unity?
Which has the best free support or VR SDKs to get started quicker?
Which has the best Oculus support?
Which do you think is more fun to newcomers?

Thanks for your opinions.

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You won’t go wrong with either one. Blueprints are good for beginners. Unity3D is easier in general if you go middle level depth. Unreal has more robust framework for big (AAA tier) projects.

Unreal Datasmith seems better suited for CAD import. Also Unreal is more used in professional real time visualizations/scenes.

Neither one has an excellent integration with Blender.

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In my opinion, you should teach which ever software you have the most experience in.

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cool thing with unity is that you could drag’n’drop blender .blend files right into editor. It will be imported into a project. Then you could make changes to blender file and save - all changes automatically appear in unity.

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Yeah, I struggled with this one :slight_smile: although that would certainly make my life easier it may not be the best option for students starting out in VR development for the fist time. e.g. I am a veteran 3DS Max user (25+ years) and a 3 year Blender user, I have used both Unity and Unreal some years ago in a commercial environment but things change so fast in this industry with VR moving much quicker in this field, so what is good for me might be a bad choice for somebody else.
I am also an intermediate programmer which will help in Unity C# but my C++ is woeful so in UE it would have to be BP’s, which could be easier to grasp as Blender also uses node based graphs, especially if “everything nodes” is Blender’s next evolution.

Also have to consider licence fees, software support and training. That is the reason I have chosen Blender as the ease of support, access and fun factor in 2.8 is better than 3DS Max for an intro based course. The amount of tutorials appearing everyday on YouTube would really help those users interested in self learning.

So, some good points for Unity vs Unreal really. I think I may just have to do a rough course plan in both packages to get myself up to scratch and then decide which I think they will enjoy the most and concentrate on that path. That is part of the reason for this post.

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cool thing with unity is that you could drag’n’drop blender .blend files right into editor. It will be imported into a project.

That is a good point. If I remember correctly it runs Blender in a headless mode and exports as fbx when the file changes.

I think with UE’s eye candy and modern looking viewport’s it may generate more excitement. Especially as it was used to create Fortnite which these young teenagers will certainly know about. I remember years ago getting a 3DS Max full scene into UE was a real pain with pivot points all being at 0,0,0. I assume that is fixed these days. Thanks for your opinion.

D3 pixel I would not teach a vr class in blender unity or unreal vr i feel and this opinion may seem controversial but i feel VR is like looking for the holy grail …it promises a lot but only delivers motion sickness, the technology is just not there, my personal view is vr has to be headset free to get traction until then my suggestion is put the idea on the back-burner get the kids immersed in a different aspect of 3d

This may change in the near future. Unreal Engine is officially developing an addon for Blender, details are in this livestream:

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just watched the stream. This looks really great. Also the top comment on YT has links to other Blender to UE addons.

Here is the official forum post of it too: https://forums.unrealengine.com/unreal-engine/feedback-for-epic/1718116-upcoming-send-to-unreal-add-on-for-blender-feedback

Motion sickness is usually down to the individual or poor software design. Some are more susceptible to it than others so it is something to be aware of for sure. The technology available today is paving the way for tomorrow and like anything new is good to get in at the beginning and grow with it, improve it and be part of the evolution. Ultimately AR will be the successor but we need to get there and to get there we need more people involved.

VR can be amazing and will be huge for education in my opinion and that is why I am very keen on the subject.

e.g.

  • Ability to measure a students biomedical data as they do something e.g. Exactly where they look, how long they take, are they shaking, etc. Statistics like this could highlight medical issues that a normal classroom setting could not.

  • Transport a student to a place where there is no risk to them. e.g. underwater, in a volcano, standing on a pyramid, dismantling a car, walking around the titanic, etc. VR is an extremely immersive tool and because of that it makes for some really fun projects that are very memorable.

  • improve a students sport ability using life sized demonstration. e.g. how to swing a golf club. The software could advise you in real time to perfect your swing.

  • Creativity. In VR you can create things from nothing. Imagine a simple wood working studio that teaches you how to build a bench, a table or a chair. This is a product that is life sized that you can walk around, look under it and it feels like it is there. You can do that in VR with virtual resources before attempting it with real materials.

That is just a tiny portion of what I think it can bring. Even if the technology is still in its infancy I think it can offer a great deal of fun and immersive experience, so why not :slight_smile:

Hi D3 you make some valid points, progress has been made and still needs to be made to get the technology to that headless gear place, i just feel 15-16 year olds playing around with headsets is a waste of there time and possible talents …I am not a Luddite in fact i feel i am the opposite, I also believe that one day the technology will be mainstream that said and of course to spark interest in the classroom and of course the medium, if i was a teacher i would run a course exploring vr, ar and holographic technology but more of a primer, a week crash course sort of thing, but i would not run a headset driven one a augmented reality one perhaps but not a vr one so in summin up i respectively stand by my earlier post

May I ask which VR games/apps/headsets you tried to get to this conclusion?

If it really is a technology that is not good enough yet now but has lots of potential, wouldn’t young students be perfect so they are future proof?

Currently Unity has the better integration with Blender.
Scripting in Unity. Don’t teach a visual scripter, learning to code is a very good skill, transferrable across everything. Learning proprietary visual node scripting is stifling.

So with that said, I’d say Unity is better. Because C++ is harder than C#, from what I hear.

People are talking about drag and drop capabilities of .blends with Unity. it is not that great. There are still a lot of major problems and quirks with it. Better to learn how to properly use the FBX exporter.

It’s not that C++ is harder than C#, it’s more that Unreal C++ has poor documentation compared to Unity C#.

as far as I understand it, c# has memory management / garbage collection, which makes it easier, especially for beginners. C++ one has to manage the memory themself, which causes headaches, especially for someone who doesn’t knwo the difference between a value and a reference.

There is also a lot of “syntax sugar” in C# too. A Lot of things that just starting to appear in C++ last years and still unstable and less elegant. For example lambdas, events, functions as first class citizens and some other programming patterns already included in languages as ready to use constructions. It is all possible in C++ but need more code and less readable/elegant. Better organized code modules usage. Unity itself has powerful usage of C# properties.
Garbage collection is sure a big plus but in big projects it is more often a task how to avoid garbage collection or make it rare and controllable.

For game development garbage collection is a big minus because it always need to collect the garbage at some point, which causes frame time spikes.

Yep. It is always a trade. It is not a big problem if you could write code without generating garbage (o generate as few as possible). There are common practices for that (they also useful for c++ code too) like object pooling and so on. There are also some ways to control garbage collection - like invoke it manually in right moments where user won’t notice it.
That’s why Unity goes to DOTS now - it allows to write data oriented C# code for the parts which are have critical demands for the performance. It is compiled into highly vectorized memory layout with no garbage

If you were solely doing Virtual Reality, I would recommend Unreal Engine. Blueprints are easy to learn and when you install UE4, you get full access out of the box unlike Unity where the Free tier only gives you limited support.

However , if you are planning on releasing games, you will have to give Unreal money for every person you have working in your team. (I don’t remember how much it is, but you do have to pay per individual you have working on your game)

Because Unreal, Unity and Cry Engine have a type of payment method in place, I would recommend trying Armory 3D. It’s built especially for Blender and you can do realtime edits to meshes, shaders, etc without having to keep re-exporting obj or fbx files to and from two different programs.

Another huge plus of using Armory is that it is just like Blender. Open source, free to use for any purpose, and you do not have to pay royalties to use it. If you want to learn more, here’s Armory’s website

If you don’t plan on going with Armory, I would recommend Unreal because it’s not limited to a tier system like Unityl, however you will have to pay. I hope this helps and I wish you the best :slight_smile: