NVIDIA announces Unity connector for Omniverse at GTC 2022

[Disclaimer: This article has been written as part of a paid collaboration with NVIDIA. It’s been written by me, on a topic I had an interest in, and trying to convey useful information to the community, so I hope you’ll like it]

A few weeks ago, while reading the news about SIGGRAPH, I saw NVIDIA teasing the release of the Omniverse connector for Unity, and as a Unity developer, I found it intriguing. I asked for the opportunity to have more info about it, and I had the pleasure to have a talk with Dane Johnston, Director of Omniverse Connect at NVIDIA, to ask for more details about it.

The article is a summary of the most interesting information that came from our chat… including the mind blowing moment when I realized that with this technology, people in Unity and Unreal Engine could work together on the same project :O

NVIDIA Omniverse

Omniverse is the collaborative and simulation tool by NVIDIA. I had some difficulties grasping what it does until some people at the company explained it to me in detail. Long story short, Omniverse is a system composed of three parts:

  • A central core, called Nucleuswhich holds the representation of a scene in USD format in the cloud and that cares about integrating all the distributed modifications in his common scene;
  • Some connectors, which are used by people working remotely on the scene. A connector connects a specific local application (eg Blender) to the Nucleus on the cloud, and sends to it the work that has been done in that application. There are connectors for many applications: people creating 3D models may use the connector for 3D Studio Max, while people working with materials, may use the one with Substance. Nucleus will take care of merging all the assets created by the various users using the various applications in a common scene;
  • Some NVIDIA modules, which can be run on top of Nucleus, to perform some operations on the scene. Eg you can have a module to perform a complex physics simulation on the scene that the team has shaped.

Omniverse lets people of a team collaborate remotely on the same scene: in this sense, it is a bit like Git, but for 3D scenes. And it also offers the possibility of running NVIDIA AI services (eg for digital twins) on the scene you created.

I know that Omniverse is mainly used for simulations, but I wondered if it could be useful for that as well small game studios to work together on a common Unity game. Dane told me that yes, it is a possible use: Omniverse is good both for enterprise applications and to make games.

Using Omniverse a 3D artist and a game designer could collaborate live on the same scene to create a level together, and then save everything when the level is complete. Since I work on creative projects with designers and artists that are remote, I can tell you that this would be a fantastic tool to work together, because the current workflow now doesn’t allow us to truly work on a scene at the same time.

NVIDIA is working with developers to try to understand how to evolve Omniverse to support them. For instance, Dane told me that some developers like to use Omniverse because it makes it easy to plug in the application NVIDIA AI services like audio to face (that creates facial expressions from a voice) for NPCs. Another feature the company is working on is offering a “packaging process” for the scenes created with Omniverse. This means that before you build your game, Omniverse “converts” the scene into the native format of your engine, so that the build process of the game can proceed exactly as if you did everything in Unity without using Omniverse at all.

An open system

The Unity connector for Omniverse has been announced at GTC 2022 and will be released in beta at the end of 2022. Be sure to follow Omniverse on Twitter to be informed when it gets released. NVIDIA warns that it is a beta, and it is looking for studios that are interested in using it and provide feedback not only about the bugs but also about what are the features that software companies need from it.

And if you try it, please let me know what you think about it! I’m very curious to hear the opinion of gaming professionals about using Omniverse for working with their peers

A final word…

This post is part of a promotion for the GTC 2022 event, which will be held on September 19-22.

If you register for it using my unique code, you will participate in a raffle to win an RTX3080 Ti! To do that, you have to go through the following procedure:

Step-1: Register for NVIDIA GTC using this link: https://www.nvidia.com/gtc/?ncid=ref-crea-201724. To qualify, registrants need to be residents in the EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, or Africa).

Step-2: Attend GTC sessions, there is even one about VR in Omniverse that you can watch here. NOTE: Prizes will be awarded only to those who register for GTC using the link above and attend at least one session.

Step-3: Wait and hope to win a graphics card!

Good luck 😉

(Header image by NVIDIA)

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