Mobile app development has come a long way in recent years, especially with the integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. These technologies have the potential to create and offer truly immersive experiences for users and can be used in a variety of different industries, from gaming and entertainment to healthcare and education.
Flutter is among the most sought-after mobile app development frameworks, and by combining Unity with Flutter, truly incredible AR/VR experiences can be created.
In this blog post, we’ll explore using AR/VR in Flutter, the advantages of combining Flutter with Unity, and how this combination can be a game-changer in mobile app development.
Top AR/VR frameworks for development with Flutter
There are several frameworks available that you can use to build AR/VR mobile apps in Flutter. Here are the top choices for now:
- Google’s AR technology, known as ARCore, is made accessible to developers through the ARCore Flutter Plugin, which enables the integration of ARCore capabilities into Flutter applications. It provides support for ARCore features such as motion tracking, plane detection, and light estimation.
- ARKit is Apple’s AR development platform that provides tools and APIs to build AR apps for iOS devices. It offers features such as motion tracking, plane detection, and light estimation and supports devices running on iOS 11 and higher.
- Unity Engine for Cross-platform (iOS, Android, Web) is a game engine that provides extensive VR/AR app development support. The Unity Flutter Plugin allows developers to integrate Unity functionality into their Flutter apps. Moreover, it supports various VR/AR platforms, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Daydream, and Samsung Gear VR. The most popular SDKs for Unity are Vuforia, AR Foundation, ArCore, and ArKit.
But what’s the catch? Will Flutter Developers be able to implement any AR project? What kind of capacity does your team have? Isn’t it worth hiring an additional AR/VR specialist to design challenging animations?
Who is Flutter’s combination with Unity for?
It’s worth noting that not every application that uses Unity has to be a game. In cases where a product consists mainly of a traditional app with just one element that requires AR/VR or other graphically intensive animations, it may be more practical to use Flutter to create the app and only incorporate Unity when necessary. This allows each engineer on the team to focus on the tasks where they have the most expertise. The Flutter developer can design the app and connect it to the backend, while the Unity developer can focus on the AR/VR functionality.
From a development perspective, combining Flutter with Unity provides several benefits. Flutter is known for its speed, flexibility, and ease of use, while Unity is a powerful game engine that provides support for 3D rendering, physics simulation, and animation. This combination allows developers to create high-quality AR/VR experiences that run smoothly on mobile devices while providing the flexibility and ease of use of Flutter.
Flutter, combined with Unity, is ideal for:
- Mobile app developers that are looking to create high-quality, interactive AR/VR experiences.
- Startups and enterprises that are seeking a flexible and scalable solution for their AR/VR needs.
Unity possibilities beyond other AR frameworks for Flutter
Unity offers a number of capabilities that go beyond what is available with ARCore when it comes to AR/VR development. Some of the key differences include:
- 3D rendering: Unity provides more advanced 3D rendering capabilities than ARCore, which can be important for creating complex and visually stunning AR experiences. This includes support for lighting, shadows, reflections, and other advanced rendering techniques.
- Physics simulation: Unity offers more advanced capabilities compared to ARCore. This can be significant in creating realistic interactions between objects within the AR environment. Examples of these features include support for rigid body dynamics, collision detection, and more.
- Animation: Unity provides a more robust animation system than ARCore, making it essential when developing complex animations and visual effects for AR experiences. This compromises support for keyframe animation, blend trees, and more.
- Cross-platform support: While ARCore primarily focuses on Android devices, Unity provides cross-platform support for a wide range of devices and platforms, including iOS, Android, Windows, and more
- Plugins and assets: Unity provides a wide range of plugins and assets that can be used to enhance AR/VR experiences, including support for 3D models, sound effects, and more.
Overall, while ARCore provides a solid foundation for AR development on Android devices, Unity delivers more advanced capabilities for creating immersive and engaging AR experiences. This is especially important for businesses and developers looking to create high-quality AR/VR experiences that stand out from the competition.
Multiplatform alternative for WebAR
Using AR through a web browser has numerous practical applications, such as retail, education, marketing, real estate and entertainment. It provides users with a more engaging and interactive experience, allowing them to explore 3D models or interact with virtual objects using their webcam.
Unity and Flutter provide different options for creating AR projects that can be seamlessly integrated into a website. These alternatives offer specific WebAR solutions and the added flexibility of being able to use the same app across Android, iOS, and Windows. Additionally, this approach eliminates the need for recurring monthly WebAR licences.
How can AR/VR be integrated into mobile apps using Flutter and Unity?
Integrating AR/VR into mobile apps using Flutter and Unity is relatively straightforward. Developers can use Unity to create the AR/VR experience and incorporate it into their Flutter app using plugins and APIs. Not only does this allows the app to take advantage of all the features of Unity, but it still provides all of the flexibility and ease of use of Flutter.
In practice, there are several steps that Flutter developers must follow to become effective when working with Unity. If you’re curious about what you need to know before applying these technologies, we recommend reading this article.
With the ability to create fully native AR/VR experiences, support for 3D rendering and animation, and a large community of developers and resources, Flutter and Unity offer a powerful combination for developers looking to create the next generation of mobile apps. When planning to develop your product, you’re bound to encounter many doubts about what technology to choose and how big your development team will be. That’s why combining Flutter with Unity can be a game-changer, allowing you to distribute the work to your development team in the most optimal way. Keep in mind that if your goals are very simple AR/VR features, you can still do it with Flutter and ARCore or ARKit.