VR development: Unity explainer 5 of 8

Let's make objects grabbable in VR!

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Edit a 3d object to interact with it in VR


Name of explainer: Edit a 3d object to interact with it in VR

Creative theme: VR development

Software used: Unity


This is explainer 5 of 8 in this series

This series includes:

  1. Install the Unity hub and Unity LTS
  2. Download Oculus integration, create a new Unity project and set it up for VR
  3. Install VRIF and send a VR scene to a Quest 2 headset
  4. Import a low poly city scene and add a VR camera rig
  5. Edit a 3d object to interact with it in VR
  6. Import and set up animated people to populate the city
  7. Animate a police car to race around the city streets
  8. Add a soundtrack and attach sounds to individual objects

The Software

This series of explainers uses Unity, one of the most popular real-time 3d development environments. It’s used by millions of creators to develop games, create animations and visualisations and even produce short movies. Need inspiration? Check out their showcase.

Unity personal edition is completely free. If you start to make money commercially from your Unity creations you’ll need to upgrade to a paid professional license.

Over the course of eight explainers we’re using Unity and various free and paid assets from the Unity asset store to test a workflow from Unity to a Meta Quest 2 headset, send a city scene to the headset and add objects we can interact with. We go on to add animated people and a speeding police car! Finally, we import an ambient soundtrack and attach sounds to specific objects.

Our city at the end of this series

This is how our city looks at the end of this series. Remember the environment is designed to be experienced in a VR headset and not viewed as a ‘flat’ video!

The pre-requisities

This is an INTERMEDIATE workflow explainer series. We’re starting from scratch so don’t worry if you’ve never used Unity, but you’ll find this series easier to follow if you have basic knowledge of the Unity interface and how to navigate a 3d scene.

If you’re new to IT / computing, this workflow series is not likely to be suitable. To get started with 3d software in a beginner-friendly environment, we recommend the free Tinkercad. See makeuseof for a helpful overview of 3d design and the specialisms available to you.

Why would I do this?

Walking around a VR city is fun, but apart from bumping into cars and street furniture our character can’t interact with anything! The city demo scene we’re using includes lots of ‘props’ including fire hydrants, post boxes and cars/vans, all of which can be made ‘grabbable’ so you can pick them up, look closely at them and even throw them around in VR!

Let’s do it!

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Good to know

As seen in the explainer, any object you want to interact with must have a RIGIDBODY component and a COLLIDER component. This applies to any Unity gaming project and not just VR. When using VRIF we also add a third component, a ‘GRABBABLE‘, which allows our character to ‘grab’ the object to hold it, examine it or throw it.

Where to next?

Even without adding game logic to a VR scene, you could use the environment and the ability to pick up and examine objects to create treasure-hunt or escape-room style games. For example, how about leaving written or pictorial clues in strategic places for your users to follow? To get started with materials and how to add images to objects as textures, see the guide below…

In the next explainer we’ll look at how to populate our city with animated people!

Notes and updates

There are no notes or advisories at this time. This video explainer was last updated in May 2022. This page was last updated in May 2022.

We at pixels.cool are not responsible for the content of any external webpages or software downloaded from third party sites. Links are included in good faith at the time of writing. All explainer content is compiled in good faith using processes and methods used by the team. Modern software offers users many ways to accomplish a single task, and for reasons of clarity we choose not to refer to multiple options. All computer users should run up to date virus / security software at all times to minimise risks of data loss.

This is number 5 of 8 explainer videos in this series. Make sure you check out the others!