We are excited to welcome AAFT School of Animation in India as a new member of the Unity Academic Alliance (UAA) – a global network of institutions that work together to bring innovation in Gaming, 2D, 3D, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) experiences. The alliance is a step towards providing AAFT students with knowledge of the latest cutting-edge tools and resources in the 3D space. The partnership exemplifies how industry and academia work together to bridge the skills gap and open up new opportunities for students.
Unity is a world leading real-time 3D development platform and gives developers the power to bring their visualisations to life by leveraging the latest tools and technologies. The Unity Academic Alliance recognises post-secondary institutions and provides the tools and resources needed to expand the real-time 3D development ecosystem.
AAFT is delighted to join the Unity Academic Alliance. We believe that it will further help us empower our students to enter industry with globally recognised skills and prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow.
Ashish Garg, Director of the AAFT School of Animation
AAFT was shortlisted and subsequently selected to join the UAA, which is managed by KnowledgePoint as part of the company’s responsibilities as a Unity reseller partner in the EMEA and India territory. Tomas Karlsson at KnowledgePoint said:
We’re pleased to welcome AAFT School of Animation to an exclusive group of academic institutions that are global leaders in the field of education and help equip the next generation of designers and developers with the knowledge and skills they need for a successful career.
Tomas Karlsson, Head of Channel Services at KnowledgePoint
We believe that this partnership will give students at AAFT School of Animation the opportunity to better grasp the technical and artistic aspects of the work done in industry and create endless career opportunities for them. We look forward to hearing more about AAFT’s progress as a UAA and are convinced that the partnership will empower real-time creativity in India and across the globe, strenghtening the community of established and future developers.
Fire safety practice and training in real environments is expensive, dangerous, and often partly impossible. By contrast, it is feasible, safe, and cost-efficient to perform fire safety-related training using digital and innovative technologies, like augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR).
AR and VR developed applications are flexible with the type and number of environments that can be simulated, also, they are easy-going with the number of pupils and test subjects with whom the developed scenario can be tested. It is safe to say that new technologies allow us to make enjoyable games for the big public, but also, immersive and polyvalent serious games with clear research and/or pedagogical aims.
The Future Interactive Technologies research group from Turku University of Applied Sciences (TUAS) has been involved during the last five years in over half a dozen projects where fire safety was the focus of attention. Each project had unique goals and each implementation was done by distinct teams, always including a variable number of 3rd and 4th year engineering students from the game development line. Best working practices were a must-have, and they were developed to balance the team’s range of skills and time availability of its members. Luckily, it is very easy nowadays to handle any game application with the project repository, where multiple developers update and merge their own branches. For these projects, Unity3D was the preferred game engine to develop the required applications because of its power, easiness to use, flexibility and polyvalence.
In Virpa1, funded by the Fire Protection Fund through the Ministry of Interior of Finland and TUAS, we designed a VR real-life event simulator. The VR simulator was not intended to teach how people should react in the case of a fire in the created office building, but to obtain actual data about their behavior and reaction time once the fire alarm started ringing. We tracked down the subject’s performance through 20 metrics to investigate how four different target groups behave: kids, young adults, adults, and fire-safety service personnel. In addition, we performed user-experience research to cast light on the overall experience. Unity3D engine allowed to add realistic smoke propagation and visual representations. The first key was to use Unity’s particle system to visualize the smoke concentrations at locations and heights that we obtained from separate fluid dynamics simulations. Secondly, always keeping the right balance between performance and accuracy, we optimized all parameters to avoid performance issues during real-time rendering. Transparency effects were very taxing in VR because the engine must sort hundreds of particles based on proximity, while calculating what the player can see through them because they are partly transparent. Technology has evolved and new solutions to overcome performance issues are now available. Today, we would use instead VFX graph, since it renders a lot more particles using only GPU.
In Virpa2, funded by the same instrument, we created a digital learning environment in the form of a mobile game to teach kids 8-13 years old all the knowledge, skills and attitude related to fire safety that they should have. We knew from the previous project that kids didn’t know how to efficiently leave a burning building and here was one of the reasons for this project. The game has received very positive feedback from players, teachers, and fire safety services. Furthermore, in this project, we were able to incorporate new gaming forms using less common advanced technologies. For instance, players had to find real fire safety signs in real buildings and scan those with the camera in order to progress with some of the game contents. This functionality was enabled with machine vision utilizing YoLov3 neural network deep learning architecture. The network was trained using an image set collected by the project personnel. Furthermore, we incorporated an AR minigame where players learn how to use a fire extinguisher to put out a virtual fire. The virtual fire is displayed through the screen to be on the same space where players actually are. User experience and impact value of the game were investigated thoroughly during the project, and so we needed to analyze tens of actions from thousands of players. Data collection system for required metrics and data was implemented into Unity frontend, and then interfaced via REST with .NET 5 backend collection system, developed in C# and hosted in Azure. The database is Azure SQL relational database.
Co-operation with private companies has been also a very important line of action for us. Related to fire-safety and the use of Unity’s game engine, a few other projects swell our portfolio. For instance, we created a visual experience to explain the functioning and impact of an automatic fire door in an industrial hall. We also implemented an educative serious game in VR to teach the use of carbon dioxide fire extinguishers in high-voltage electric units (or was it type ABC?), without forgetting another which used AR glasses for slightly similar purposes. Our students additionally created a VR experience to explain to workers the protocol to follow in a power plan in the case of a fire in the turbine hall.
In the future, we would like to keep working on this type of research and educational approach, where safety and fire safety are investigated or presented with the most advance technologies and approaches. Please, stay in touch whenever you would like to share with us your thoughts about similar experiences or your needs for newer projects.
“With Unity, it is super easy to change build platform. This makes it very easy to test many different platforms in quick succession.”
“Unity is an excellent platform to learn the basics of game development since you can get an actual working prototype game with good visuals done very quickly”
“Unity’s versatility allowed us to implement 3D, 2D and Augmented reality into the same environment and switch between with ease” (edited)
Unity’s graphic user interface allowed for seamless collaboration between coders and graphic designers. It was easy to append our own 3D models with asset store’s 3D-packs and maintain a consistent style throughout the game. Unity’s post processing features made the simple low-poly environment look nice in an instant. The ability to edit and optimize multiple assets simultaneously was fast and convenient. Generally problems were easily resolved thanks to Unity’s strong community support. (edited)
Unity’s component-based pattern encourages software modularity and allows us to architect the project flexibly. Unity’s custom editor is a great feature to improve productivity and communication between programmers, artist and designers.
The ZHAW is one of the leading universities of applied sciences in Switzerland. It offers teaching, research, continuing education, and other services that are both practice-oriented and science-based.
Within an hour of contacting their students by mail, their Unity Game Developer Certification summer school was “sold out”!
The students were given a briefing, a further follow-up with Q&A as well as a final Q&A before they took off to take the certification.
Here are the testimonials from the students who attended the very successful certification summer school:
“I perceived the course itself as very structured from start to finish. The introduction and information on your part were clearly and pragmatically solved. Overall, I find such learning opportunities very cool and are a good alternative to conventional summer schools.“
“I found the Unity module with the certification very exciting and varied. Although there is a certain supporting program for the course, it is also possible to incorporate creativity into the development of the game and thus personalize it a bit more. Due to the fact that the course can be carried out during the semester break, it was particularly pleasant for me to work at my own pace without additional fees and examinations. What I take away the most is the sense of achievement of playing a self-created game on my own phone.“
“The Unity certification gave me a good insight into the game industry and showed that it is also structured like a classic business. Furthermore, practical experience in the development could be gained, but I noticed above all the complexity and the enormous level of detail that is necessary to bring a game to life. From my point of view, the MR-Lab is a great offer from the ZHAW to get in touch with AR/MR and to realize your own projects.”
“I really liked the Unity certification. For the first time, I was able to see “behind” the game and see the great effort behind today’s games. The fact that I even get a dispensation for the WPM4 in addition to this exciting module is just a nice addition.”
“I really liked the Unity certification for the following reasons: It was a “hands-on” module, you had to “get your hands dirty”, so to speak, and try out a lot. The topic itself was exciting, creating a game was a lot of fun. The module was very well organized (information event, dates, certificate submission, etc.)”
“I would like to note that the joy of the topic and teaching is clearly noticeable among the lecturers in these modules and thus also contagious. Unfortunately, this is rarely found and I am therefore all the happier about it. Regarding the certification, I would like to say that it was very welcome for several reasons:
It was an exciting and fun way of learning.
The topic captivated me and spurred me on to realize my own projects in the future.
The 3 ETCS that you receive by passing the certification give students in the last semester the opportunity to focus more on the bachelor thesis.”
“The MR LAB certification was an exciting opportunity to gain initial experience with Unity. The combination of learning videos and test questions offered a good opportunity to consolidate what had been learned. I would like to thank you for the opportunity to participate in the MR LAB course.”
Turku University of Applied Sciences is the first Finnish University to join the UAA!
TUAS research group Futuristic interactive technologies have years of experience in research and collaboration for utilizing game technologies in various domains such as healthcare, technology industry, and tourism. We have utilized the Unity game engine for over a decade in gaming education and RDI activities. In the above-mentioned domains, we are utilizing XR technologies. From a research point of view, we typically apply user-centric and rapid prototyping principles. While testing solutions we focus on usability, and user experience studies and just lately more and more intensively also in effectiveness studies.
Because of COVID-19, we are asked to develop solutions for vocational and professional training. Together with our industrial partners, we aim to find solutions for hands-on training with authentic devices. We have seen that virtual reality is a promising technology to be used in simulation in challenging or even hazardous conditions or with expensive equipment. Just to name some examples we are focusing on developing innovative training solutions for ship command bridges (Markopoulos et al., 2020), and for fire safety (Oliva et al., 2019). Just lately we have also focused on finding alternatives for teleconferencing. More advanced solutions with social communication tools are needed for example in virtual exhibitions, and virtual conferences (Markopoulos P. et al., 2021).
We have cooperated with neuroscientists since 2015 when we started our cooperation in the research areas of virtual reality in driving inspection (Izullah et al., 2021). Just lately we have invested intensively (around 0.5M€) in VR, AR, and AI. This investment includes NVIDIA DGX-1 supercomputer, Leica BLK 360 laser scanner, over 50 VR headsets etc. We have for example almost ten VR headsets from Varjo which is at the moment manufacturing the most sophisticated VR headsets with bionic display, hand and eye-tracking sensors. Neuroscientists are more and more needed because of this technological progress. We have now devices (Varjo headsets) that can be used to monitor user behavior in virtual training and in virtual assessments. Combined with the iMotion platform (incl. various biosensors) we have a wide range of metrics available to understand better users’ decisions while training. At the moment we aim to compare above mentioned behavioral data with performance data collected during the gameplay (Markopoulos E. et al., 2021). Our performance monitoring system is designed based on neural networks – that is to say, we are using machine learning to train the system to detect mistakes (compared to ideal performance).
As already mentioned we have studied social communication in virtual exhibitions and conferences and how to apply avatar technologies in the metaverse context (Luimula et al., 2021). Our intention is to develop our own metaverse technology utilizing Unity, Mirror, and Data-oriented Technology Stack (DOTS). We have already been able to create a solution where tens (maybe even around 150) of trainees with VR headsets are able to participate in the same virtual training session. For us, the metaverse is a combination of social communication, hands-on experience and digital twin integration.
Why have TUAS joined the Unity Academic Alliance?
We have started game research in Turku already early 2000. Turku Game Lab in turn has been founded in 2009 as one of the first Finnish game labs owned by higher education institutes. Unity has been the main engine from the very beginning. Our game lab graduates have worked for Unity Ltd (Veli-Pekka Kokkonen & Juha Kiili – responsible to launch the first version of Unity 2D tools). We have quite large industrial cooperation with Finnish game companies. For example, Supercell cooperated with us while beta testing their Gunshine game prototype in 2010. Our graduates are nowadays widely working in significant positions or as entrepreneurs in the Finnish game industry.
Most of our industrial partners are using Unity for either entertainment games or applied game technology solutions. From RDI perspectives we can easily claim that Turku is one of the leading technology industry regions and Health Technology regions in Finland. And our university is one of the leading applied research institutions in Finland utilizing game technology in various domains. We have for example won various scientific awards (e.g. IEEE, Springer, and ACM conferences) and also the best-applied game award for 2018 in Finnish Game Awards 2019.
In October, Unity hosted its Unity for Humanity summit 2021. This fully virtual, one-day summit celebrates creators around the world who are using real-time 3D (RT3D) to make a positive impact on society and the planet. In one of the sessions, we heard from two innovative ed-tech founders who are leveraging real-time 3D to transform workforce upskilling and learning.
At KnowledgePoint, we’re really passionate about discussing and promoting the up- and re-skilling of the workforce to provide for the emerging jobs in the immersive sector. Through our work with learning organisations around the world, including Unity, we can see the economic potential of immersive technologies, but this is not widely reflected in the strategies, priorities, and investment plans of governments, businesses, or educators. We believe the challenges facing the immersive sector are much more nuanced than those facing the digital industry as a whole.
We are happy to announce that Be Licensed has joined the Unity Authorized Training Partner (ATP) program, authorized to offer Unity Authorized Workshops and Certification Exams on behalf of Unity Technologies.
As Sweden’s premiere media production training company, Be Licensed is a provider of certification courses for our partners Apple, Adobe, AVID, Blackmagic Design and LearnQuest.
Their statement on joining:
“We see now more and more of an overlap between both the concepts and techniques contained in traditional postproduction with the utility and workflow in Unity for VFX and game design, so for Be Licensed it became a natural ambition to be able to offer the great Unity course catalog and certifications to our customers.
We are now happy to say we have been invited to join Unity’s Authorised Training Partner program. We’re looking forward to seeing newly certified Unity users establish themselves more and more as a valuable resource in the constantly growing market for game design/graphics, VR experiences and post-production, here in Sweden and abroad.”
Symetri has joined the Unity Authorised Training Partner (ATP) program, authorised to offer Unity Authorized Workshops and Certification Exams on behalf of Unity Technologies. With its expertise in the construction and manufacturing industries, Symetri is all about helping its customers to improve their capabilities and capitalise on technologies that allow them to work smarter.
As per our recent Immersive Skills Storm insight report, sectors including architecture, engineering, and construction are adopting immersive technologies as they’re proven to boost efficiency and deliver productivity gains. Businesses are calling for people with the skills to match.
With its proven experience in 3D-modelling and simulation, PLM (Product Lifecycle Management) and BIM (Building Information Modelling), Symetri is a perfect fit for the ATP program.
Tomas Karlsson, our Head of Channel Services says: “We’re looking forward to working with the team at Symetri as it supports its partners in developing competence in Unity Technologies skills, a key component in the further adoption of immersive technologies and a driver of economic growth.”
AIV is one of UAA’s newly-joined partners and is Italy’s firstUnity Academic Alliance partner
AIV – Italian Videogames Academy was founded in 2004 in Rome. AIV is the first Italian institute of higher education in the video game field and trains about 400 students/year with three-year courses in Programming, Graphics, and Game Design, plus the new courses of Animation & Rigging and Narrative design and a two-year course in Music for Video Game, a 1st Level Master in Music for Video Game in collaboration with the “S. Cecilia” Conservatory, 10 workshops a year with the best international developers.) Throughout over fifteen years of activity, his students have found employment in some of the most important Italian and foreign software houses, including Sega, Ubisoft, Sony, Ninja Theory, Techland, Remedy Entertainment, CD Projekt Red.
In 2006 AIV received the Certification of excellence in the video game field by the Minister for Innovation and Technologies Lucio Stanca.
In Italy, AIV has collaborated with the University of Rome La Sapienza, the University of Verona, and the Rome Libraries Association and is the only training institution to collaborate with the Games Career Fair.
Since 2018, AIV organizes and runs the LEVEL UP – Rome Developer Conference, one of the leading international conferences on video game development, virtual simulations, and interactive works in Italy, gathering over 50 professionals from 3 continents and 15 countries with an audience of over 2000 people every year. In a few years, the event has established itself as the brand new international event of the video game industry, based on:
– respect and trust with international top professionals game developers
– a wide network of schools, institutions, and other Italian companies in the field
– a great request coming from the above-mentioned subjects
Starting from 2020, due to the successful experience gained with the first editions of the international “LEVEL UP Rome Developer Conference”, AIV has developed a new complementary strategy dedicated to the expansion of video games and the digital sector at the local and national level – the first training conference entirely dedicated to Italian schools, as regards students and professors: LEVEL UP – School Days. The event led some of the major Italian politicians and entrepreneurs involved in economic and digital development to talk about video games.
“The Italian Academy of Video games (AIV) has been funded with the aim of sharing the best knowledge and promoting high quality education, that ‘s why we are proud and honored to be part of the Unity Academic Alliance. The effort in making our best for our students brought us to join this exclusive community and be partners with one of the most advanced game engines. We would like to thank Unity for this amazing opportunity and we as AIV will carry on this new adventure with dedication and passion.”
AIV – Italian Videogames Academy
Be sure to check AIV out on all of their social media platforms below!
At KnowledgePoint we support these instructors in their journey to graduation e.g. by organizing dedicated Train the Trainer bootcamps facilitated by Master Unity instructors and by bringing the instructor community together in a dedicated LinkedIn group where they can exchange notes and best practices on all things Unity & exam preparation.