What is Unity Mars?

reallankinen profile image Lankinen ・2 min read

MARS | Unity

I got interested of this because I notice that it's for AR developers. I just couldn't figure out from their own site (link above) what's the benefit.

One thing I got out of the website was that it's possible to simulate AR apps with this as right now you need to build the thing to your device and use the camera in real world to see how it looks like.

"Multiplatform AR dev framework" section on the website sounded a little bit fishy as they kind of explained that it's happening in AR Foundation package that's already free.

The price is ridiculous for person like me who don't have a company to pay it. I really hope that Unity doesn't become greed with their pricing models as they are planing to do IPO. I'm happy to invest some money to their stock as long as they keep the current focus that everyone likes and doesn't try to squeeze every penny making less in long term when users leave.

Unity Technologies Launches Unity MARS: A First-of-its-Kind Authoring Studio for Creating Intelligent Augmented Reality Experiences

"...gives creators across industries the power to build intelligent AR content seamlessly." If I understand correctly Mars is more like testing platform for AR apps developed using AR Foundation that's free. Imo "build" word in this sentence is a little bit confusing as it's not for literally building like AR Foundation but for testing. Of course testing is part of building process so I guess that's the reason they used that word.

Then in the article Timoni West from Unity says that Unity Mars solved three biggest challenges AR creators faced and those were "[1.] Creators can author complex, data-oriented apps visually, [2.] test their experiences without leaving the MARS authoring environment, and deliver apps that are contextually aware, flexible, and [3.] truly interact with the real world." I'm not sure if I added the numbers into the correct positions because the sentence is very complex and full of jargon. This is great example of how to not explain a product to an investor. What I believe Timoni tries to say is that it's for testing AR apps simply and with the control of environment meaning that they can place a chair to the position and location they want.

I'm done with this. Seems like Unity Mars is just a way to test AR apps without all that building and testing on real device in real environment. It's probably somewhat useful but because there is pretty high price tag, I'm of course not going to buy it.

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This showed up on my feed this morning. This youtuber thinks these paywalls may become more of a trend with unity as there are rumors of an IPO in the near future. Curious what all your thoughts are on this.


I've honestly always had a bit of a hard time with Unity's pricing structure in the past.

A) I don't like the fact that they lock the dark mode UI behind a paid tier (which yeah I understand you can change the windows registry for a single install version for unity and enable it, but let's be honest that's really just a hacky solution)

B) By paying for the engine you're getting some additional features, but even some of the package manager hell you see in the free version will not be fixed by upgrading. I have issues with the stability and compatibility behind some of the new features of Unity like ECS and URP/HDRP, because one release it seems to work great on my machine, then a patch hits and suddenly I can't get anything to work.

I sincerely hope Unity IPOs so they can become more focused on building quality into their engine instead of trying to jam as much as possible in there. They've been really pushing out new features and services like gangbusters the past few years and I think they will be even better positioned if they can spend some time working on the developer experience/quality of life stuff.


Why you still decide to use Unity? I personally think there is no other option. Unreal engine is not just as good as Unity and the community is much smaller. I would say the complaints are pretty small with Unity but they start to add up and in general their culture feels a little bit wrong. It's interesting to see if Unreal engine starts to get more users the same time Unity tries to make their company more profitable and more "lucrative" to the investors (whom most look for companies that do well the next 5 years not the next 50 years).

I like to keep up to date on as many game engines as I can; at least being aware of them. I personally am not using Unity for any projects right now; I've been working on a project in Unreal for about 2 months :) Unreal is not without problems for sure; I've just found it works well for me.

That being said, I have always enjoyed seeing what resources the Unity community shares. Often times the concepts are translatable across game engines, whether that's Godot, Unreal, or Unity.


I think it's awful when great startups destroy everything with IPO. I think it's amazing that they let anyone to participate the company and benefit from the growth AS LONG AS IT'S NOT GOING TO CHANGE THE COMPANY. This is so typical that they feel need to make more money and try to squeeze it from every place possible. There is a huge risk that people stop using Unity because of this destroying the company in long run.

There is one reason why this might make sense. They are going to add this kind of tools that aren't necessary or even that useful with paywall because companies often pay anything that might be useful so they get money from these endless pockets still not taking away anything from hobby or small users. I think Mars is one of those kind of useful tools that a lot of companies are happy to pay but personal users don't feel like falling behind because they don't have it. But let's see if this holds or if they become so greed that they add paywall to the Unity itself.


Yeah I don't like the paywall and I suspect more of the same is to come for extra features not directly tied to the engine. Especially since the CEO of Unity was the former CEO of EA. Unity is still a great engine though. Let's see how Unreal steps up their game with UE5. Godot is also becoming increasingly popular.