AR Dev with Vuforia & Unity

Vuforia has proven to be a very powerful tool for developing augmented reality interaction with Unity and mobile apps. My tests of Vuforia with Unity have been really successful and the workflow is really streamlined. After identifying a model and a tracker, the Vuforia package from its developer portal provides the link to the developer account where the tracker is stored. Once the build to an app is complete and deployed to the mobile device, the app loads the model saved within the app and displays it upon recognition of the tracker with the mobile device’s camera. The tests that I developed were first built directly from Unity to Xcode for deployment to both an iPhone and an iPad. Although successful, the Unity Cloud Build service is so much quicker and easier to manage.  Check out my post on the Unity Cloud Build process to learn more about it.

AR App

Screenshot of AR mobile app test with multiple trackers

Throughout the process I encountered 2 minor challenges, both of which involved the use of Vuforia. The first one was was the quality of the tracker image being used for the AR recognition by the mobile device camera. Vuforia’s developer portal includes a database structure for uploading these images. Part of the upload process is the evaluation of the image’s quality as a suitable tracker. The more contrasting graphics and defined points to grasp, the higher the quality. After several tests, I found that a rating of 3 stars or less made the tracker very difficult to recognize, if at all. As a result, the selected images were modified until a rating of 4 or, preferably, 5 were achieved.  A few Magic: The Gathering cards happened to turn out as really good trackers for my first test with Vuforia.

Vuforia - Tracker Database

Tracker database on Vuforia Developer Portal

The other challenge emerged during the build process from Unity. The builds were processed using the Unity Cloud Build service by linking the Unity project files through a BitBucket repository that was, in turn, linked to the Unity Cloud Build platform. The following lines from the first attempt’s Unity Cloud Build log file noted the issue that needed to be resolved before the build could be completed. The Vuforia package within the Unity project has .dll files located in its plugins folder.

Vuforia - Unity Cloud Build Log

Unity Cloud Build log

Vuforia - Unity .dll

Asset location in Unity

When these VuforiaWrapper assets were selected in Unity, the Inspector panel displays the following Import Settings. By default, the first box (Any Platform) is checked, which appears to have limited some of the other options. After unchecking it and selecting Any OS from the OS dropdown menu under Platform Settings, the next build was processed correctly. Since Vuforia version 6.2.6, I have not tested a more recent Vuforia package to see if the default settings were resolved. Regardless, it was a simple resolution, thanks to the Unity Cloud Build log that clearly noted the file and location.


Vuforia - Unity Settings

Inspector panel in Unity

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