Meet The Startup Behind Some Of Virtual Reality’s Biggest Hits
Simplygon hopes to streamline graphics, performance and production efforts for mind-blowing experiences in the near future
It’s no secret that technologies like AR and VR are quickly gaining ground as they overcome technical hurdles, embrace new industries and generate fresh content to further immerse a growing fan base. Less familiar however are some of the tech startups powering some of the most promised applications and experiences. Meet Simplygon, a pioneer and market leader of automatic real-time 3D data preparation and optimization, used by more than 80 percent of the top gaming publishers to churn out hyper-realistic content faster than ever.
Whether you’re an avid gamer, TV marathoner, or are simply interested in the value VR can bring to entertainment and beyond, its more than likely that Simplygon’s latest announcement will position the company behind some of your future device interactions.
In a move to democratize its software, the company has announced that its flagship product will now be free to indie developers and educational or non-commercial organizations, with a new pricing structure being implemented for small businesses, enterprises and gaming studios looking to integrate the technology into their own pipeline.
“Virtual and augmented reality is a major focus for a lot of companies, not just in gaming, but also in areas such as retail, automotive and aerospace,” said Matt Connors, CEO of Simplygon in a recent press release.
“Optimization plays a huge role in further developing content across various platforms. The ability for us to provide a level playing field to developers is a move we believe will change the future of the industry, seeing virtual worlds soon becoming a mainstay in living rooms, retail stores and even offices.”
On a technical level, optimization of assets generally refers to elements such as how many objects you’re rendering at a time, based on the distance a virtual camera is from a certain object. Instead of rendering all of the objects within a world at one time (a labor-intensive process many machines must forego), Simplygon automates the process of incrementally increasing or decreasing LODs (level of detail) based on depth, resulting in realistic environments at a fraction of the time needed to do it manually.
The introduction of complex geometries, lighting, materials and textures slows the rendering process tremendously, adding hours or even days to get to the finished product. In virtual reality, we’re talking hundreds of draw calls (the name of this process) for mobile platforms, to thousands for headsets on the higher end of the spectrum, which is why having an SDK such as Simplygon to help the computer cope with the load by reducing is so critical.
Plus, if you’re looking to create a cross-platform experience, you’ll need to prepare your data according to which HMD you’re looking to use. For instance, headsets with better specs will be pushing twice as many pixels at minimum, and will also offer a wider field of view which means you’ll have to saturate that scope with more objects (or else risk creating a vastly empty play area).
“Simplygon’s scalability and flexibility reflects the game industry’s laser focus on delivering ever more stunning, real-time experiences with each generation of games. We built our reputation by proving that Simplygon’s automatic optimization yields artist-quality 3D graphics—massively reducing the soul-crushing drudgery of manual optimization [and] freeing weeks of production resources,” Connors tells PSFK.
He proceeds to depict the Swedish-based company’s strongly rooted background in gaming, all the while urging us to consider the prospect of the technology across various industries. From fixing elevators and crafting CAD models to creating ‘augmented history‘ and broadcasting Shakespeare performances in real time, the company continues to supply an invaluable tool for content makers to create with.
As the startup’s technology (already in its eighth iterations) continues to mature in parallel with the growth of the hardware, the potential for stunning, fully immersive experiences with zero latency and quick load speeds nears. From applications and stories to products, commercials and visualizations, these new realities will continue to push the needle for what’s possible, with Simplygon neatly driving certain elements in the backend.
“Making Simplygon available to indie developers with our new freemium pricing model is a big opportunity to both accelerate innovation and extend our reputation. Access to the powerful automated 3D optimization technology will unleash a flood of AR/VR innovation…in ways that we may never have imagined. This will drive the technical innovation of Simplygon, delivering increasing value across sectors and markets,” concludes Connors.