Oculus & Unity Launch Pad Workshops: Promoting Diversity of Thought in VR
Unity proudly partnered with Oculus for the second annual Launch Pad program, which aims to inspire diversity of thought in the VR community by helping people from a variety of backgrounds break into VR.
In support of Launch Pad and broader efforts to support diversity within VR, Unity provided hands-on training during the 2017 Launch Pad Boot Camp, which took place June 10th and 11th on the Facebook campus in Menlo Park. Additionally, Unity will participate in the Women@Oculus programming series, which provides Oculus employees with guest speakers and educational opportunities to support professional development among women and allies at the company.
Launch Pad 2016 Recap
Announced in March of 2016, the Oculus Launch Pad program began with a one-day boot camp at Facebook headquarters, where participants received hands-on training, mentorship, and a free Samsung Gear VR on which to develop and test their own games and experiences.
The result was the successful inclusion of over 100 new developers as they worked to deliver VR experiences that more accurately represent our global audience.
Unity was proud to power three of the 11 winning projects of the Launch Pad 2016 Scholarship contest, which received funding to support their launch as full VR experiences:
[For a full list of winners, see the Oculus 2016 Launch Pad blog]
Oculus Launch Pad 2017
Now in its second year, Oculus Launch Pad provides women, people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and people from other underrepresented backgrounds funding and resources to ensure diversity of thought in the VR ecosystem. This year, Launch Pad kicked off with a weekend boot camp at Facebook headquarters on June 10th and 11th. Creators received mentoring, hands-on training, and a free Gear VR to playtest their own games and experiences.
Attendees were introduced to the Unity game engine and went hands on with the workflows and features used by top game studios. During this training—led by Unity VR Evangelist Sarah Stumbo—attendees learned how to build a brand-new 3D, VR/AR-ready game from start to finish while touching upon many of the diverse systems and tools that Unity offers.
Virtual reality is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing branches of the tech industry, but to reach its full potential, it needs a diverse team of creators. I was thrilled to see men and women of all backgrounds and ages participating in Oculus Launch Pad. During the Unity workshop, we covered the foundations of VR development, including programming, animations, input and 360 video integration. Everyone left with a small VR game that they can play on their Oculus Rift or Gear VR. I can’t wait to see what they build in the future!
–Sarah Stumbo Unity VR/AR Evangelist
To further the mission of inclusivity and access, Unity is also supporting Women@Oculus, an internal Facebook education program designed for women and allies. This monthly event includes a speaker series, hands-on workshops, collaborations on ideas, and project development.
Women@Oculus Unity Classes are a unique opportunity for Oculus and Unity to partner to further develop understanding of the gaming industry and content creation—while possibly creating some amazing spaces in VR.
Virtual reality is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing branches of the tech industry, but to reach its full potential, it needs a diverse team of creators. That’s why Oculus started Launch Pad—and why Unity strives to support it.
Unity’s key mission to democratize development includes working towards a better, more equitable landscape in VR and beyond.
Stay tuned to find out which Launch Pad creators take home 2017 scholarships and to learn how you can participate in future events!