Faces of Unity: Andrew Maneri
Unity is made up of talented people, including artists, engineers, and project managers, whose work is as varied as their interests! Get to know who they are, what exciting projects they’re working on, and what drives them through the Faces of Unity Blog series.
In our first post, we profiled Sarah Stumbo, a Producer on our Made With Unity team. This week, we’re spotlighting Andrew Maneri, an Engineer on the Unity Labs team, a group within Unity committed to exploring how game authoring, AI, computer visualization, deep learning, XR, and storytelling will evolve over the next ten years and impact how games will be created and played. Get to know a bit more about him and his team by reading on below!
What do you do at Unity?
I’m the tech lead on various experimental authoring tools projects. This entails a few things, such as playing with, developing for, and imagining new ways to author with experimental hardware; envisioning and championing new code architecture to internal and external developers and making sure the results of our experiments make for a better future.
What does your day-to-day look like?
On average, part of my day is spent meeting up with companies that are on the cutting edge in new XR software and hardware. We share ideas, talk about potential collaborations, test out new products, that sort of thing. We’ve seen a lot of experimental input devices lately, which is fantastic! This also includes meeting up with other internal teams in Unity for similar purposes. Knowledge is power – share it!
Another part of the day is spent doing code-reviews, which doesn’t sound super exciting, but a part of growing up as a developer is learning to let go of the need to do everything yourself and trust your coworkers :)
The last part of my day is getting my hands dirty and actually developing directly.
Where were you before joining Unity?
I was an indie and professional game developer. I specialized in programming, art, and design, basically an engineering-focused technical artist. I still develop indie projects – as anyone working on a game engine should!
What made you decide to work at Unity?
I had been using Unity on projects for many years: I liked the editor and the workflow so much I wanted to have that be my daily routine.
Whenever I am looking to do a career change, I make a list of what I want. In this case, it was: working with or for Unity, working with VR, and working somewhere close to Bellevue. Instead of looking for a job, I specifically look for things that match my list.
What followed was extremely good fortune on my part – I soon discovered that Unity had an office in Bellevue and that they had a job opening that was well suited for me – making VR content.
Try making your list – it’s magical.
What cool projects have you worked/are you working on?
Many of the early demo projects I worked on are confidential or internal. I did a large portion of the first HoloLens demo we showed at Unite 2015. I’ve been able to collaborate with NASA (one for the bucket list). With Labs, I’ve overseen quite a few releases of EditorXR (previously EditorVR), including the move off of experimental builds, and integrating the Poly Toolkit.
I created a system to remap any body size and proportions to another in VR, including the user’s own perception of their size and limbs. This one is probably my favorite project, as there is something very magical about the experience and feeling your brain adapt to it.
I also was the tech lead on the XR interaction system last year, which you should see released as various useful packages over the next year.
Just recently at Labs, we started up a GitHub repository to hold all the useful algorithms and other little bite-sized projects that could be useful to the community outside of the larger offerings like EditorVR. We call it “SuperScience” and it’s located here. The first project there is one I made – used for stabilizing virtual objects being held by real-world controllers.
Have you met any professional milestones at Unity? If so, what?
I’ve definitely matured here. I was promoted to Senior Software Engineer, given plenty of talks at conferences, and become a Technical Lead, among other things.
What is your favorite thing about Unity?
I like the challenge – my skills as a developer sharpened at a rate I’d never experienced before when I started working here. There is always something new and exciting to tackle here, and it’s great for making the mind grow.
What’s your favorite non-Unity related activity?
Playing Minecraft with my son.
General thoughts on Unity?
Unity is a ‘small’ big company. The more effort you put in, the more you get out. It’s fairly straightforward to do something that feels important, and people appreciate it. I’ve been around the industry, and I have not found any other place quite like Unity. It’s a very empowering company – that’s an overloaded or overused term these days, but it’s true. Nothing has felt out of reach or beyond the power of this amazing place. If you’re considering a career here, don’t wait!
To learn more about Unity Labs, check out our website. If you’re interested in joining Andy, his team, and Unity in general in our missions to re-shape the way stories are told, visit our careers page.