Meta has announced that its latest avatar system is finally available to all Unity developers. Formerly called Oculus Avatars 2.0 and now called Meta Avatars, the design brings a significant update to the avatar style and expressiveness compared to the company’s previous avatar systems.
The Meta Avatars SDK also supports Unity-based VR apps on Quest and Rift, with limited support for non-Oculus platforms such as Unity VR apps built for SteamVR. Meta says Quest apps in the App Lab can fully use the Meta Avatars SDK just like those in the official store.
Meta Avatars are not yet supported on Unreal Engine, but the support is expected soon.
The company says it created the Meta Avatars SDK “with developer needs in mind.” Developers can override the position of the system’s avatar bodies and facial expressions, if necessary, to fine-tune the avatar behavior they will use in their apps.
The company also says that the Meta Avatars SDK uses an interesting distributed architecture for performance. Instead of all titles needlessly calculating all the positions and expressions of all avatars in a given scene, each title sums its avatar and then passes that information on to other participants. Developers are also free to use the system with whatever network stack they want.
Oculus-based apps using the Meta Avatars SDK will use the avatar that players customize through their title’s avatar generator. SteamVR apps will be able to use the Meta Avatars SDK, but since these apps are not tied to the Oculus platform, players will choose from 32 pre-configured avatars. In crossplay scenarios, Meta says that while non-Oculus players won’t fully configure their avatars, Oculus players will see their fully customized avatars.
As far as we know, the Meta Avatars system does not currently support multiple avatar outfits or app-specific outfits, meaning you can only create one skin at any given time.