Tilt Brush is Now Open Source
Google is giving away the Tilt Brush source code on GitHub and torching up its free 3D asset store Poly, the only asset store that has compatibility with the paint app’s animated brushes.
Google has this week announced that it is stopping active development on its VR paint app Tilt Brush. Users don’t have to worry about losing the paint app entirely, though, as the app has now gone open source and anyone will now be able to modify or even clone the entire app. In the meantime, Google is pivoting its efforts towards the creation of immersive Augmented Reality experiences.
Google’s interest in building VR hardware and software has been on the wane in the recent years. 2019 saw the company terminate its homespun Daydream platform, another sign at its rapidly waning enthusiasm in this market segment.
Now Google is closing its 3D object platform Poly that it announced in December while also stopping all the active development on its Tilt Brush VR paint app. The writing was already on the wall early this month following the departure of Tilt Brush co-creator Patrick Hackett.
Awesome. So far this is my favorite part of the source pic.twitter.com/8bGgbzrOD3
— Lee Vermeulen (@Alientrap) January 26, 2021
However, Google is still keen on seeing the app continue and the team behind the app has now released an open-source repo of the Tilt Brush code that will enable end users to use, distribute and modify the app for use in other projects. According to the team, this is a build guide that allows developers to freely use and even clone the app provided the use a different name. Google retains the Tilt Brush trademark.
With the app now in open-source, a to-do list that is yet to be fulfilled was the addition of the multiplayer mode and has already raised some eyebrows in the Tilt Brush player community.
According to the Google team, Tilt Brush will continue remaining available in the digital stores for users that have supported virtual reality headsets. The move towards open-source will, however, enable everyone to learn how the project was built and hopefully, encourage users to take the app to directions that “are near and dear to them.”
Tilt Brush was originally developed by the indie studio Skillman & Hackett and the impressive 3D art app was quickly acquired by Google in 2015. The acquisition saw the app getting launched on HTC Vive in 2016.
Eventually, Tilt Brush went on to launch on the main virtual reality headsets but the app developments has lagged a bit over the past two years, particularly from 2018 when Google was still busy aggressively pitching its Android-based Daydream VR platform.
The most recent feature update on the 3D paint app was in March 2020 that brought several features to app including a new Camera Path Panel, a beta version of Google Drive backup and Sketchfab. Since then, Tilt Brush has had only a few bug fixes in spite of the fact that it was concurrently released on PSVR.
It appears like Google is retreating from the VR scene and focusing its efforts on the Maps as a “sweet spot” for XR while literally discarding everything else such as Poly, its investment in Magic Leap, Daydream headset and Tilt Brush.
For Tilt Brush, this could be a blessing in disguise in the long run as some ambitious developer might build a more sophisticated multiuser version of the 3D art app. For long term success of the app, it would have to come with a recurring revenue model.