Google’s painting app Tilt Brush has been one of the defining virtual reality (VR) titles since its launch in 2016, with artists around the world creating amazing works of art. Like most of Google’s VR projects the company has decided to end support but to ensure its future Tilt Brush is now open source.
Starting as a simple 3D painting app which helped to showcase VR as an artistic medium, over the years Tilt Brush added new interactive features like audio reactive brushes whilst expanding support from PC VR to PlayStation VR and even Oculus Quest. The last update appeared back in April 2020 so it’s no surprise the company has ended support.
Tilt Brush will still be available to purchase on all the digital stores like Steam and Oculus, but for those that know how the source code is available on GitHub. However, some features have been removed with a blog post explaining: “In order to be able to release the Tilt Brush code as open source, there were a few things we had to change or remove due to licensing restrictions. In almost all cases, we documented the process for adding those features back in our comprehensive build guide.”
The open source route means that Tilt Brush won’t suffer the same fate as many of the company’s other VR projects as it continues to concentrate on augmented reality (AR) technology like ARCore. Recent cullings have included Google Poly, its 3D object library; Daydream View headset sales ceasing in 2019 followed by Android 11 completely dropping support last year. Google Expeditions, its VR field trip app also came to an end in 2020.
For the time being at least, Google Earth VR is still being looked after and its acquisition of Owlchemy Labs (Job Simulator, Vacation Simulator) means Google still has some interest in VR. The studio’s CEO Devin Reimer took to Twitter to clarify: “With Tilt Brush’s announcement some folks have asked if this changes anything at Owlchemy. It does not, we are continuing to grow, build awesome games for everyone, innovate and push VR forward! We also can’t wait to announce our next big thing!”
The VR community has already responded to the open source announcement by playing with the code and seemingly achieving what Google couldn’t in five years, multiplayer. The feature had been teased years ago but never came to fruition. Rendever’s CTO Thomas Neumann promptly achieved this as the above tweet showcases.
So Google’s interest in Tilt Brush has ended but the XR community has really just begun. For further updates, keep reading VRFocus.