Made with Unity 3D Virbela: A Alternative To Zoom


What is Virbela and Agora?

If you’re looking to create your very own immersive 3D world for you and others to enjoy, then look no

further than Virbela, created using the Unity engine by the Agora Inc. team. It is an online world for

you to create and for people to connect with. The idea for this was to bring people together digitally,

like you would in an office, campus, or event. In these times of lockdowns, something as wonderful as

Virbela is greatly needed to work and stay connected with friends and family, and the world as a whole.

The platform can support thousands of users at once in a single instance. If you have access to an

iOS/Android smartphone, desktops, and/or virtual reality (VR) headset then you are able to access this

amazing piece of software. You can think of it as a alternative to the Zoom app.



Virbela started as a concept. They were initially going to build it with an in-house engine using C++. But

as they progressed with their small team they ultimately decided to switch to Unity. They chose Unity

over others like OpenSim or even building their own engine, which would’ve put more work on their

plate. They went with Unity because it offers cross-platform support, rapid prototyping, and C#

scripting, which made executing their idea of a virtual world so much easier, rather than getting

discombobulated by all of the technical details of building what they needed to do it. They made use of

Unity’s existing ecosystem, as well as the Unity Asset Store to integrate the essential subsystems they

needed for their initial collaborative business relatively quickly.




Virbela looks to support as many users as they can in a virtual space to accommodate large meetings by

keeping users’ bandwidth usage as low as possible while prioritizing voice (and now video) traffic. This

has been extremely important for them. Virbela has aimed to bring the many university students

together in a virtual world during academic competitions. The company expanded to real estate in 2015,

powering eXp Realty, a digital-first real estate firm that connects its brokers via Virbela. eXp acquired

Virbela back in 2018, and hosted EXPCON 2020, the largest real estate event with more than 12,000

attendees from over 35 countries. Not only did EXPCON exceed expectations but broke Virbela’s record

for concurrent users on the platform – over 2,900 users.





As businesses want to bring events online during these times of lockdowns, Virbela’s has helped event

organizers create virtual versions of their events where attendees can create and customize their 3D

avatar, explore all of the venues, and network with others as they would in real life. Virbela also does

wonders for online classrooms. Where video calls are often a boring experience, Virbela brings elements

such as gestures, presentation boards, and breakout groups that create more of a realistic classroom

experience.



The Virbela team implemented the Agora SDK to video chat and screen sharing on its platform in 2020.

They went this route because it took the guesswork from managing latency, packet loss, and bandwidth.

It was easy for the them to integrate Agora into their existing Unity build. As a kind of bonus, Agora

helps to provide security, giving Virbela more tools to avoid bad actors, and protect people’s sensitive

information. With events, classrooms, and work becoming more of a hybrid of the physical and the

digital elements, platforms like Virbela will only keep improving and evolving as time goes on.