Augmented Reality Development Kit

Your AR content can be placed relative to real-world objects and can adapt to the environment or even hide behind objects like trees. The ARDK world understanding allows your game characters to walk on the world like a real-world character might. These capabilities can be used even if your player is using an older phone that does not have advanced LIDAR technology.

If you are not a developer or have minimal development skills you might start learning AR using our 8th Wall offering at If you are a developer and have little or no Unity 3D experience, you can start learning Unity 3D at If you are just interested in getting a basic understanding of what is possible you might watch this ARDK intro video.

With the ARDK you can create basic AR content that blends with the real-world. You can further extend these by making the content shareable using the Shared AR capabilities.

You can make your AR content world-persistent using the new Lightship VPS (Visual Positioning System) capabilities so your content will be visible in the same location for others to see in the following days or months. VPS is in Beta release and works at many landmarks in Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and London. Other cities will come online soon. The VPS Coverage API allows you to guide your players to VPS activated areas using a 2D map.


We are actively developing the ARDK, so ARDK features and docs are subject to change. If you’re already using the ARDK be sure to review the Release Notes for each release of the ARDK to understand what changes have gone into a release. Currently there are some feature limitations when developing with ARDK on Windows and M1 Macs, as described in System Requirements


New to the ARDK? Use the following resources to learn about the ARDK, set up your development environment, walk through a quick getting started example, and review sample code.

  • Getting Started With ARDK: Get started with the ARDK by walking through all the steps needed to develop an AR experience using Unity and the ARDK


See the following page for a catalog of ARDK tutorials.


Use the following resources to get comprehensive reference documentation on the ARDK APIs and frameworks.

  • API Reference: Get reference docs for ARDK Unity classes

  • User Manual: Complete developer guide for developing with the ARDK

  • Troubleshooting: Browse solutions and general tips for various issues when using ARDK

Release Notes

Use the following resources to understand what changes were made for each release of the ARDK.

Features can be released under several different launch types, such as experimental, public beta, or general availability. For more information on the different launch types see Lightship Launch Types. For a list of current experimental features, see Experimental Features.

Other Developer Resources