How to develop Virtual Reality (VR) Apps: A Beginner’s Guide

There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who believe in the potential of Virtual Reality. And, others who haven’t tried it yet. If you lie in the former category, you’ll be intrigued by the question – How to develop Virtual Reality Apps.

And if you are one of them who have not tried it yet, go buy some kind of VR headset and immerse yourself in the world of 3D and experiences that you have never seen or felt before.

Whether you use popular but cheap Google Cardboard & Daydream or an expensive HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, you will be definitely exposed to the power of VR technology.  VR is the result of advancement & increased power of computation along with exceeded boundaries of developer for creativity and intelligence.

 

How to develop Virtual Reality (VR) apps for the first time: Step-by-Step Guide –

 

Developing VR application requires exactly the same skills and knowledge of just any other 3D game development but with slightly more creativity and efforts as transforming an application from rectangular screen to fully immersive environment can be the herculean task.

It would not take time for an experienced game developer to get his hand over development of VR applications but one who hasn’t tried any game development yet can also learn VR application development as well.

 

How to Develop Virtual Reality

 

The Stack 

Developing VR application does not vary much from 3D game development but it surely requires some additional software and hardware dependencies. If you want to get a kick start with VR application development, learning a Gaming engine will be your first step.

Most of the AR and VR application requires gaming engine to develop the framework with plenty of functionalities.

Decide which game engine you want to use!

 

These engines are called Unity3D – Game Engine and Unreal-Game Engine. There are other engines as well such as Cry Engine but all the new updates and features of every VR applications as implemented in Unity or unreal first and over 95% of VR content has been developed on one of these engines.

Both of them has their own scripting language. For example, if you want to start VR application development you will have to learn C# on other hands you will have to learn C++ to utilize the power of the Unreal Engine.

If you are beginner it will be an auspicious step to start with Unity 3D as it is the easiest to learn as well as it is free and highly accessible. To get started with Unity, there are plenty of online sources are available and one of them is Unity’s Own Tutorials which can be the first step towards your first VR application even if you are totally new to coding.

When it comes to Unreal, it is more of professional and hard to learn. However, Unreal can give you high-quality astonishing graphics compared to Unity 3D. Unreal has been used in the development of enterprise AAA games as it is complete package high-end developers need.

After getting your hand on any of above engine you will also need to choose an appropriate Software Development Kit (SDK) depending on the platform or device you want to build for. SDKs for are different for the different platform so targeting one platform at the time would be a wise choice.

 

How to Develop Virtual Reality

 

Hardware

After choosing game engine & platform, it’s time to start experimenting with VR development as you can only learn to create an astonishing experience of Virtual reality by practicing. Now it’s time to get yourself HMD (Head-mounted Display) or so-called VR viewers to experience your first VR application.

That is how you will learn the specific problems associated with different types of VR such as user experience and performance.  HTC Vive or Oculus Rift would be ideal to try your VR application which allows 6 DOF (Degree of Freedom) to create immersive room scale experience.

But it also requires high-end computation power along with top-tier graphics and memory that you won’t probably find in conventional laptops. But if you are tight on the budget you can try Google cardboard or Gear VR that restricts your movements to 3 DOF.

3 DOF implies that you will have the capacity to explore in X, Y, Z directions by the movement of your HMD in the Virtual condition but you wouldn’t have the capacity to move or touch anything. Though it does not require any high-end devices but just smartphone with a built-in gyro.

Here is a list of VR viewers you can try for the virtual experiences you want to create. 

  • HTC Vive – 6 DOF
  • Oculus Rift – 6 DOF
  • Google cardboard – 3DOF
  • Gear VR – 3 DOF and
  • Daydream- 3 DOF

 

After choosing the right game engine, platform and VR viewers it’s time to keep experimenting and build iteration of what you have already built. Unity and Unreal have larger community and resources to learn from so if you are in trouble there always be someone to guide you through.

Moreover, there are tons of online courses have come out making the development of your first VR application even easier. One of them is Eckovation VR Course that can help you start from the scratch.

 

Related Articles:

  1. Virtual Reality Development: 7 reasons why it is a great career option for Programmers
  2. 4 Programming Languages to develop Virtual Reality Apps
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