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Virtual reality development, how to start?

Lindsey Visser
geplaatst op 25-04-2017

Virtual reality is hot! Since 2014 this technology has become much more accessible for consumers and companies. But VR is more than just the hot new toy. VR technology is used for medical training, virtual tours and other architectural projects. Many companies see the possibilities with VR, and they are willing to invest in the technology. That’s why adding VR to your skillset can be a good move to prepare yourself for the future.

In this blogpost, we tell you more about the basics of VR development.  

Virtual reality development: where can people use your product?

Experiencing high quality VR isn’t accessible for most consumers due to the high costs of the technology. Luckily there are options. There is a VR-café where you can try various VR experiences and games. Besides that there are more and more affordable options to try VR at home. One of the most accessible ways to try out VR are the plastic and cardboard VR glasses that work with modern smartphones.

By making a 360 picture or a 360 video (with your phone or a special 360 camera) you can experience the simplest VR right at home. This is one of the easiest ways to create a VR experience, but in this way you can only show things that are already there. So, the question is... How to create your own environment?

Virtual reality development: this is how you build your fist app

Your first virtual reality application can be made in a day. The first thing you should do is getting a VR-headset for home use. The cardboard ones are a good option when you are just starting out. You need this because you want to see what you created so you can tweak if necessary. Most VR applications are built in a game engine such as Unreal Engine or Unity.

Unity is the most accessible of the two so that’s the one we would recommend using for your first VR development project. Download Unity and install the Google Unity Plug-in. Import this plugin and you can start creating your own VR-scene.

Technical challenges when it comes to virtual reality development

The speed in which new developments for VR technology occur are one of the biggest bottlenecks. Things that are best practice today are old fashioned tomorrow. Besides that, all VR headsets have their own specifications. There are no real standards for developing VR experiences yet, so when you develop an app it is wise to do extensive research on the various headsets. User interaction is difficult in VR, there are only a few controllers and interaction standards that work, and not all of them work for all applications. It all depends on the developers of the Game Engine and bugs or limitations sometimes seem to be insolvable. The computing powers of smartphones are also a bottleneck in VR development. Most modern phones can play a 360 scene, but not all smartphones run them smoothly. Besides that, there is no distribution platform for all VR headsets. This means that you need to pick the VR headset that you develop fore wisely before you start your development project.

Chances in VR development

All of this doesn’t mean the future is bleak for VR development, on the contrary. Because a decent VR application can be made pretty fast the interest of companies is growing. And with a growing market, standards and distribution platforms will definitely arise.

In a next blogpost, we will discuss how you can build a good VR experience. Visit www.vr-expert.nl for more information on VR development. Check their blog for the latest trends, or their website for business VR applications.