So you’ve heard that building VR apps is a real hype and you want to try. But you don’t know where to start and can’t imagine how you will become a real full-time VR developer. What if I tell you that it's not as difficult as it may look?
I ‘ve talked to our VR development team, people who evolved from being absolutely ignorant about VR to passionate VR evangelists, and they came up with 11 tips for those who want to become magicians, I mean, VR developers.These people know everything about high-class virtual reality development software for the best HMDs. They tackle the most complex and puzzling tasks and solve the worst riddles.So it’s reasonable to listen to their bright ideas.
Here is the list of top 11 tips for future VR developers:
1.It might sound obvious but it really helps. Buy a headset and play with it. That will be a little step for you as for a human being and a huge step for VR industry in general. I might be wrong but I am sure you didn't try the taste of VR yet. Or played a game in some VR arcade like 5 years ago. If you have a Google cardboard, here are the guidelines for you: take this headset and throw it in the garbage. That’s basic. You should choose between Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, these are two dinosaurs on VR/AR/MR market. One thing must be clear as well: you won’t be able to understand how VR feels and works by watching videos or reading articles (don`t quit reading this article at this moment). Experiment with VR apps, try to notice what bugs they have and try to fall in love with VR for sure. It’s impossible to resist this technology. There are also brand new HMDs from this year CES, for example:
2. Choose a coding language. What coding language should I start with? That’s one of the first questions of a future VR developer. There are so many coding languages that it's easy to get lost like Alice in Wonderland. But there is the right answer for any VR dev, and we know it. And we will even share it with you in the next part.
If you are in doubt, choose C# for a start of your development of virtual reality. It will help you feel confident in the chaotic world of VR. You can experiment with other languages (like C++ or Python), but if you place a bet on C #, you will save yourself from a splitting headache in most cases.
Why C#? It will require more work from a developer and more time, but at the end, you will understand that C# is the most customizable and the most efficient for VR games development.
C++ and Python will also work well but with the app built on C# you will be more flexibale. Your app will be lighter and you will less problems fixing bugs. So if you want to build a customizable VR app, choose C#.
3.Choose a game engine. You will have 3 alternatives basically: Unity, CryEngine, and Unreal. Virtual reality developers who want to create a perfect VR app and are ready to invest lots of time and efforts into it, should choose between CryEngine and Unreal. They are perfect in terms of high photorealistic set up, and are very 3D modeller/renderer friendly. Yet, they both lose to Unity because of the community this game engine has.
4.Play with Unity Approaching Unity is like approaching a cute girl who doesn’t speak English. Scary at first, but with time, you come to the conclusion that she can understand you intuitively. The same with Unity. But it’s possible to learn Unity after dealing with C# ( in some cases it can be Java Script, but it’s very rare). With Unity, a future developer can build games before starting building real VR. Unity offers a number of exciting tutorials and can boast with the asset store which is a real treasure chest for a developer. If you want to learn how to use Unity, try this tutorial. Yep, this tutorial is totally immersive and interactive. A future Unity developer can understand such complex concepts as Game Objects and Components with the help of this tutorial. You can take part in a live training if you want, Unity offers you that as well. Besides, there is a cool Unity forum where you can find answers to your most disturbing questions. Gamification of studying is the best way to learn something with maximum effectiveness. Why a future dev can’t learn about Unity by fixing 3D puzzles.
5. Take Udemy Course Udemy courses offer all types of knowledge, and of course, Udemy has courses dedicated to VR development. Here is an efficient course on Unity. Udemy lecturers lead you all the way to the moment when some general concept on Unity appears in your head. There is also a course for those who are interested in virtual reality development of apps for Microsoft Windows and Oculus Rift. The course provides inexperienced but very enthusiastic devs with a general idea what VR is, and explains how to use Unity3D and the Oculus Rift SDK for VR apps development. More than that, the course explains some most typical problems VR devs face, such as motion sickness in users. This course can even tell a programmer how to introduce his/her app to the world.
6. Check Coursera which has 5 interconnected courses. If you shut down a person in a room with food and access to these 5 courses, chances are really high that he/she will walk out of this place being ready to develop amazing VR apps. Getting started with VR development is often a challenge because of lack of self-confidence and motivation. Coursera helps inexperienced users believe that they can do it. Currently, there are 5 courses available at the platform: Introduction to Virtual Reality, 3D Models for Virtual Reality, 3D Interaction Design in Virtual Reality, Building Interactive 3D Characters, and Making Your First Virtual Reality Game. What is most important for inexperienced developers is that their raw VR apps can be peer-reviewed. And at the end, they will even receive a certificate of completion. All in all, these courses give a future VR developer a general idea of what VR is, how it affects a user, how it can be done, and how to create simple VR apps taking into account design interactions.
7. The next thing you will need to do is to choose the headset for which you will build a VR app. As I told earlier, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are two major players on the market, so even if you are a fresh dev, you might want to experiment with these two headsets. And that is why you will most likely choose SDK for one of them. What is the crucial difference between Oculus Rift and HTC Vive SDK?
There is a special SDK for Oculus Rift- Oculus SDK which provides potential developers with a number of engine-specific kits, such as the kit for Unity or WebVR. This SDK can deal with a lot of problematic issues, such as the optical distortion and rendering techniques, for instance.
In all the other cases, a VR developer uses VRTK, a collection of useful scripts and solutions for apps building which is integrated into Unity3D. VRTK has a number of ready-made trivial solutions so there is no need to invent a wheel each time. A VR dev can just take solutions out of there each time saving his time and energ
8. Look how other people built VR apps and games online on forums. It is interesting to analyze how VR apps deal with various challenges in VR development.
9. Read blogs of the major VR players. Blogs created by HTC Vive or Oculus Rift are your best mentors. For those who don’t know, these two brands are major antagonists in the world of VR: they compete to provide VR fans with the best HMDs. On these blogs, you will see all the information about the most recent updates. Alternatively, you should read blogs on VR in general, to understand what people look for in the virtual world and what they can study online. Medium has a plenty of such blogs, like for instance, A Software Engineer’s Guide to Unity and AR/VR Development
10. Go to Steam VR. You thought that there are games there only? No, it’s the platform which provides developers with tools for games building as well. However, it’s often useful to check the latest VR games to understand how fast they evolve. There is also a special plugin for Unity which helps to develop VR apps for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
11.Take another course. here is an awesome course called Udacity VR Developer Nanodegree. If you are really serious about VR, you should spend money on this one because it was created in collaboration with Google, Vive and Unity. These giants are shaping the industry and pushing virtual reality to the general public. Yes, this course is not a cheap one, but it can transform you into the experienced VR developer in just 3 months.
Virtual reality developer jobs are among the most popular on the market right now. Because a dev who can create a mind-blowing VR app is almost a magician. Seriously. It’s the person who can erase the line between real and irreal.
If you think that VR is just for the entertainment, you are 100% wrong. VR is now utilized in many spheres, such as military, medicine, education, training, e-commerce, sport. For instance, French psychiatrists are using VR to treat people with PTSD today and doing it effectively.
In other words, the world needs virtual reality and if you learn how to build it, you will be the most popular person in any company. You you will just say: “I build virtual reality”. And it will be a synonym to the phrase: “I cast spells!”