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American doctors use VR to treat chronic pain in their patients.
Wired
IT Production

VIRTUAL REALITY DEVELOPMENT: 10 TIPS FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO BUILD APPS NOW

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.

That’s what they advise to newbie 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.

 

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.

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 if you want to build a customizable VR app, but we advise you to 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 knowledge in it should choose between CryEngine and Unreal. They are perfect pieces of advice high photorealistic setup, and are very 3D modeler/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 JavaScript, 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 to 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 of Udemy 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?

 

8. Read blogs of the major VR  players. If you`re going to use ARKit, it’s logical to look through the information. 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

 

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 makes people believe that digital content is the real one.

 

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 will just say: “I build virtual reality”. And it will be a synonym to the phrase: “I cast spells!”

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