So you want to be a VR content developer? We are so thrilled to hear that!
Perhaps you have found yourself completely mesmerised after trying out a VR headset or playing an AR game on your phone.
Or perhaps, like us, you have grown frustrated by content developers not taking full advantage of this fantastic medium, and wish to see that change.
In any case, you can stop wishing. There are loads of tools and resources out there for any aspiring VR developers to become an active one, and this article will cover all the basics skills and equipment you need before you can make your virtual dreams a virtual reality.
As we know, the key ingredient of all software (and the backbone of the VR industry in general) is code. And lots of it. This, of course, means you’ll have to have at least some experience in working with it. Depending on which engine you decide to make your content in (which we’ll discuss a bit later), C# and C++ are both wise choices of programming language to learn in the field.
Whether you’re completely new to the world of programming or feel your skills are a little rusty, there are many free helpful resources for learning how to code online. As we believe immersive reality should be available for everyone, you can always check out our educational resources for tips and tricks on how you can get started!
So now you’ve got impeccable coding skills under your belt, you’ve got to start putting them all into practice. But getting to work on building your amazing creation from the ground up seems rather intimidating...and frankly, it probably wouldn't be worth all the trouble. At least, not when game engines exist.
Of course, a game engine can’t make your game for you with the press of a button, but by offering a user-friendly framework to get started from, it sure does accelerate development!
There are several game engines to choose from, each for different needs, but we personally recommend Unity: it is free to download and use, based on C#, has a very large support base, and comes with loads of tools and resources specifically for XR content development out of the box.
Unreal Engine is also an extremely powerful engine, albeit fuelled by C++. It is a little bit more difficult to master, but the end results are very often breathtaking.
Game engines have granted you a solid framework to help you get started on your VR masterpiece, but you'd still need some extra tools and features to make sure you can export a working application on all of your target operating systems. That is where software development kits come in. IN PROGRESS
We have developed a software development kit for Unity to help you get your ideas from the PC to the portal!
A VR-ready computer
Let’s face it: virtual reality applications are intensive and resource-hungry.
You may think to yourself “but I’m not playing VR games; I’m just creating them” and set out to make do with your trusty laptop and its integrated graphics card. But just like every great chef tastes their creation, every great software developer tests their own software before they’re ready to release it.
That doesn’t mean you have to throw out your old machine and break the bank on an all-singing, all-dancing gaming rig, however.
GameSpot has made an extremely handy guide on getting your computer set up for VR gaming and production (while it’s 4 years old at the time of writing this article, a lot of the advice still holds up!)