VR Development and Resource Guide

Our recently gained ability to shut down the physical world and completely immerse ourselves in the virtual one has completely changed our interaction with the environment. As almost every industry is changing thanks to the creation of the virtual world, exploring VR development is necessary if you want to thread on the heels of the new cutting-edge technology.

That’s why we have rounded up the most important resources, links and tools for you, whether you are a newbie, simply interested in the topic or you want to expand your knowledge. You will find plenty of information about both VR Software and Hardware, 3D modelers and existing model libraries. Also, we summed up some of the most prominent websites with news an updates concerning VR as well as useful courses and certificates you can earn if you aspire to become an accredited VR developer. Additionally, you will find some relevant books worth considering if you want to get the better understanding of the VR developing.

Game engines

The first thing a good VR developer needs are components required to build the game framework. Here is the list of the most popular engines to save your time and make the developing easier. By using these engines, you will have more time to focus on your own unique elements.

  1. Unity is currently the leading game engine and powers more than 50% of games for PCs, consoles and mobile phones. It allows creation of 3D and 2D games and apps and in 2019 about 60% of VR apps were made using this engine. The success of this company is attributed to using C#, as the great majority of VR developers use it for programming.
  2. Unreal Engine was developed by Epic Games in 1998 and nowadays it is one of the most popular engines among VR developers. It uses C++ and represents a complete set of tools for any kind of creation in game development.
  3. Amazon Lumberyard is a cross-platform 3D engine used for creating games of high-quality. It is mostly free for use but you have to pay if you want to use Amazon Web Services.
  4. GameMaker has become widely popular due to the fact that you don/t have to know a programming language in order to use it. It was created in 1999 and is developed by YoYo Games since 2007.If you loved Spelunky and Hotline Miami, this is the engine for you.
  5. CryEngine is a free platform which also provides a wealth of learning sources. If you want to develop for PC, PlayStation, XBOX or Oculus, this engine will make it easy and possible.
  6. Godot is a game engine developed by volunteers. This open source project is free, runs on multiple operating systems and you can use it to create games for android, pc and web platforms.
  7. App Game Kit is widely recommended and easy-to-use engine. It uses AGK Basic and the developers themselves can help you get through the guidelines.

3D computer animation, modeling, simulation, and rendering Software

Looking for a 3D Software with flexible and rich toolsets to create great designs? Here are the ones you should not miss whether you are starting from scratch or want to improve your skills.

  1. Maya is currently owned by Autodesk and its comprehensive toolset and variety of features are what most of the VR developers choose today. That is why this 3D computer graphic software is so popular despite its price.
  2. 3dsMax design is another Autodesk’s far-reaching rendering, animation and modelling solution for anyone, from architects and civil engineers to developers. Its main weakness is that it can be used on Windows only.
  3. Houdini is a 3D animation software developed by Side FX. The new Houdini 18.5 and KineFX have facilitated the motion editing and made the creation process more flexible.
  4. Blenderis rapidly becoming one of the best modelers for many VR developers. It is completely free, written in Phyton and available for Mac, Linux and Windows.
  5. Google sketch up is another free and simple modelling software. If you want a free bonus of having the possibility to view your models in the mobile app, this is the right software for you.

VR hardware

Every experienced VR developer knows that research on hardware is important. Each VR device has its own SDK and you better get familiar with them. We are here to help you with the most prominent ones.

  1. Oculus Developer Centre has its own Oculus SDK which is the best one to use on the Oculus Platform. It is the major player in the field. The Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest 2 are two of the latest devices mostly used for PC and mobile phones respectively.
  2. Valve Index is characterised by great quality and smart design. It is slightly heavier that other devices and comes without a charging cable. Also, you need a powerful PC to support this tethered headset.
  3. HTC Vive is a device made by Valve and HTC before they split. Adaptable touch controls, smooth graphic and vast game library are its main pros. The 2016’s HTC Vive’s successor HTC Vive Cosmos showed even better results. On the other hand, it is expensive and requires a lot of space while you still need to connect it to your PC.
  4. Playstation VR offers the system the best for playing VR games on a console. What makes it one of the best choices are affordability, easy set up and wide variety of games to be played. The only flaw is that it has slightly lower resolution that the abovementioned devices.
  5. Google Cardboard is a group of the cheapest and easiest headsets to use. While the material might not be the most durable one, the price which is about 10$ makes it easy for anyone to get into the VR environment.
  6. Samsung Gear VR is everything you need to enjoy the virtual world on your Samsung phone. However, the oldest Galaxy phone that is recommended is Galaxy S8 and every model before that one will show noticeably lower performance.

Import existing models using the best libraries

If you are looking for inspiration or some of the latest designs to admire, we have got you covered. Importing already existing models is sometimes a good time-saving strategy and we have pilled up a list of some of the best libraries you can visit at any time.

  1. Google Polly was made to aid VR developers. The only thing you need to search this exhaustive library is a Gmail account. With models having the CC licence, special tools for Unity and plug-ins for Maya, Blender, 3dsMax and more, this is place to start and make your VR easier.
  2. TurboSquid uses Kraken as a Digital Asset Manager which makes searching for and storing of 3D content easier. It was launched in order to organise the complex library of 3D models.
  3. CGTrader‘s directory includes over 1 million models and over 3 million users. Its models are used for VR, AR, gaming, movies, animations, 3D printing and so on.

VR News and Updates

Staying informed about the latest news and developments in the field is of great importance. Here are some links on relevant websites that offer up-to-the-minute happenings in the domain of VR.

  1. Road to VR  is one of the primary news publications devoted to VR world.
  2. Upload VR highlights the latest information in both VR and AR.
  3. VR Scout their “mission is to rediscover human potential with technology”
  4. VR Focus VR oriented website covering everything in the field of VR environment.
  5. Anand Tech started off as Anand’s Hardware Tech Page and today their niche is being a part of the special reporting balance on the web.

VR certificates

With the rapidly evolving branch of technology such as VR development, you might want to get ahead of other competitors in the field. Taking certified and accredited courses could help you pay the way for becoming professional VR developer.

  1. Coursera offers a wide variety of VR courses. You can choose the ones that suit your needs best. Choose your level, particular skills you are interested in and start your journey of becoming a certified developer. You can even take the course offered by Unity themselves.
  2. UDEMY will provide you with necessary courses regardless of the aspect of VR that you are interested in.
  3. Class central is something you should not skip if you are looking for free online VR courses
  4. Global Tech Council, despite globally acknowledged certificate, offers you a chance to get hired with ease and show off with your name on this website once you gain the certificate.
  5. Circuit Stream is a Unity certified project whose certificate will definitely help you stand out from the crowd.

Significant Books about VR development

The VR Book: Human-Centered Design for Virtual Reality by Jason Jerald

In this book Jerald puts an emphasis on the human side of VR. The importance of people and their perception of VR environment can’t be overseen and this book will guide you through various human elements of VR development.

Learning Virtual Reality: Developing Immersive Experiences and Applications for Desktop, Web, and Mobile by Tony Parisi

This guide covers the basics of VR essentials and the only thing you need to start is a certain level of programming skills. It covers topics from UI design and 3D Graphic to platforms such as Oculus VR, Gear VR and Cardboard VR.

Storytelling for Virtual Reality: Methods and Principles for Crafting Immersive Narratives by John Bucher 1st Edition, Kindle Edition

If you want to bridge the gap between technology and classical storytelling, this book is the best one to read. It focuses on creation and structure of the stories and their use in virtual environment.

Practical Augmented Reality: A Guide to the Technologies, Applications, and Human Factors for AR and VR (Usability) by Steve Aukstakalnis

If you want to cover both theory and practice of VR, this is the place. This book highlights new cutting-edge technology and even the one that is not released yet. Often described as the most comprehensive guide in the field of VR, this book is definitely a must-have.

The Fourth Transformation: How Augmented Reality & Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel Kindle Edition

This book is appropriate for both general audience and experts in the field of AR, VR and AI. Dedicated to the next generation and mostly focused on VR and its future, this book is written as a guide for the changes that will occur sooner than we think.

Unity 2020 Virtual Reality Projects: Learn VR development by building immersive applications and games with Unity 2019.4 and later versions, 3rd Edition by Jonathan Linowes

This is the book to help you explore the latest trends of Unity and keep you updated with fresh information on the current state of VR developing. For the experiences users of Unity as well as the unexperienced ones, this book will help you discover the best and the newest practices in the field od VR development.

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