Last year two big VR companies: Jaunt and IMAX downsized their VR operations due to cost restraints. However, learning to develop for VR is still a good bet for the coming future. Cheaper headsets and 5G networks will extend VR’s popularity. 2018 ended with a record number of headsets registered on Steam. This attests to the growing popularity of Virtual Reality.
Currently VR’s popularity is seen in:
I remember when I was just getting into web development, deciphering the ecosystem was hard because the concept/usage of “Pathways” was not common and Treehouse, Codeacademy and other learning platforms weren’t using learning pathways back then to systematically categorize learning tools, materials and outcomes. So basically you had to Google it and connect the dots.
This guide functions as a pathway to getting up and running with VR as an independent creator.
VR DEV ECOSYSTEM
Currently the VR ecosystem is comprised of:
- Headset: VR headsets such as Oculus Rift, Magic Leap, HoloLens and HTC Vive
- Software: Design + Code
- Computers: Gaming computers with Windows OS (v.10 and later)
- Gaming Engines: Unity, Unreal Engine and Lumberyard (Amazon) are the most common
- Content platforms: Such as Steam
In order to develop for VR you need a rig that has enough processing power to handle VR. For independent creators the rig consists of:
Computer: A “gaming laptop” is what you will use for developing VR content. The official requirements from Oculus Rift are:
- CPU: Intel Core i3-8100
- GPU: RX 570 (or GTX 1060 3GB)
- Motherboard: ASRock Z370 Pro4
- Storage 1: Seagate Barracuda 1TB HDD
- Storage 2: None (or Crucial MX500 250GB SSD)
- Power Supply: Seasonic S12II 620
- RAM: 8GB DDR4
- Case: Corsair 200R
- CPU Cooler: Stock (or Deepcool Gammaxx 400)
- Operating System: Windows 10
The cost will range between $800 – $4000 dollars. Here is a list of some gaming laptops.
Headset: These are some of the better known headsets as of 2019 to use if you’re getting into VR Dev:
- Oculus Rift $349
- HTC Vive $499
- HoloLens $3000
- Magic Leap Headset $2,295
You need to use a game engine as game engines update state as the user interacts with your program.
- Unreal Engine 4 (UE4)
- Amazon Lumberyard
- Unreal Engine: C++. Though you can use UE4’s visual scripting language, Blueprints.
- Amazon Lumberyard: C++ and Lua
Though you can buy many ready made design assets, incase you want to design your own 3D modeling and animation assets, here are a few tools:
- Blender (you can get started with Blender only)
- 3DS Max
- Cinema 4D
Here is a list of VR courses that you can do:
- PluralSight: There is a list of VR courses on PluralSight
- Udacity : Udacity has 3 pathways: VR Foundations, VR High Immersion, VR Mobile 360
- Udemy: Here is one of the many courses on VR with Unreal Engine.
- Coursera: A couple of courses with certification
- EdX: 4 courses on VR with certification
- VR Dec School: FREE courses mainly using Unity
- Zenva: Zenva’s VR mini degree using mainly Unreal, C#
- LinkedIn: A couple of classes mostly by
- Circuit Stream: One on one courses on VR development with Unity and AR
- BitDegree:Learn how to make VR games from scratch: A simple Unity VR Tutorial
- Unity: Introduction to XR: VR, AR and MR
- Unreal: Unreal Engine’s online learning platform. Suggested if you’ve made up your mind about Unreal Engine
- Learn XR: A short course to get up and running with VR using Unity3D
- Microsoft Mixed Reality Toolkit https://microsoft.github.io/MixedRealityToolkit-Unity/Documentation/GettingStartedWithTheMRTK.html
Here are some platforms on which you can put up stuff you’ve made in VR:
- Virtuality by Futurism
- VR Today Magazine
- Upload VR
- A List of 50 VR blogs and online magazines