The technology of the future is here and just as we began to settle into our new surroundings we were immediately jolted into the development of the new technological revolution. Virtual Reality has become, at least in a way, ubiquitous. It can be seen virtually everywhere you go from pharmacy stores to chain big box stores. It’s talked about on your favorite radio stations and T.V. shows.
There is no denying that VR is here and will most likely only increase in velocity as a terminal speed is yet to be even hypothesized. That is why it is imperative for developers everywhere to acknowledge it and integrate it into their repertoires.
For those in the midst of developing, or thinking about it, this list will show you 3 ways to improve and streamline your VR projects:
1. Upgrade Hardware
This is perhaps the most obvious improvement on the outset but is generally not pursued due to the expense of it with unfavorable results. Virtual Reality is a demanding tool that requires incredible computing power for a smooth running application.
The headsets are also partly to blame as most are not interested in the highest quality display image but rather the effect of the 3D image itself. This has caused issues in the past and still persists as an annoyance as it tends to affect the user in adverse ways.
When developing, it’s important to keep in mind that you are essentially programing two 1080p screens to run at 90 frames per second.
That is the equivalent of two very smooth high definition games running at the same time on one pc. Understanding this can elucidate the importance of hardware both in terms of the VR headset and the computing platform.
Development computers must have the ability to multi thread at incredible rates while also having the gpu capability to run two HD screens at an ideal 120 frames per second (fps). Rendering can be the biggest issue as a CPU bottleneck would limit the effect of even high performance applications.
We see this in the mobile markets primarily, as well as lower performance computers, which puts an even greater emphasis. So, all of this to say that upgrading your hardware, expenses and all, is not only a good idea but will most likely set you a class ahead in terms of development. The highest quality doesn't mean pure cpu power but rather keeping high frames on lower end equipment.
Keep this in mind as you are planning your VR apps or you can find yourself out of the running before the race even starts.
2. Implement a Timetable
One of the most incredible aspects of developing VR is that the limitations are creatively non-existent. When the tech is the only issue, and a fairly fixable one, then the boundless possibilities of VR represent a developer’s dream.
If one is not careful however, the spacious nature of development can lead to projects bloating and never being finished. That is why it is imperative that any and all developers have strict guidelines and build times so that proper testing can be done and the app can move to market without going incredibly over budget.
Due to the nature of the platform, the greatest and most sophisticated computer will still have to develop for consumer VR platforms which are primarily mobile. This makes the timeline all the more important as what the VR world needs is more apps to test the market, not one or two perfect apps. Certainly you should push yourself but keep in mind that the limitations of the platform will limit what you can do. Having a product is better than a good idea.
3. Choose the Right Software
As Virtual Reality proliferates through the clouded doldrums of technology to the forefront of consumer media, more and more companies are developing VR design environments. The best programmers need the best and most efficient software to make their virtual dreams come true. To that end, there are a number of tools that can greatly improve and streamline VR development.
The engine Unity is the best free engine available while Unreal is a close second. Along with the engine there are a number of SDKs released by hardware creators like the Google Cardboard SDK which allows for custom Android development on the Cardboard hardware.
There are also free environment generators like forest environments or cities that will place the user in an environment with no additional work for the developer.
As VR adoption grows, developing for the platform will go from niche to necessary. This is not just a fad as most analysts see the trend of Virtual Reality being more aggressive as the possibilities begin to show themselves to developers and the rest of the world.
There is no better time to join the VR developing world and biting the bullet on buying high end hardware and making use of the available software will definitely get you on your way. Just remember that VR app development is incredibly rewarding and the work you put in could transform the VR market. The world is just waiting for the killer VR app. Why can’t it be yours?
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