My VR Development Environment, 2017

Blog Posts ,Hardware ,Programming ,Random Musings ,Software ,Virtual Reality
January 2, 2017

I can’t believe that 2016 is now officially over!

The past year was an absolutely incredible year for VR & AR development. We got all sorts of access to hardware with the Oculus, Vive, Daydream, HoloLens, and Tango development kits going on sale, WebVR has begun to come into its own (I expect we’ll see serious improvements here in the next year), and advancements have been made across the board around the tools we can use to build immersive environments. I figured it made sense to do a fresh, “here’s what I’m building with in 2017” write up on the current tools and software that I’m using in my day to day work around building VR & AR apps.

I’m alternating right now between my VR-ready MSI Steath laptop and a desktop PC that I built (you can find the specs in the side bar), both of which are running Windows 10 Enterprise. Generally speaking, I’ll use the same setup for each machine, unless otherwise noted.

Development Tools

Interaction & Graphics-heavy applications: Unity 5.5, Visual Studio Community Edition 2015

Prototype & Light weight mobile-friendly VR apps: Visual Studio Code and a WebVR Emulation Plugin for WebVR development (Three.JS or A-Frame)

Version Control: Git – LFS

Non-VR Websites: (Usually) Node.JS & Bootstrap

Terminal: PowerShell w/ Node & Git in PATH

Virtual & Augmented Reality

Desktop headsets: Oculus Rift CV1 + Touch, HTC Vive

Mobile VR: Samsung S6 Edge with a Gear VR Innovator Edition Gen 2 or Homido headset

Mixed Reality: HoloLens Developer Kit

Design & Miscellaneous Tools

Vector Graphics: Affinity Designer

Photography Modifications: GIMP

Web graphics: Canva.com

3D models for VR Apps: Blender

3D models for 3D Printing: 3D Builder

Screen Capture: OBS

In addition to the above software, I’ve been experimenting with the open-source High Fidelity VR platform, and I’m particularly fascinated at the opportunity to bring in chat bot technology in different forms into VR experiences. I’m also on the lookout for a solid, Windows-friendly video editing software, so if you have recommendations, please let me know! This is going to be a great year to explore the playground of development tools for creating immersive tech, and I couldn’t be more excited to see what 2017 brings to the metaverse!

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