My VR Development Software – What are you using?

Blog Posts ,Programming ,Random Musings
April 15, 2015

I’ve been experimenting with virtual reality development for a while now, and I decided that I’d share some insight into what I use for coding on various projects as a baseline and to see where I can improve workflow. Right now, I’m particularly fascinated with WebVR and have been working on a project with JavaScript and ASP.NET, but I’ve been doing some mental recapping of some of my past test projects and thought it might be fun to share!

I’m always open to learning more about processes and tools that people are using, so feel free to drop me a line with what you’re using in your own projects.

WebVR: Experiences that run in the browser

The first site that I built for WebVR was done to get a feel for Three.JS and WWWTyro’s WebVR renderer for Three.JS. This was a really simple, entirely front-end visualization that I wrote over two days for a work “hackathon” using Atom. Realistically, this didn’t need a full two days, but it was clean and easy to stick with a simple text editor for writing out the JavaScript.

My current project is another WebVR application, but there’s a lot going on in the backend this time around and I decided to give ASP.NET a try since I’ve been working in C# on and off over the past 5 years. I’m loving being able to write in Visual Studio (I know I may be a little biased, but it’s probably my favorite IDE) and since it’s now free with Community version, I’ve been loving the full environment for learning a lot of details as I work on the new app. The NuGet package manager makes managing libraries really simple, and being relatively new to web development, that’s taken off a lot of stress off dependencies.

Detailed Environment Projects & Game Play

One of my favorite things about virtual reality is how I can build out environments that I imagine or dream about – but for this, building everything out in Three.js is complicated, so I turn to Unity, where there is an entire asset store of textures and models to make really cool environments. The prefabs make it really easy to get up and running with the basics and I get to use Visual Studio when I’m playing around on my Windows computer (though Mono Develop on Mac is pretty solid for a free IDE as well… I <3 C#)! Unity is a great option for building out a lot of end-to-end experiences, but it isn’t the easiest for integrating in a lot of non-gaming frameworks and it’s got a bit of a learning curve behind it.

Meta AR: Augmented Reality

This was another Unity development project. The Meta SDK used a Unity plugin to render a special Meta Game Object within a scene and any objects in the scene that weren’t in color would be rendered with transparency in the goggles. Like Oculus SDK, the Meta SDK has prefab drop ins for camera components that handle the majority of the AR imaging.

As more projects materialize, I’ll be updating with more tools and software. Feel free to share your tools and anything you’ve found to help with your own AR/VR development projects! I’m looking to take a stab at SceneVR next, so if you’ve played around with that I’d love to hear about your experience!

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