In recent years, VR has become more accessible to everyday consumers as well as hobbyist developers.
Many of you may want to try your hand at developing VR experiences of your own.
Luckily for you, it’s easier than ever, and you have a myriad of tools available to you to really streamline your development.
In this post, we will shed light upon:
- The types of VR experiences you can develop
- Movement within virtual reality
- An overview of the popular engines used to develop VR experiences
- How to avoid motion sickness issues in your VR experiences
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
So without further ado, let’s get into it.
The Fundamentals of VR Development
To start off, let’s talk about the basics and the types of VR experiences that you can develop.
Essentially, there are two main types of VR experiences that you can create:
- Stationary VR experiences
- Room-scale VR experiences
Stationary VR Experiences
As the name suggests, stationary VR experiences require little to no movement from the user. As a result, while users can still use the VR headset to look around the environment, no additional head movement is kept track of.
Some examples of stationary VR experiences include amusement park ride simulations, some FPS games, and other experiences where the user is not required to move as much.
Stationary VR experiences are easier to develop.
Hence, we highly recommend that if this is your first attempt at developing a VR game, you should start with this type.
Furthermore, such experiences are also considered to be more accessible. This is because they don’t demand a ton of movement from the user. They can just sit down, relax and experience it with ease.
Room-Scale VR Experiences
Room-scale VR experiences are on the other end of the spectrum when it comes to the movement required from the user. Head movement tracking is a lot more prevalent and realized within such VR experiences.
Users are able to look around, crouch, turn and look over objects. All of these movements are conducted by the user, and ideally, they should be accurately reflected within the virtual world.
Headsets that are designed for room-scale experiences typically have much more sophisticated sensors. Plus, they also have a lot more of them compared to stationary VR headsets.
Room-scale VR experiences are more immersive but harder to develop.
Examples of VR headsets that support this type of VR experience include:
- The Oculus Quest 2
- The HTC Vive Pro 2
- The Valve Index
- The Playstation VR Headset
Movement Within Virtual Reality
Before you begin to develop your VR app or game, you must also consider what type of movement you want within it.
Largely, you can choose between two different types of movement:
- Smooth movement
Teleportation, as the name suggests, involves your character teleporting from point A to point B.
The points where the user can move to can either be dictated by the user or you can have pre-determined specific points within the virtual reality space for the user to choose from.
The former gives the user more freedom but is harder to program. The latter is easier to program but, obviously, results in a far more restricted experience.
This is exactly how it sounds and exactly how it happens in real life as well as within regular video games.
An input is given to the game through either a motion controller or a regular controller, and you can use that input to move around the virtual space.
As you provide the movement, you’ll watch your character from point A to point B according to the input that you gave to it.
Smooth movement is more immersive but harder to program.
Not only must you be proficient in programming to ensure the movement seems natural, you must also be weary of motion sickness issues.
Motion sickness within VR can make a game unplayable and it’s very important that you take the necessary precautions to ensure your game doesn’t induce such symptoms. We’ll talk more about nausea and motion sickness later in this post.
VR Game Engines
A game engine is a piece of software or a framework that comes with many tools to help you develop your game.
They take care of the nitty-gritty details of your game such as physics, graphics rendering, etc. This leaves you free to focus on the more unique aspects of your video game and how they work.
When it comes to popular game engines that are used to develop VR experiences, the two most relevant ones are:
- Unreal Engine
Unity is an extremely popular game engine that has been used to develop a variety of video games in the past. This includes VR games, AR games, mobile games, console games, and much more.
It’s a highly versatile engine that provides you with a wide variety of tools to bring your VR experience to life.
Furthermore, it’s quite user-friendly and is easy to get into if you have not developed a game before.
The programming language used within the Unity engine is C#.
The Unreal Engine is a high-end game engine that has a wide bundle of tools to create your game. It’s a sophisticated game engine with realistic physics and particle effects. Furthermore, you can use it to develop VR experiences that look extremely realistic.
That being said, it’s definitely harder to develop with the Unreal Engine than it is with Unity. We recommend that you should only go for Unreal Engine if you have some prior experience with game development.
The programming used within the Unreal Engine is C++.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is it Hard to Make a VR Game?
It’s definitely not easy to make a VR game that’s worth playing. You have to have extensive knowledge of programming and VR development.
It’s something that requires a lot of patience, but if you’re willing to learn, you’ll definitely be able to make one within due time.
How Much Will it Cost to Make a VR Game?
It will depend on the scale of the VR game and how grand of an experience you want to create.
If you want to start off simple, all you really need is a VR headset.
However, if you want to create a full-scale VR gaming experience, then it can cost anywhere from $5000 to $15000.
What Programming Language is VR Coded in?
That will depend on the game engine that you use.
As we mentioned above, the two most popular engines are Unity and Unreal Engine. They use C# and C++ as their programming languages, respectively.
Is Being a VR Developer a Good Career Path?
Yes. VR has been making great strides in the past few years, and research and development within the field are only continuing to grow.
It’s one of the fastest-growing technology-related fields in the world right now.
Are VR Jobs in Demand Right Now?
Yes. Big names such as Meta, Google, and Apple are all looking for AR and VR developers to work in their research and development departments.
It’s a field that is growing at a rapid rate and many large conglomerates are looking for talented individuals to push the potential of virtual reality forward.
Developing VR can be very difficult since there’s a lot to learn.
However, if you have patience and the willingness to try, fail and learn from your mistakes, you’ll be able to create a great VR game in due time.
Just remember to not give up.