Getting real with Virtual Reality; mobile developer options

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rVirtual reality and- as I’ve indicated in this article – Augmented Reality is getting stronger each day.

While the technology has been around for quite some time, it appears that the increasing amount of VR content and the availability via the web and low budget viewers like Google’s Cardboard finally let the people get the hang of it.

Giving the public a taste on how the extra dimensions of Virtual Reality can contribute to storytelling and sharing experiences seems to have sparked the entire concept.

This article dives into some of the options a mobile developer has to create a VR experience for themselves.
Read more on some of the easiest resources that help you to create your next Virtual Reality mobile project after the break.

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Although I am a real gadget/tech geek and backed a cool gadget that turned my iPhone into a 3d cam, and tried out an Oculus Rift once or twice, I didn’t upgrade my stack to the latest VR experience.

To my surprise, I got a gift set called “VR Vizion” from my family that included a smartphone holder (a VR Viewer), a BlueTooth headset and a BlueTooth remote.

A couple of content providing initiatives like Within and Discover VR make finding the latest content really easy. Finding all those different types of content – from entertainment to infotainment and educational movies – really showed me the potential.
Because full 3d VR video is large  most content is limited to a short amount of time, varying from a couple of minutes up to 15 minutes. Interactive applications such as games or interactive scenarios seem to be available but relatively low resolution and limited to exploring smaller worlds.

[ad name=”Generic Large Mobile Banner 320 x 100″] Nevertheless, the content is becoming richer and more creative by the day. So let’s dive into some of the big players nowadays.

  • Google Cardboard
    Google Cardboard
    The big G made the whole cardboard to be more than just a cardboard viewer. It has become a synonym for showing content and apps using side by side stereo viewing. The same image is shown on your smartphone or other mobile device and shows the content from a slightly different angle.They currently have their own website and SDK up at the Cardboard Developer website with SDKs for Native iOS, Android and other frameworks like Unity or the Unreal engine.For mobile devs using Xamarin there also is a Google Cardboard component available that lets you set up an app with Cardboard for Android (no iOS support apparently).
    One of the more generic things interesting things to check out is the VR View component that lets you embed VR views on your website or hybrid project.As you can see Cardboard has already covered a lot of ground and enables you to deliver solutions for native mobile environments and web-based desktop- and mobile solutions.
  • Samsung Gear VR Framework Project
    Samsung Developer-connection-logo
    Although Samsung’s VR framework regretfully  requires specific Hardware and is Android only I didn’t want to omit it on this list. Samsung has been one of the front-runners on Virtual Reality by creating a set of hardware that completes the VR solution.
    Their set of devices containing a 3D camera and a Virtual Reality Goggle set that complement your Smartphone device is what helped opening doors for both content viewers- and creators all over the world.
    If you have a Samsung Gear VR set be sure to check out this Joy Of Android blog post titled Problems with the Samsung Gear VR Now and How To Fix Them. It will help you getting your Gear configuration going for you.
  • A-Frame
    A-frame.io
    Do you want to create your own interactive 3D Virtual Reality world and you don’t mind creating it element by element? Do you love using straightforward web syntax? Then A-Frame probably is your best entry gate into the magic kingdom of VR.A-Frame provides a framework with a clean SDK that has a low learning curve to create your first projects. After looking into this, I got enthusiastic because it really enables a developer to quickly get a setup going for you.As a mobile developer, you can rejoice since A-Frame is suitable for being embedded into Hybrid mobile apps or desktop apps. If you’re more into Vive or Rift, that’s covered too. This tutorial shows off some of the possibilities for creating your own interactive scenes complete with nice 3D background environments and more (view the demo here).
So there you have it. A list of some of the frameworks that gets you going into the VR universe.

Whether you’re building a native or hybrid app or working on a Progressive Web App, there is really no excuse that will prevent you from making your first steps into a Virtual environment.

Just make sure you’ve got all your angles covered on your first mobile Virtual Reality project and you’ll be fine.

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