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Beginning VR Development (2015) (msdn.com)
79 points by thedayisntgray on Sept 22, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 23 comments

Check out A-Frame (https://aframe.io) for a super simple way to get started with VR in the browser. Even Liv who created this awesome introduction (almost a year ago) has been repping more WebVR at recent conference talks. Microsoft even recently announced intent to develop WebVR APIs for Microsoft Edge.

I can't wait for WebVR in Edge. They are doing it specifically to support Hololens. I recently did two projects for clients, a VR app in WebVR and an AR app in Unity. The ridiculously long compile and load times in Unity, plus the dual-headed editing experience of using the Unity editor and Visual Studio were significant impediments to the development process. In WebVR, I was significantly more productive because I could test so much faster, sometimes even tweaking settings on the fly without having to reload the app. Once Edge in Hololens gets WebVR, I can dump Unity and stick to my own framework, Primrose (https://primrosevr.com)

+1 to Kevin's note about Aframe - I've been building on it for a few months now, and can attest to it being the easiest entry point for devs with even the most basic chops. Plus Kevin and team run an awesome Slack group for devs that's very responsive.

Here's a fun showcase of aframe projects: https://github.com/aframevr/awesome-aframe#scenes

This looks pretty cool.

I have a question for the VR developers here. I'm interested in content for architecture and a few other things, but is anyone seriously experimenting with content other than games? Maybe it's a bit too early.

Healthcare and education are two of the big use cases I'm seeing outside of the gaming space. Architecture and real estate is another space that is seeing traction. Right now a lot of energy is going into improving how people work with 3D tooling (engines, 3D modeling and formats, etc) but I can say concretely that I see quite a few non-gaming projects and companies working in a number of verticals with VR.

I'm also primarily seeing production use cases of Journalism, E-Commerce, Real Estate for WebVR.

I'm loving A-Frame! I should definitely do an updated video for it, I'm still working with it a lot and I'm so impressed by how powerful it's becoming.

Interesting to see this coming from Microsoft as they are more firmly footed in the AR space than VR. Note that they promote non MS products (Rift/Vive, Unity/Unreal) - because they don't really have any.

I think this points to MS really embracing cross-platform friendliness.

Right now, all tethered VR projects are arguably MS-dependent; there's no way to run those headsets on OS X or Linux, as far as I know. So it's an ecosystem thing.

And for sure, it seems that Microsoft is more interested in AR than VR. It's a big company, though. They get to do more than one thing at a time.

Oculus used to provide drivers for Linux and OSX, up to v0.4 I think. (Around this time Facebook and Microsoft became involved but I do not know whether that had any influence.)

Also, since Valve makes SteamOS which is basically Linux one would hope they'd make the Vive work on those platforms as well, but so far they have not :-(

The vive doesn't work on steamos? That is... surprising.

Glad to see the callout to QA your game with people who are outside of not only your physical experience (different heights, ability, VR tolerance, etc.) but also your personal experience (gender, life experiences, technology expertise).

VR experiences can feel vastly more real than other games, and it can be jarring to have a presentation of the self consistently out of line with your own self image. Ensuring you present the player with either something comfortable for them, or something deliberately challenging (ie, if you are going to make the character you inhabit male, it should be a deliberate choice knowing that there may likely be significant discomfort for some of your audience.)

Don't assume that a virtual body/archetype that you are comfortable with maps to something that everyone is comfortable with!

Wondering what HN thinks about VR. Will it grow enough to be a big enough market ? Till now it seems to be less than what it was hyped to be.

China is and will continue to be the largest consumer VR market for the near term (1-2 yrs). By 2018, will likely have ~4M HTC Vives live in cyber cafes, arcades and malls, and ~10M stand alone and mobile VR headsets across tier 1 cities. The rough math is about a $8B high end hardware market, $2B mid to low end mobile VR hardware market, and $2-$3B in software services and game revenues.

Almost all of the high quality, AAA games and apps will be produced by US/European studios for this period, for consumption largely by Chinese consumers.

(edited to answer your original question more directly)

I went to one of the VR arcades in Hong Kong, extremely cheap to play. They were a gaming cafe that introduced a couple Vives. Currently, from what I can tell having just toured, there are virtually no Vive arcades in mainland China. I tried those bad VR setups though (those lame 9D experiences), such poor latency. VR hasn't quite hit the mainstream hype yet.

Last month I saw a machine similar to this [1] at a trade show in Guangzhou, I asked some kids after they finished playing, they all loved it very much.

[1] https://detail.1688.com/pic/536274760161.html?spm=

I'm pretty sure that vr headset is the HTC Vive. Check it out: https://www.google.com/search?q=htc+vr&espv=2&biw=1920&bih=9...

You are right, HTC Vive is actually mentioned in their product detail page.

The listed price is 68000 RMB, about 10K USD. I guess this includes the entire headset, a high-end computer, and the platform itself. No idea how big the margin would be. Might be good at this early stage.

Shouldn't Japan be a great market? People get familiarized with the PS VR and they have a thriving arcade culture.

People sometimes make the comparison to 3D TV, but I don't recall anyone actually wanting 3D TV other than gear geeks who buy everything to fill the existential void in their souls. Also, I don't recall demos of 3D TV making converts out of people. It was neat, but once you saw it, you figured out it wasn't going to fundamentally change how media works.

VR on the other hand: if someone hasn't already been waiting for it for decades, as soon as they yet Fruit Ninja in the Vive, they immediately demand to have it in their homes. I've been working in the VR space for almost two years now and it was just a month ago when my wife got to try Fruit Ninja that she finally understood what I've been working on. "We need this in the house" she said. "We don't have the room" I replied. Which is why my company is doing a pop-up arcade here in DC until the end of October (http://notiontheory.com/notionvr).

The first consumer devices came out and they are very expensive, require a well equipped desktop, the displays are still not that great, the availability is still low and there is not a lot of software for them. Basically everything you'd expect from the first generation. VR badly needs a killer app.

I wouldn't say "very expensive". It's about $2000 all in. Most people can scrape that sort of money together if they really want. It's not like 5 years ago, when it would have cost you as much as a small car to get just a headset. That's "very expensive". Quit going out to eat and drink every weekend for half the year? Not very expensive.

And again, I wouldn't say they are "not that great". They aren't 20/20 vision great, sure, but there is still a lot you can do and it's still possible to hit "presence".

I spend a lot of time exercising with Fruit Ninja and Space Pirate Trainer. I've spent hours at a time in Tilt Brush and Fantastic Contraption. Job Simulator has some bugs, but the gameplay is fantastic and it's not just a one-and-done demo. Jon Favreau's Gnomes & Goblins is cutting edge story telling that is fitting the VR medium explicit, it's incredible. I think your waiting for some time of lots of good content that is already here.

If you fancy yourself an "innovator", you should be getting in now. You need the lead time over consumers to get a handle on how different UX design is in VR.

Liv also just published a guide to joining the Virtual Reality Industry. I found it a fun and interesting read. Check it out at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LLHGAX6/

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