Despite the technology still being in its infancy, virtual reality has already made a big impact in the world of games, architecture and product design, and the demand for immersive application development is high. If you have the skills for it (or the ambition to learn those skills), with the cost of the necessary hardware coming down all the time, there’s never been a better time to branch out into developing virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR)/mixed reality (MR) experiences.
The most important skill you will need is the ability to design in three dimensions as these experiences need to let the consumer interact with them in 3D. This means mastering 3D modelling or scanning in 3D, becoming familiar with 3D game-development platforms like Unity and Unreal, and learning how to manipulate 360 images and video. All of these processes are very compute-heavy, so you need high-end computing power if you don’t want to be staring at the screen twiddling your thumbs when you apply changes or re-render your designs.
What tech do I need?
To avoid these possible lags in your work schedule, you will need to invest in a powerful, air-cooled workstation or server, with some high-end graphic cards that can deal with these kinds of applications. It’s also worth futureproofing yourself by choosing a flexible set up that allows you to upgrade or expand on its functionality and power as you need it.
Fortunately, there are computing rigs out there specifically designed for 3D and VR development straight off the shelf. The creators of headsets such as Oculus and HoloLens have gone out of their way to work with computing suppliers to ensure that their server or workstation set-ups are as pain-free as possible for you to create experiences on (as it’s in their interests to encourage you to develop for them).