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Part 2 – Virtual Reality – I’m a Developer

VR Growth

Okay, so I’m a developer. What do I need to know to get started in VR? The VR space is growing at a tremendous pace right now. How much?

According to the job listing site Indeed,

Since 2014, both AR/VR (augmented-reality, virtual-reality) gaming jobs and searches for positions with that expertise have seen dramatic growth. AR/VR jobs have experienced over 400% growth, while searches for AR/VR gaming jobs experience over 1,500% growth.

Whether you are new to programming, a seasoned vet, or somewhere in between, VR development is definitely worth a look. VR application goes beyond games as well. If you are looking for a career pivot I think VR (and AR) is a perfect fit. Not into games? There are so many commercial and industrial processes that are begging for a better solution to common problems.

What Do I Need To Get Started?


Since we’re developers here, let’s get to the specs. The hard truth is you are going to need some decent hardware just to get started. You’ll need a VR-ready PC. To get an idea of what you’ll need you can check out the recommended specs from Oculus and HTC. Both also have great compatibility tools that will check your PC for you.

For head mounted displays, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are currently popular options. The hardware advancements are happening so quickly that staying up to date on their changes is a challenge.


There are two major engines for VR development – Unreal Engine and Unity. There are some varying reasons to use either one but for me the deciding factor is the language supported. Unreal Engine uses C++ while Unity is mostly C# – UnityScript, a Javascript-like scripting language is being phased out. Here is a quick guide with a few more details on their differences.

Unity in actionUnity script in Visual Studio Code


For assets, both engines have excellent asset stores that offer some great free options as well as more high end game-ready assets. To make your own, Google offers Blocks, a really easy modeling platform where you can design your own assets from within your VR headset! Check out Maya and Blender as well for more comprehensive modeling and asset development.


WebVR is a javascript api that provides support for virtual reality devices. What does this mean? It means as developer you can write an application with WebVR and have it available on most major displays – Rift, Vive, and browsers. The obvious benefit here is not having to download or install anything to view your application. I’d recommend checking out the subreddit /r/WebVR to learn more!

So Much More

As I said before, the VR space is exploding. Check out some of these other resources and go create!