How to develop VR apps and Games?

Basic review of technologies and VR hardware

In this article, we try to explain how to develop VR application. VR application or game includes 3D models, animations, scripts, art. For VR development you should use engines like UE4 and Unity3D, for testing your game or application have to use VR headsets. Let`s check types of VR glasses and game dev engines.

VR Glasses and platforms:

HTC Vive

1. HTC VIVE (PC) - HTC Vive is one of the best VR glasses for PC.

High quality, good resolution, powerful GPU like GeForce GTX1080 + Core i7 give users opportunity to play the best VR games. Vive`s controllers and tracking system works good but needs correct setups.

The tracking system works well in a distance between trackers 3-4 meters, so users can rotate 360 degrees without any problems.
Advantages: PC platform with high-performance GPU and CPU; Steam VR; good quality of controllers; good tracking system.
Disadvantages: High cost ($800 + PC $2000 - $3000); wires connection; big size of headset; refresh rate; without internal headphones.

Oculus Touch

2. Oculus (PC) - Oculus is a high-quality product the same as Vive but Oculus has a different type of tracking system - motion + external visual positioning.

Oculus has more comfortable design and internal headphones. Oculus also works on PC platform and has Steam VR store, so users have access to numbers of VR games and VR apps.

The tracking system has just one tracker, so you can stay back to the tracker. Touch controllers very comfortable and convenient.
Advantages: PC platform with high-performance GPU and CPU; Steam VR; good quality of controllers; internal headphones; size of headset;
Disadvantages: High cost ($500 + PC $2000-$3000); wires connection; refresh rate; visual tracking system.

PlayStation VR

3. PlayStation VR (PS 4) - PSVR developed only for PlayStation 4 console and use visual positioning tracking system with motion camera.

PSVR looks supplies with PS console, so users don`t need to buy an expensive PC. PS Store has a lot of interesting games but a little numbers of VR games.

Of course, PSVR has controllers for interactive VR games, they looks not so convenient as Oculus or Vive`s controllers.

As for refresh rate, PlayStation VR has better refresh rate than Oculus and Vive but has less resolution per eye.

Advantages: PS 4 platform; good quality of controllers; PS store; cost (PS+camera+PSVR=$850).
Disadvantages: wires connection; refresh rate; big size of headset; visual tracking system; without internal headphones.

Samsung Gear VR

4. Samsung Gear VR (Android + Samsung Phones) - Gear VR the most sales VR headset for this moment - more than 8 million pcs sold.

Samsung in cooperation with Oculus developed VR glasses for powerful Samsung's phones to bring a quality VR to the mobile phones market.

Gear VR more comfortable than Oculus, Vive or PSVR because has less size and just one belt for holding on the head.

Advantages: Android platform; good quality; Play market; cost ($149 includes controllers + SGS8), without wires (phone battery).
Disadvantages: working time (limited by phone battery); motion tracking system, phone overheating.

Google Daydream

5. Google DayDream (Android 7 and more + DayDream ready phone) - Google has developed a cardboard heir, the DayDream is beautiful, convenient and is designed for the mass market of mobile VR as well as the Gear VR.

Google`s VR device has the simple controller and works on Android 7 and higher. The controller is using for navigation in menus, games and virtual walks in Google Street View. The installed sensors are used to determine the orientation of the controller and the approximate position of the user's hand.

Daydream is the good platform to watch YouTube 360 video, Google Street, and to play Simple VR games, so you can't feel the same as in Oculus and Vive.

Advantages: Android platform; Play market; cost ($79 includes controller + Pixel phone), without wires (phone battery).
Disadvantages:working time (limited by phone battery); motion tracking system, software.

Other glasses: OSVR (PC) - open source VR: good glasses with open code for developers; Xiaomi Mi VR 2 - analogue of Daydream; etc.

3D engines and technologies:

3D engines. A VR development process is the same as a games development process but you should make some setting of camera view and communication with the 3D world.

The most popular engines for VR apps development are Unity3D and Unreal Engine. Both engines have wide features and powerful games dev tools. For this moment these engines are leaders on the market.

Unity3D VS UE4

The Unity3D engine has assets store with big numbers of environments and 2D/3D models, materials and scripts, it helps to reduce the cost of VR games development and makes dev process faster.

UE4 is more optimized for computation and gives a better picture. UE4 and Unity3D are multi-platforms engines, so you can develop games for PC, Android, IOS, Web etc.
Our VR developers use the Unity3D engine because it`s easier for studying, it`s the powerful tool for VR apps and games development. Moreover, for small projects, we use content from Unity Assets Store to save our clients money and time.

3DModels and Games art. 3D models, art and visual effects for VR game you can create in 3DSMax, Maya 3D, Blender, ZBrush or you can use ready solutions from Unity Assets Store, CGTrader or TurboSquid.

3D models ZBrush

Scripts and coding. For coding of a game mechanic, you can use C# or JavaScript. Unity Store has a lot of ready scripts and UE4 has a special system of blueprints to make easier the game development process.

Sound and audio effects. You can use sound from different websites or create and edit it in Audacity software.

Server side. If you need a server for a back-end, we recommend using Photon server service or AWS. They developed for multiplayer games. The back-end is so complicated part of VR games development, so we propose you using the help of back-end engineers.

Online stores. In the end of the VR development, you can upload your game or application to online stores like Steam VR, Play Market, Appstore. A lot of information how to do it you can find on the internet.


As you can see VR apps development is so interesting but complicated process. You have to know basic things about games development, coding, 3d modeling to create simple VR apps or game.
If you need high-quality virtual reality application you have to spend 1-2 year for studying of VR dev process or choose another way - to hire VR developers.

We`ve just tried to show you basic steps of VR development. Of course, you can watch a lot of videos on YouTube and discover this subject more deeply.

VR-Genesis is VR apps and VR games development studio, we provide software development outsourcing services for entrepreneurs, startups, enterprises. Contact us for consultation.

Read our article: How much does VR apps development cost?

  • Date: 15/07/2017;
  • Autor: Alex Lyubavin;

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