The virtual reality world is evolving rapidly, and it’s no surprise that 2022 is expected to bring significant developments to the VR space. With more and more people transitioning to remote work settings, virtual reality is becoming increasingly relevant in our daily lives.
This has led to a surge in the VR market, with reports suggesting that it will grow from a $3.9 billion market size in 2018 to an astounding $24.5 billion by 2024.
As VR technology continues to evolve, VR experiences are becoming more commonplace and accessible to consumers and businesses across various industries. From entertainment and gaming to education and training, there are countless applications of VR technology.
To create these immersive VR experiences, developers and non-developers are leveraging various platforms, developer tools, and software development kits (SDKs). These tools allow them to create VR applications and experiences that are engaging, interactive, and visually stunning.
The growing popularity of Virtual reality software development also leads to increased innovation in the industry. The VR industry is constantly evolving and improving, from advancements in hardware, such as more advanced VR headsets, to new software development tools and platforms.
In this article, we’ll look at ten of the top virtual reality software development tools for 2022.
Top 10 Tools for VR Development
Blender is an excellent free, open-source 3D software suite developers widely use to create immersive virtual reality experiences. Its latest release, Blender 2.80, comes integrated with quality-level attributes, making it incredibly user-friendly.
This development tool allows developers to create high-quality animated content and visual effects and build robust virtual reality applications. It offers an extensive range of features that cater to all aspects of 3D modeling, from motion graphics to texturing and shading.
The software is built with a user-friendly support system compatible with multiple platforms and devices, making it a versatile tool for developers. It also has immense flexibility, supporting diverse file formats and allowing developers to import and export models easily.
One of the significant advantages of Blender is its built-in support for Oculus and SteamVR. This feature makes it the best metaverse development tool for game developers looking to develop VR applications.
They can quickly test and export their work, making it an excellent resource for developers new to VR development or those seeking assistance with specific tasks.
Unity is undoubtedly one of the most popular and widely used game development tools globally, with a reputation for producing top-notch virtual reality experiences. Game developers have leveraged it to create some of the most popular games in recent years, including Pokémon Go, Hearthstone, and Rimworld.
The Unity game engine offers developers a real-time game engine, high-fidelity graphics, and numerous integrations, making it a prime choice for developing virtual reality applications and experiences. Its compatibility with various VR headsets makes it a versatile tool for developers who want to cater to a broader audience.
The Unity game engine also features a VR mode, allowing developers to preview their work on their own VR headsets as they work to design their virtual environment. This feature benefits developers as they can test their applications and make necessary changes on the fly, leading to more efficient development and high-quality end products.
Unity’s extensive library of 3D assets and tools makes it easy for developers to create immersive environments and experiences. It offers a wide range of VR templates, allowing developers to jump-start their development process, and its easy-to-use interface makes it accessible to developers of all levels.
3. Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine is a leading real-time game engine and 3D creation tool highly regarded for its ability to create hyper-realistic interactive VR experiences at scale. Its impressive capabilities make it a top choice for developers who want to push the boundaries of what is possible in VR.
One of the most significant advantages of Unreal Engine is its visual fidelity, which allows for the creation of incredibly detailed and realistic environments. It offers developers a range of powerful tools, including physics simulation, advanced lighting, and particle effects, to create immersive VR experiences that look and feel realistic.
Another critical advantage of Unreal Engine is its cross-platform compatibility, which allows developers to create VR applications deployed across multiple devices and platforms, including PC, console, and mobile. This makes it an ideal tool for developers who want to reach the broadest possible audience with VR experiences.
Maya is an industry-standard software for creating 3D animations and modeling. It provides powerful tools and features for building immersive virtual reality experiences that are visually stunning and dynamic. This tool is used by professionals in the film and gaming industry, but beginners can also use it to create high-quality VR content.
With Maya, developers can easily create realistic animations and special effects in VR experiences. The software also has a dedicated VR toolset that allows developers to create VR cameras and animations efficiently.
The VR toolset lets developers test and preview their VR content, ensuring that it meets the high standards of quality and immersion required by today’s VR experiences.
Although Maya can be challenging for beginners due to its advanced features and complex user interface, it offers high control and precision, ideal for film and gaming professionals. The tool supports various file formats, enabling seamless integration with other devices and platforms.
A-Frame is a fantastic open-source web framework perfect for developing VR experiences. This framework lets you quickly build 3D WebVR scenes using HTML, making it accessible to developers with a background in web development.
A-Frame is compatible with almost all VR headsets, making it a versatile tool for developers who want to create immersive VR experiences. It also provides built-in support for various controllers, so you can easily integrate them into your VR application.
One of the best things about A-Frame is its simplicity. It is easy to learn and use, even for beginners and allows you to create complex VR environments quickly. The framework also includes a rich set of components, which you can use to develop various VR objects and scenes.
6. Amazon Sumerian
Amazon Sumerian is an excellent tool for developers looking to create immersive VR experiences with ease. With its intuitive interface and drag-and-drop editor, this platform is ideal for beginners and professionals.
One of the significant advantages of Amazon Sumerian is its support for multi-domain integration, which means that developers can easily create VR applications for various industries, such as gaming, education, and training.
Moreover, this tool offers a wide range of scripting tools and pre-built templates, making it possible for developers to create high-quality VR content without needing advanced technical knowledge.
In addition, Amazon Sumerian supports multiple VR devices, including popular ones like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Samsung Gear VR. This means developers can quickly test and deploy their VR experiences across various devices, ensuring maximum reach and engagement.
7. Steam VR
SteamVR is a popular and widely-used platform for developers creating and distributing immersive VR experiences. It is built on top of OpenVR and serves as a runtime environment for the latter. The platform provides a single interface for users to experience VR content on different hardware, significantly benefiting developers and enthusiasts.
Valve, the company behind SteamVR, intends to transition off of OpenVR. However, SteamVR remains a powerful tool for VR development, offering various features and integrations with different VR devices such as Valve Index, HTC Vive, and Oculus.
Using SteamVR, VR developers can build immersive VR experiences and distribute them to users through the SteamVR system. This makes it easier for VR enthusiasts to access the content produced by VR developers on the device of their choice.
SteamVR has been a game-changer for VR development, making it more accessible and easier for developers to create and distribute high-quality VR content.
8. Echo AR
EchoAR is an innovative cloud platform that provides developers with a powerful toolset for creating and hosting augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) applications. Its cloud-based infrastructure allows developers to build and deploy vivid 3D apps with ease quickly.
The platform offers various services and tools to support development, including web-based drag-and-drop editors and APIs for integrating models into practical applications.
Developers can easily upload their 3D models, audio, and other assets to the cloud and use the platform to create interactive AR/VR experiences that are both web and mobile-based.
One of the most significant advantages of echoAR is its flexibility, which allows developers to customize and tailor the platform to their needs. It provides hosting and streaming capabilities for three-dimensional content in real-time, making it an ideal choice for developers who need to deliver high-quality AR/VR experiences to their users quickly.
9. Open VR
OpenVR is an essential software development kit (SDK) for creating immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences. This platform offers an API and a range of tools that bridge VR devices and applications, thus making a seamless development experience.
The software can be used with various VR hardware devices, enabling developers to create multiple VR software and applications that can be used on different VR devices.
OpenVR is particularly popular among developers because it includes a range of APIs and tools that allow them to leverage their development process to create high-quality VR experiences. These APIs and tools include hand controllers, head-tracking, and room-scale VR, enabling developers to create a fully immersive VR environment.
OpenVR is compatible with several popular VR devices, including the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and is widely used in developing VR games and applications. The software is essential for any developer looking to create engaging VR content and push the boundaries of what’s possible in VR.
VRTK (Virtual Reality Toolkit) is an open-source VR development framework for Unity that provides a collection of useful scripts and tools to help developers build immersive VR experiences more efficiently.
This toolkit is designed to help developers overcome common VR development problems and create a more intuitive and natural user experience.
VRTK is ideal for VR developers who want to build interactive experiences with realistic physics, object manipulation, and locomotion, among other features. The toolkit provides a wide range of features and pre-built assets to help developers create VR applications that are both intuitive and enjoyable to use.
In conclusion, the world of VR development is constantly evolving, and new tools are emerging to help developers create immersive experiences. The ten tools discussed above are some of the best for VR development in 2023.
From game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine to modeling software like Maya and Blender, a wide range of tools are available for developers with varying levels of expertise. Cloud platforms like echoAR and development toolkits like VRTK can also help streamline development and save time.
With these tools, developers can continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible in VR and create truly breathtaking user experiences.