Keynotes from Virtual Reality Developers’ Meetup 2.0

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Keynotes from Virtual Reality Developers’ Meetup 2.0

Last week, VR Developers Community Nepal in collaboration with Robotics Association Nepal (RAN), Google Developers Group (GDG) Kathmandu and Semantic Creation organized a Virtual Reality Developers’ Meetup for techies in the valley. In recent times, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality has become a subject of interest for everyone.

Speakers Bobby Basnyat, Saurav Bajracharya and Sajesh Khadgi, co-founders at Semantic Creation,  provided some key insights into the world of Virtual Reality, which has also been a subject of interest for Nepalis. “The registration form showed 70% developers, 20% designers and 10% others which included musicians, businessmen, animator and photographer. In a typical developers’ meet-up, there would be 100% developers. It shows that VR sparks interests towards all,” says Bobby Basnyat.

As such, I thought it would be beneficial for all, especially to those who could not attend the event, if I wrote keynotes from the event.

 

The concept of VR is not new

Ever since the dawn of science, humans have thought of developing experience of being present somewhere else. Things have progressed since. The base of VR – Stereoscopic view – was invented back in 1838 and virtual tourism was developed back in 1939. It also has been part of Science Fiction stories since 1930.

However, only in 1950 did people try to build VR experience for consumers, but the technology wasn’t mature enough. We have finally reached the era of technological maturity to develop VR on customer level, and that too affordably. This was most realized by Oculus VR Company which was founded in 2012, and when Facebook bought it for $2 billions, people have been speculating that VR is the next future. The progress even gained further pace when Google launched Google Cardboard in 2014, which proved that we only need our mobile phone and headsets that can be built out of cardboards and lens, something equivalent to a Grade 4 Science Project, for seamless VR experience.

The trend has reached Nepal. But even so, the presence of VR in Nepal is minimal. The mission of the meetup was to amplify the community for VR developers.

 

 Platform for Virtual Reality Developers in Nepal

www.virtualrealitynepal.com is the platform that was launched in the meet up. Nepali VR developers and enthusiasts can share knowledge and information through the website. The website focuses on VR related news, tutorials and blogs to assist VR developers. “VR is creating louder and louder buzz in tech world. So it is important to keep updated with the VR scenario since VR is rapidly changing and adapting right now. We want to do it through the portal,” says Bobby.

 

The scope of VR

Sajesh Khadgi said, “total valuation of the VR market including hardware and software in estimated to cross 6.7 billion in 2016 alone and over $70 billion by 2020. In 2016 alone, more than $1.1 billion has been already invested in virtual reality related startups. This shows how big the VR market is.” The possible fields in development of VR applications is huge, including gaming, cinema, experiential learning, creativity, tourism, and so on.

 

UI and UX in VR

Sajesh further talked about the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) in VR experience.  “While mobile phone apps are like tea-time friends, something you engage with now and then for updates or time-kills, using VR apps is like reading a book where you will have to immerse the user into the app. You will have to build an environment and make the user’s brain think that the environment is real,” says Sajesh. For that to happen, developers must pay attention to even the smallest of details. For example, if you are in a jungle but the winds don’t move the leaves or there’s no sound of insects, the user’s brain will never believe it is in a jungle. But this should not be overdone. Else it won’t seem real and will irritate the user. You need to blend your app components in this environment perfectly and compel the user to turn his head and look all over and be anxious to explore more.

 

Creating your VR game in Unity

Saurav Bajracharya showed how Unity can be used to develop VR games. Firefighter, a simple game, for Google Cardboard using Unity and Google VR was shown in the session. The game creates a virtual park which can be travelled. A landmark is set on fire; you find it and put it off with water. The source code of the live code session at the event can be found at: https://github.com/vrnepal/firefighter

If you have any queries regarding VR development, or if you want to be part of this young, vibrant and growing community of VR developers and enthusiasts through virtualrealitynepal.com and Facebook group DN: VR Developers Nepal.

 

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Guest Friday, 14 December 2018