Virtual Reality Development Tools

 

There are many different tools  which can be used for developing virtual reality (VR). One of the most popular tools may be Unity3D. However for the purpose of this project, only simpler tools which can be used by teachers and students for education, are reviewed.

VR Development Tools for Education

  1. InstaVR 

 

This app is easy to use and learn, and there is no coding involved. No installation is required as it is web-based, but one needs to sign-up to explore and use to  create a VR the app. 

The free version free version allows 5 VR scenes per project and 1GB of storage, but is a "slow lane" single packaging with a max app size of 100MB, on iOS, Android and Gear VR, and for 2 VR devices.The Pro version (USD199 yearly) has unlimited scenes allowance and 100GB storage, unlimited app size and can be used on Occulus Rift, HTC and unlimited devices 

To use the app, we would need to add 360 pictures and videos, and use links to add. The text may be limited in colour and font, and the web-app may be sluggish, especially for the free version.  

The tutorial on using it can be viewed here. The have also a lot of testimonies from clients


          2. Vizor VR


 

This app is a web-based editing and 360 Web VR creation tool.

Vizor 360° is easy to use and can be created almost immediately using the drag and drop features to create 360° WebVR experiences! It seems there are co-edit capabilities and more options for interactivity, and the interface resembles Unity, a VR development system (Hu-Au, 2017)

They also have a web-based VR tool, Patches, which features a drag and drop feature to add objects. Patches is a visual programming editor for building WebVR and WebGL experiences. With over 350 patches, ranging from low level programming, loops, variables and arrays to colour pickers and interaction triggers, it is a modular system for building complex webVR projects. Patches is free to use, released under an MIT licence

Some examples which were done are Rocket Launcher and Magic Carpet Ride. And a 360 VR.

 

            3. Cospaces.io


CoSpaces Edu is an app for online VR creation. There are some free 3D objects provided to build on, and  other pre-made 3D objects which can be purchased to be added. Motions and interactivity can be programmed with Blockly for the 3D objects or Javascript. However, the Basic free version has limited  motions and interactivity with Blockly.  

The Basic version is free provides class management for one class with 30 seats for only one assignment and 2 spaces, and but the Pro version which charges USD3.50 per seat has unlimited seats, assignments, spaces and coding with Blockly. The spaces created can be viewed on Android and iOS. It can also be used with  HTC Vive, using WebVR, an Internet application compatible with the latest version of Firefox, or SteamVR. Technical support and requirements are stated. 

There are some examples of what has been done can be seen here. Pirates  and Cospaces meets the real worldCurse of the Cospaces is a game environment to explore in a virtual world. The Cospaces app needs to be downloaded on the mobile device to view using the VR mode with a headset. The CoSpaces app can be downloaded from Google play store or appstore respectively.

             4. EnTiTi Creator by Waking App

The program needs to be downloaded on the PC to be used to create AR and VR environments. In order to view it on a mobile device, EnTiTi Viewer Mobile App (Google Play store) needs to be downloaded. 

At the moment, it can be used on iOS or Android Google Cardboard.

EnTiTi Creator is relatively easy to use to design VR environments as there are some templates, and 3D models you created or got from other sites can be integrated in the environment. There is programming involved for motion and interactivity. The VR environment created can be previewed before publishing using a token identified to view it. However, the EnTiTi Viewer Mobile App is needed to view the creations.

 



For advanced coders using Javascript, you may like to explore Experiments, which is a site for coders to share their experiments using Chrome, Android, AI, WebVR, AR and more, with tools and resources, to inspire others to create new experiments. For some WebVR Experiments, see the link here and for Chrome Experiments, see the link here


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References

Hu-Au, E. (2017, Feb 3). Tools for VR Creation in the Classroom. Retrieved from http://virtualrealityforeducation.com/tools-vr-creation-classroom/

Virtual reality for education (2018). Retrieved from http://virtualrealityforeducation.com/google-cardboard-resources/web-based-vr-creation-tools/

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