Jan 23, 2019

Top Virtual Reality Software for Designers and Developers

Virtual reality (VR) is already a booming segment of the technology industry. However, experts predict that what we're seeing now is only the beginning. In fact, Statista reports that the VR and closely related augmented reality (AR) markets will grow from an estimated $27 billion in 2018 to more than $209 billion in 2022. With that kind of boom comes opportunity. As demand for VR software, programs, and applications continues growing, the need for people who are skilled in working with virtual reality design software also grows. And, CNBC notes that the supply for workers in the field is limited.

Whether you're thinking of toying around with virtual reality creation software on the side or you're serious about breaking into VR as a career move, you need a few key things on your side. The first are passion and creativity, which are the building blocks of any successful career. The second are programming skills and the know-how needed to build sophisticated programs and applications. To help you get started, check out a few of the top free virtual reality software options available.

Unreal Engine

Popular among game designers, this VR software provides versatility and flexibility with interesting features that allow users to create everything from simple 2D platforms to movie-like experiences. It's free, and Unreal Engine also has an integrated marketplace where you can buy tools to enhance your work.

Unity 3D

If you're already familiar with JavaScript or C#, you'll have an easy time getting into the scripting of this free VR development tool. Unity 3D is among the most popular options out there, and it has a large community behind it that provides abundant resources and information to help you learn as you go. You can preview what you're working on in a head-mounted display, which helps speed up prototype creation.

Blender

Blender is a free modeler that's popular among VR developers. Blender is open-source free software that's written in Python. It's available for Mac, Windows, and Linux, and it has extensive documentation to take you through the different features like animation, lighting, and ultraviolet ray mapping. There's a large community behind it, offering many online tutorials and forums to help you along the way.

Lumberyard

Another free gem, Lumberyard is specifically for game developers. Users love this VR game engine from Amazon for its incredible 3D environment, real-time effects, and its editor, which brings features like camera frameworks, weather effects, and more options to the table.

Now that you have a few ideas about the free VR software available, it's time to start sharpening your skills. If you're new to the field, consider enrolling in an Intro to Programming course. If you're looking to enhance the programming skills you already have, look through the Udacity catalog to find a VR- or programming-related course to help take you where you want to go.