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Unigine Basics
1. Introduction
2. Managing Virtual Worlds
3. Preparing 3D Models
4. Materials
5. Cameras and Lighting
6. Implementing Application Logic
7. Making Cutscenes and Recording Videos
8. Preparing Your Project for Release
9. Physics
10. Optimization Basics
11. PROJECT2: First-Person Shooter
12. PROJECT3: Third-Person Cross-Country Arcade Racing Game

Developing VR Applications

Virtual Reality (VR) is an immersive environment that makes you feel inside a virtual or digitally reproduced real 3D world.

The main idea of VR is to create the illusion of human presence in a virtual environment. The person is immersed in it, identifies with the character, and lives in this environment.

VR Principles of Operation#

To understand the basics of VR systems, let's figure out how to create a virtual world.

The development of 3D content underlies the creation of VR. Then, you implement a program code and assign it to the rendered objects. Next, you develop a plot, work out details, and make the resulting image meet the application requirements.

The 3D effect of a rendered image is achieved by tracking head and body movements by VR systems and also tracking the gaze direction (in advanced systems). All of this allows you to create a truly immersive experience. The whole principle of VR technologies is based on this. The multi-channel audio system provides the ability to navigate in VR by ear.

The main device for immersing in VR is VR glasses or a Head-mounted display (HMD). There are various types of VR glasses designed for different purposes — for smartphones, PCs, game consoles, and autonomous HMDs.

The VR headset has a special screen with a partition or two separate displays for each eye, with a combined field of view of 110 degrees (i.e., a separate image is drawn and sent to each eye). It is done so because our organs of vision see the same object from slightly different angles and with different depths. The brain can combine these two images, and we see one realistic 3D picture.

Now, let’s see how to detect your position in the virtual world. For this purpose, there is a technology for tracking the movement of the head and body. It uses ultra-sensitive sensors: a gyroscope, a magnetometer, and an accelerometer. A user may have VR sickness, which is similar to motion sickness. So, transmitting information as quickly and accurately as possible is crucial for keeping the VR experience effective. For example, if the displayed image doesn’t change within 50 milliseconds after the user changes its head position, they can experience mild nausea. That is why modern headsets have mini-diodes that send signals to the special cameras (base stations).

The headset connected to the USB and HDMI ports displays the image on the glasses screen. Smartphone glasses work even easier - the picture is displayed on the device screen, and the phone determines its own position in space.

Immersion in the virtual world would be incomplete without interaction with it, and for this, you need devices to receive control signals from the user (User Input). There is a wide variety of them, ranging from all kinds of controllers and gamepads to gloves and devices that read the movement of fingers (Leap Motion). In addition, there are vibration vests on the market, entire VR suits with simulated physical sensations throughout the body, motion capture systems, climate control, and much more to maximize the depth of immersion.

AR, MR and XR#

Let’s talk a bit more about acronyms.

AR or Augmented Reality is another popular technology, second in popularity after VR. The essence of AR is that the computer does not generate a new reality but only adds virtual objects to the picture of the real world. In the simplest case, a camera from a device (VR glasses or smartphone) captures an image of the current reality, and the computer on the fly processes this image and superimposes virtual objects on the picture.

MR or Mixed Reality is the most complex of the technologies under consideration. Its essence is already clear from the name — to combine virtual and ordinary reality to such an extent that a person could not distinguish one from the other. To do so, the computer must be able to draw 3D objects in the real world, recognize objects, and analyze objects in the image.

And then, there is XR (Extended Reality). Often, this term is used to refer to AR, VR, or MR.

VR is often associated with entertainment, but it has many other uses. Nowadays, VR, AR, and MR technologies are used in manufacturing and service, construction, education, tourism, museums, medicine, and the list can go on and on. These technologies are important, necessary, and actively developing. And specialists in this field are in high demand.

The development of VR applications is a fascinating process that can bring both satisfaction and benefit, but it has its own peculiarities that should be taken into account.

Last update: 2024-04-19
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