Are you undertaking a virtual reality (VR) development project? You should know about the best tools for VR design. The top 10 VR software design and development tools are as follows:
1. Unity VR Engine
You can use the Unity VR engine, which is one of the best-known tools for VR design. It’s great for augmented reality (AR) app design too. Developers have used it for creating popular games like Pokémon Go and Hearthstone.
You get the following advantages if you use Unity:
- Unity offers a real-time game engine, which makes it a popular choice for developing VR games. You can use it for all other VR use cases too.
- You can create high-quality graphics.
- This VR technology solution is compatible with all popular VR headsets.
- You can use the “VR mode” offered by the Unity game engine. It allows you to preview your work on your own headset.
- VR developers can create highly appealing immersive environments using Unity. Unity offers comprehensive tools for that.
- Unity offers one of the most extensive sets of documentation among all providers in the VR market.
2. Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine is one of the most popular VR designing tools that you can use. Epic Games has created it.
You get the following advantages of using Unreal Engine:
- You can create exciting VR games with it, furthermore, you can use it for other VR use cases.
- Unreal Engine supports all key VR headsets.
- Among the different VR solutions, Unreal Engine offers some of the best 3D creation tools.
- Unreal Engine offers extensive resources for learners. These include online courses and video tutorials.
- You can get community support.
- Unreal Engine continuously innovates. It routinely releases new VR solutions and enhancements.
- You can use Unreal Engine for free. A 5% royalty payment starts only when you earn over $1 million in revenues.
- Unreal Engine offers other licensing options including premium training and support plans.
3. Blender 3D Computer Graphics Software Toolset
You can create appealing virtual environments and VR apps using the Blender 3D modeling and computer graphics toolset. Developers use it for gaming, creating films, and other use cases.
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You get several advantages of using Blender, e.g.:
- It’s an open-source and free toolset. The Blender Foundation manages its development.
- Blender offers excellent tools for designing, creating, and animating 3D models. It offers video editing tools too.
- You can customize Blender to suit your requirements. You need competent developers for this though.
- Blender offers many features like modeling, rigging, simulation, animation, rendering, composition, and motion tracking.
- You can use an appealing digital world by using the tools offered by Blender.
- You can use Blender on all key operating systems like Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD.
4. OpenVR SDK (Software Development Kit)
OpenVR is another great choice for creating a VR-powered virtual environment. Valve developed this SDK. The OpenVR SDK includes an API and a runtime environment.
OpenVR offers the following advantages:
- You can use this SDK to integrate with the SteamVR platform. SteamVR is a popular VR platform offered by Valve. By integrating with SteamVR, you can build VR apps that don’t need to do anything for specific hardware platforms. You can build VR apps that target headsets like Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality.
- OpenVR is open-source. You can take advantage of its famous “write once, deploy everywhere” philosophy.
- Well-known providers like Unreal Engine and Unity support OpenVR.
- You can get excellent documentation to learn the OpenVR SDK.
5. Autodesk Maya 3D Computer Graphics Toolset
Autodesk Maya 3D Computer Graphics Toolset is from Autodesk. It’s the company that created famous CAD tools like Autocad.
You get the following advantages if you use Maya:
- It’s a comprehensive VR design and development tool, therefore, you can expedite your VR app development project.
- Maya includes a free tool for VR design named “Create VR”. Creating VR makes 3D designing easier with innovative tools.
- You can create highly engaging immersive virtual environments with Maya.
- You can export sketches and models created using Maya to other content creation apps.
- Maya offers powerful animation tools.
- You can create detailed simulations with Maya.
- Maya is suitable for complex VR development projects executed at scale.
- You can use the extensive documentation and video tutorials offered by Maya. Autodesk offers premium support for it.
6. Autodesk 3ds Max Modeling and Rendering Software
3ds Max Modeling and Rendering software is another product from Autodesk. While designing VR apps using 3ds Max, you get the following advantages:
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- You can use it for game development and other VR use cases.
- 3ds Max offers key capabilities like modeling, animation, rigging, keyframing, rendering, and lighting.
- You can use the rich 3D design toolsets offered by 3ds Max to create immersive virtual environments.
- 3ds Max enables quick editing of your VR content.
- 3ds Max is user-friendly.
- You can learn it easily, thanks to extensive documentation and video tutorials.
- 3ds Max enables you to create photorealistic designs.
- You can improve productivity with the automation capabilities offered by 3ds Max.
- 3ds Max is a compelling choice for large-scale and complex VR development projects.
7. Tilt Brush
You can use Tilt Brush to design VR applications. Google acquired Tilt Brush in 2015. The technology giant has announced in 2021 that it’s ending further development of Tile Brush. Google announced that Tilt Brush will continue as an open-source project.
Tilt Brush offers the following advantages:
- It supports all the major HR headsets like Oculus Rift, Oculus Quest, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality, Valve Index, and PlayStation VR.
- Tilt Brush offers a powerful editor. You can create 3D and VR content easily with this popular tool.
- It offers extensive tools allowing users to create highly appealing VR experiences.
- Both newcomers and experienced users can create VR content easily with Tilt Brush.
- Tilt Brush allows users to view the open-source code, furthermore, it offers extensive open-source libraries.
- You can access comprehensive Tilt Brush documentation and the Tilt Brush help center.
8. Google VR for everyone
You can build high-quality virtual worlds, VR games, and other VR apps using Google VR for everyone. You get the following advantages by using it:
- Google offers extensive tools on the Google VR developer portal.
- You can create VR apps for many VR platforms like Unity, Unreal, web, Android, and iOS.
- VR developers can create apps for Oculus, Google Cardboard, and other popular VR hardware systems.
- You get robust designer tools.
- You can use the Google VR SDKs for Unity. Furthermore, you can use them on Android and iOS mobile devices.
- Google offers a new Cardboard SDK. It supports a wider range of devices. You also get simpler APIs.
- VR development tools offered by Google come with comprehensive documentation and guides.
- You can get community support via Google VR online forums.
You can use CRYENGINE, a popular game engine for VR game development. For game developers, it’s one of the most popular VR tools. You get the following advantages if you use CRYENGINE:
- This VR app development tool offers the full source code to VR developers.
- CRYENGINE is one of the most feature-rich game engines.
- Your VR design and development project becomes easier due to the built-in audio solutions offered by CRYENGINE.
- CRYENGINE supports all popular VR platforms.
- You get powerful rendering software with CRYENGINE.
- CRYENGINE offers a powerful and flexible editor.
- You can create VR content easily.
- You can build rich VR experiences quickly with the CRYENGINE tools like the sandbox.
- This software helps you to provide an immersive experience to end-users, thanks to capabilities like design visualization.
- CRYENGINE offers excellent documentation.
10. PlayStation VR Dev Kit
Do you plan to develop VR apps for Sony PlayStation VR? You need the PlayStation VR Dev Kit then. The PSVR Dev Kit helps you to develop VR games and other VR applications for PlayStation 4 and 5.
The PSVR Dev Kit is a powerful tool to create immersive experiences. You need to register as a developer to use this development kit.
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Sony has comprehensive partnerships to continuously enhance the PSVR Dev Kit. You can use the extensive PSVD Dev Kit documentation to learn it. You can publish your VR app and amplify its reach. Sony offers a top-notch infrastructure for development and testing, and you get premium support.
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Some of the top VR use cases are VR-based marketing campaigns, specific medical treatments using VR, virtual property tours in the real estate sector, virtual tours of tourist destinations, VR-based product demonstrations, VR-powered games, and VR-based test driving of cars.
The top brands in the VR hardware or software landscape are Oculus, Google, Sony PlayStation VR 2, Unity, HTC Vive, Microsoft HoloLens, Samsung Gear, Magic Leap, WorldViz, Wevr, NextVR, Nvidia, AMD, AppliedVR, Cemtrex, AVRspot, Supernatural, and Vicarious Surgical, and Talespin.
The best VR headsets are Oculus Quest 2 (Meta Quest 2), Sony PlayStation VR 2, Valve Index, HTC Vive Pro 2, and HP Reverb G2.