Four platforms to build original VR projects without any programming experience.
Those unfamiliar with immersive technology have often perceived VR as some form of modern black magic that only highly-trained developers can properly harness. But today you no longer need to be a Unity professional or 3D designer to get into this sacred industry. There are tools and platforms that allow the creation of any interactive experience, educational training, or immersive business project without any special skills.
Whether you need to spice up your presentation, make a training exercise or simulation come to life, or enhance a game – modern VR creation tools allow you to dive into the world of VR development, minus the years of specialized schooling.
Choosing the right tool depends on the level of project you want to build. Simple marketing 3D presentations or virtual 360 tours can be created in minutes on web-based platforms. Educational projects or company training, on the other hand, may need to provide a software download if they plan on incorporating better graphics, interactivity, and more complex scenarios.
Here are four platforms you can use today to dip your toe into the VR content pool.
BrioVR is a web-based tool where you can create, publish, and share 3D VR and AR experiences. The code-free drag-and-drop interface includes a library of 3D objects, animation tools, and many other features necessary to make a great interactive presentation.
- The interface and onboarding are super friendly; the navigation is quite smooth.
- The software provides a healthy amount of 3D objects, including various animation features, as well as the ability to change the color, size, and material of the objects.
- The objects available are very cartoonish in style, which severely limits the style of project you can create.
- The interactivity is mostly limited to basic animations, which means you can only create relatively simplistic scenarios.
So while BrioVR does feature its fair share of technical limitations, it’s still a great tool for marketing presentations and 360 tours.
Sumerian by Amazon
One of the first tools of this kind, Sumerian does not require specialized expertise per se, but it’s definitely not as easy to pick up as BrioVR. In order to make objects “act” (like making this guy switch on the light) you’re still required to create scripts, and it’s hard to get around those without any real coding experience. In that regard, Sumerian is more similar to standard development software, such as Unity, than it is to software such as BioVR.
- The main benefit of Sumerian is the lifelike characters offered through the software. Referred to as “hosts,” these digital chauffeurs act as tour guides throughout the scenes and can converse with users in a variety of languages using 50 different accents.
- The default scenes look very realistic and feature an impressive amount of detail straight out of the gate.
- The interface is chock full of options, but not very intuitive for beginners.
- Web VR is still in its infancy compared to the experiences offered by dedicated applications, resulting in a variety of technical limitations.
Overall, Sumerian is great for creators looking to develop relatively straight-forward training simulations and virtual tours that are easily accessible on a wide variety of compatible devices.
The Varwin software interface is based on Google’s Blockly visual language. This means that coding concepts are presented as interlocking blocks. You can drag-and-drop objects and “logics” using a variety of visual blocks, even if you do not know any programming language. Logics, scenes, and objects can be reused, so every creator actually contributes to the development of the VR platform and simplifies creation for other users. Cobbling together objects, scenes, and logics make the platform as easy as Wix or Tilda constructors.
- More freedom to create interactivity and customization for difficult scenarios, as blocks are basically chunks of code visualized for non-programmers. All that is required are basic logic skills.
- The quality and performance are great. Scenes and objects look realistic; interactions are smooth and quick.
- In order to provide maximum customization freedom, Varwin requires a community of developers to contribute new scripts and objects on a regular basis.
- The installation process still takes more time than launching a web browser.
In the end, Varwin is perfect option for professional training, educational projects, and interactive tours.
EngageVR allows for the creation of educational projects and has the ability to host multiplayer meetings. There are a few features similar to Sumerian, such as its avatar creation. In this case, you can even customize avatars by uploading your own photos.
There are also different locations you can use for a project, from a lecture hall and hospital room, to dino beach.
- The objects, including avatars and animals, look much more realistic thanks to impressive graphical power.
- There is a multiplayer feature included that allows you to host events, such as online meetups and corporate meetings.
- The onboarding process is not exactly clear and there appears to be no web editor, so you have to edit your experience through the VR headset itself.
- As far as I can tell, there are zero options for creating logics and scenarios, which limits the potential of your project drastically.
Thanks so some impressive visual technology and multiplayer functionality, EngageVR is great for VR-based meetings, classes, and presentations.
Of course, these are only a handful of the numerous VR development software currently available. Whether you choose a web-based platform for quick and simple projects (BrioVR, Sumerian) or software-based services for better quality and more complex scenarios (Varwin, EngageVR), now has never been a better time to get your feet wet in the world of VR development.
With more VR hardware available than ever before, this is your chance to push the industry forward. So give it a try, your awesome VR project is waiting to be created.