The Best Ways to Start Developing AR/VR Apps Yourself
July 06 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic saw a decline in social activity. The world was at pause, yet it didn’t take long for humanity to harness technological innovations to reimagine connections and interactions in the digital space. Extended reality (XR) witnessed a surge in popularity as friends, work colleagues, e-commerce, and more are adopting the technology for more immersive connections despite the physical distance.
Note: XR is an umbrella term that combines different immersive technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR).
Even as safety protocols around the world relax, the XR market is only predicted to grow. Augmented reality (AR) is expected to make $77 billion by 2025, whereas virtual reality (VR) will rise to $20.9 billion by 2025.
Such growth for the immersive reality markets is also ripe with job opportunities here and there. XR may have just recently become a buzzword, but many are already considering upskilling in intuitive design. As more brands adopt XR technology, developers and designers will become some of the most sought after, with lucrative salaries to boot.
Before Moving Forward in Your XR Journey
XR design and development can land you premium roles in game design, application development, and many more. At this point, you may find yourself wondering, “Where do I begin learning XR”?
You begin by acknowledging your interest in pursuing XR design prototyping. As with most things in life, mastering the art of XR takes time. You won’t be a design whiz in one all-nighter—it will take some time for you to familiarize yourself with the concepts and groundwork of intuitive design, especially if you have zero programming knowledge.
No experience in programming languages won’t be as much of a setback for you today—low-code or no-code technology caters to both programmers and non-programmers, so you won’t have to go on a C++ or C# scripting crash course just to get started with XR.
Don’t pressure yourself to master XR design all at once. What’s important is that as you go on building passion projects, you are making progress and showing promising results.
Don’t be afraid to share your amateur work with other design enthusiasts as well! Veterans in immersive design can give you some solid advice to improve your output or praise you for your efforts. Most importantly, you’re engaging with the community, and building your exposure and connections.
Which Career Path in XR Should You Take?
The interactive world of XR is a diverse one, with different job positions and descriptions to fulfill specific roles and objectives. Work in XR intersects between design and development.
Design and development require different competencies despite their common goal of bringing to life immersive reality experiences. If you have an interest in 3D design, experience, and product development, becoming an XR designer is ideal. If you prefer challenging yourself with programming and debugging, you have a bright future as an XR developer.
Designers and developers work hand in hand, so you might have also thought of fulfilling both roles. Whilst not impossible, it isn’t the most efficient way to establish a career in the XR industry. Specialize in one path to increase your skills and develop a routine that syncs well with your knowledge of XR.
Not so sure which path suits you? Try this XR Personality Quiz—it will give you a recommendation based on your personality traits, which are gathered from your answers.
Pick a Platform
XR developers and designers use a variety of tools to create an immersive experience from scratch. Most choose between Unity and Unreal Engine, the two leading game engines in the industry.
Platforms differ in their features and functionality, but both Unity and Unreal Engine are popular and beginner-friendly choices. Whereas Unreal Engine writes code in C++, Unity uses C#. C++ has a steeper learning curve than C#, and you might want to check this comparison out to gauge the complexity. Regardless, either platform is ideal for XR design and development.
Source: Unreal Engine
AR vs VR: Choose Your Reality
The fundamentals of programming for augmented reality and virtual reality are basically the same. They do, however, have different mediums and rules to execute their objectives.
Augmented reality involves new and immersive experiences added to the physical world in real time. On the other hand, virtual reality is most notable with dedicated headsets to immerse the user in an all-new digital world.
AR has found its way on smartphones, with Pokemon GO! as a prime example. Headsets like the Oculus Quest (now called Meta Quest) and Microsoft HoloLens can limit the accessibility and portability of VR experiences, as users have to stay tethered to their gear and PC or gaming console.
Getting Started in Your XR Path
With countless resources available on the Internet, learning XR is accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yet, finding the right resources and coursework can be overwhelming. Premium and free references are everywhere, but which are worth your time and effort? Should you settle with video tutorials, or invest in coursework?
Synchronous Coursework vs. Learning at Your Own Pace
How you learn and progress through XR design will depend on the time and money you’re willing to invest. Perhaps you’re also taking up building XR applications as a fun hobby to keep you busy. Learning at your own pace is helpful in gauging your interest and commitment to pursuing XR design as a profession.
Paid courses offer some of the best content, projects, and community engagement. With experts guiding you throughout the course, upskilling in XR is a guaranteed career opportunity in the future.
At Circuit Stream, we offer premium XR Development and design courses using Unity and other established AR/VR tools. Our certified coursework comes with live class sessions, one-on-one consultations with the mentor, and an exclusive online community.
Udemy and Coursera are other paid alternatives. They are more affordable but lack community engagement, have rigid course plans and without real-time mentorship and engagement.
Learn XR for Free
There’s no need to spend money to discover more about XR, especially for a beginner. Exploring and playing around on development platforms is a great technique to put theory into action.
The Internet is overflowing with free resources of all kinds. Here are our recommendations for the best learning experience, without shelling money:
At Circuit Stream, we have over 60 free workshops on XR interaction design. In every workshop we are building a mini XR project with understandable steps. This will serve you as an over-the-shoulder insight into XR development workflow. New content goes live every week.
- YouTube Tutorials
YouTube videos are helpful in guiding beginners in the tips and tricks of working on the platform of your choice. Here are some creators we recommend checking out:
- Official Game Engine Tutorials
Unity and Unreal Engine boast vast resource libraries for assets, tutorials, and guides. These are all free to access anytime.
- XR Communities
Pursuing a career in XR design and development is among the most lucrative decisions you can make today. The market demand and endless possibilities for the future of XR make it exciting to explore.
Fortunately, resources and learning materials are readily available on the Internet. As technology becomes more accessible, learning XR can be as simple as picking up a new hobby. Take your pick among the free and paid courses online, and explore the ever-evolving field of immersive technology.