How to Make Virtual Reality Apps – Mobile VR Setup

 
Oculus has triggered a resurgence of interest in mobile VR with the release of the incredibly priced Oculus Go. Up to this point, Samsung GearVR has dominated the mobile VR space, winning users with its relative affordability and, well, mobility. Unlike the Rift or Vive, mobile VR headsets can be used without a connected computer. GearVR and Google Daydream only require a compatible phone, and the miraculous Oculus Go requires no external device to be worn in the headset at all. Bring on the future.

Coming up to Christmas 2018 and beyond, we’re going to see a huge demand for Oculus Go applications—and the developers who make them. This is your chance to jump in on the ground floor of mobile VR and develop for one of the most promising platforms in existence, which also happens to have a stable and supportive development community. Oculus is working hard to push developers to make great content, so let’s get your device set up so you can use Unity to dive into developing for mobile VR.

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First of all, it’s really easy, but we’ve broken our guide up into three different sections. The setup will be different depending on whether you’re developing for Oculus Go, GearVR or Google Daydream. We want to make sure you get the info you need for each one.

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Mobile VR Development Setup for Oculus Go

 
Since the Go doesn’t depend on an external mobile device, we won’t be setting up a phone. Instead, we’ll make sure the headset itself is ready for development. These steps are also documented on the Oculus website, and you can head there for troubleshooting if you run into any issues.

Step 1: Get Connected

Oculus has its own comprehensive development community, so you’ll need to get involved in order to create. It’s a bit of a complex process, but essentially, all Oculus developers are required to submit their apps through the Oculus Developer Dashboard, so that’s where you need to start.

The first step is creating a developer organization on the Dashboard, or connecting with one that already exists. If you want to join an existing organization, you’ll need to request access from the admin and wait to be accepted. If you’d rather create your own developer organization, you can do that here. Either way, you’ll have to be logged into your Oculus account for access to the Dashboard.

Step 2: Turn on Developer Mode

Now that you’ve joined a developer organization, you can move forward with getting your device ready. On your connected mobile device, put your Oculus Go in developer mode by navigating to Settings and finding your headset in the menu. Tap on it, then select “More Settings” and use the switch to turn on Developer Mode. Done!

Step 3: Install Driver (Windows Only)

If you’re working on a Windows computer, you’ll need to connect your devices with Android Debug Bridge (adb). Adb essentially lets you talk to your device in a whole bunch of important ways, including pushing apps you’ve built to your Oculus Go headset. (If you’re interested, you can learn more about adb here.)

Start the installation by downloading the adb driver from the Oculus developer site. Once the zip file is downloaded on your computer, unzip it to reveal the file contents. Right click on the .inf file, then select “Install.” Follow the prompts to install adb and get working on your mobile VR application!

Happy building!

Mobile VR Development Setup for Samsung GearVR

Step 1: Configure Developer Options

In order to build for your Samsung phone, the first thing you’ll need to do is allow yourself access to developer mode. If you’re having trouble figuring out how to activate developer mode for your particular phone model, try looking for a guide on Google. Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to record the step-by-step process for every phone model out there. But we will walk you through activating developer mode on the Samsung S7 to give you a sense of what the steps will look like.

On your phone, go to Settings > System > About > Device > Software > Info. In the Info screen, tap “Build Number” seven times. Enable USB Debugging. Allow mock locations. Make sure your phone is set up to verify apps via USB. Now you’re all set for step two.

Step 2: Configure Display Options

You’ll need to configure the display options on your phone for a few reasons, but mainly, it’s because you don’t want your phone going dark while you’re in the middle of something. So we’re going to prevent that from happening. Head into your phone’s settings and from there, disable your lock screen and set your display timeout, with your lock screen security set to none.

Step 3: Get into Gear

Snap your phone into the GearVR and follow the steps on the screen to install GearVR services onto your device.

Step 4: Get File Info

Download and install “Device ID” app to get the unique value for the Oculus Signature File Generator. Alternatively, you can navigate to your SDK > platform-tools directory () and open a command prompt. Click and drag the adb file into the prompt, then hit the spacebar and type the word “devices.” This will generate a list of devices attached to your computer. Your phone is probably the first one in the list, usually indicated by a long string of numbers and letters followed by the word “device” (e.g. “9858b64246324d7128 device”).

That’s it! Happy building!

Mobile VR Development Setup for Google Daydream

 
Before you jump into prepping your phone for Daydream development, make sure you’re working with something that works. Daydream-ready phones as of July 2018 are Pixel, Pixel 2, Galaxy S8, S8+, S9, S9+, Note 8, Moto Z, Z2, LG V30, ZenFone AR, Mate 9 Pro and Axon 7.

Check out Google’s current list of Daydream-ready phones if your new device isn’t listed here.

Step 1: Configure Developer Options

In order to build onto your phone, the first thing you’ll need to do is allow yourself access to developer mode. The best way to figure out how to activate developer mode for your particular phone model is to give it a search on Google. Unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to record the step-by-step process for every phone model out there. But we will walk you through activating developer mode on the Samsung S7 to give you a sense of what the steps will look like.

On your phone, go to Settings > System > About > Device > Software > Info. In the Info screen, tap “Build Number” seven times. Enable USB Debugging. Allow mock locations. Make sure your phone is set up to verify apps via USB.

Now you’re all set for step two.

Step 2: Configure Display Options

You’ll need to configure the display options on your phone for a few reasons, but mainly, it’s because you don’t want your phone going dark while you’re in the middle of something. So we’re going to prevent that from happening. Head into your phone’s settings. From there, disable your lock screen and set your display timeout, with your lock screen security set to none.

Step 3: Get Google VR

The final step in prepping your phone for Daydream development is to download Google’s official Google VR Services app from the Play Store. That’s it!

Happy building!


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Technical Steps

  1. Configure Developer options by activating developer mode. Example for the S7: Settings>System>About>Device>Software>Info then Tap Build number 7 times.
    1. Enable USB Debugging
    2. Allow mock locations
    3. Verify apps via USB
  2. Configure Display Options in settings
    1. Disable Lock screen
    2. Set display Timeout. (Lock/security screen to none)
  3. For Daydream install Google VR services from the play store
  4. For GearVR plug your Samsung phone into the gearVR and follow steps shown to install GearVR services onto your device.

Extra step if making an app for the GearVR

  1. Download and install “Device ID” app to get the unique value for the Oculus Signature File Generator

OR

  1. You can navigate to your SDK>platform-tools directory(default: C:\Users\Circuit\AppData\Local\Android\Sdk\platform-tools) and open a command prompt. Click and drag the adb file into the prompt then hit space and type devices. This will return a list of devices attached to your computer. Your phone is likely the first one. Would look something like “9858b64246324d7128 device”.