New Set of Developer Tools and Building Blocks for VR

Posted on April 6, 2017

AltspaceVR is fortunate to have a talented group of community developers who use our software tools (or SDK) to develop unique multi-player games, apps and spaces in VR. To further support our development community, we’re excited to announce two powerful new features that we debuted during the 2017 Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference:

Browsers: Now developers can easily place 2D or 3D web content inside a larger application, similar to iframes on a traditional webpage. Use it to create or enhance the environment, and then use child browsers to populate the space with board games or streaming music services.

Portals: Insert portals into an environment to teleport users to another place within a space or to another space entirely—beam me up, Scotty!

These additional features to our SDK framework are helping provide the fastest way to build shared VR experiences. Developers can create content using standard web technologies, host it anywhere on the web, and have it instantly available to people in AltspaceVR. According to Gavan Wilhite, founder and director of engineering, “This is a major step toward empowering anyone who wishes to create shared VR experiences.”

The AltspaceVR SDK (software development kit), which launched in Sept 2015, enables developers to convert existing 3D websites or create brand new experiences using Javascript and three.js for VR. Projects that would otherwise have taken weeks or months are now completed in days.

With added support for A-Frame, a powerful, open-source web VR framework, the AltspaceVR SDK enables access to features directly from HTML that are normally only found in native gaming engines. These include spatialized sound effects, access to body sensors, resolution-independent text rendering, and physically interactive objects. Developers can use these to create VR apps and games that automatically benefit from AltspaceVR’s cross-platform support.

We’ve been beta testing these features in the Playground, a space where a community of developers can build, test, and share this new type of web application. “We have been blown away by the way our development community has combined these components to build creative and unexpected experiences, and look forward to feedback from the wider community as we push the boundaries of what is possible on the VR web,” says Wilhite. Here are a few examples of the amazing, creative, and unexpected experiences the AltspaceVR development community has built:

We are continuing our developer initiative grant program in 2017. Submissions involve a basic project prototype and those who are selected will be given a funding grant of $1,000 –$10,000. Developers retain rights to anything they create and are welcome to support other browsers and platforms.

To get started developing for the VR Web, or to apply for the Developer Initiative Program, please visit the AltspaceVR Developer Portal at https://developer.altvr.com/.

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