Five essential books for Virtual Reality coders

(VR resources part I)

As part of an ongoing series of VR resources (videos, websites, podcasts, tutorials), we’ve written a short list of VR development books; including at least the books that we think can help you start coding and immerse yourself quickly in VR development. If you think we’ve missed other essential ones, just post it on the comments!

So, in no particular order, here they are:

One — The VR Book, Human-Centered Design for Virtual Reality.

by Jason Jerarld, Ph.D.

Amazing book: an in-depth guide to understanding Virtual Reality Design. The author has around 20 years of experience in the VR field. Although it’s not a ‘coding’ book, we find this one indispensable to really understand the underlying concepts about VR design.

Including chapters about:

  • VR history
  • VR metrics for measuring the quality of the experience
  • In-depth study of VR-related human perception
  • Minimizing adverse reactions
  • Content design and creation
  • Interaction
  • VR project management and Iterative design

Two — Learning Virtual Reality: Developing Immersive Experiences and Applications for Desktop, Web, and Mobile

by Tony Parisi

If you want to know how to target the different devices (The Rift, GearVR, Cardboard), this is your book. You’ll also learn and understand the basic concepts for VR+3D coding, but, more importantly, there’s a separate chapter about WebVR, a browser-based VR approach, where you can code in Javascript and target several devices without changing a line. This is where the book really shines. A final coding (and very complete) example is also included. If you really want to dig deeper in WebGL and three.js, we recommend this and this other books, written by Tony also.

Three — Unity Virtual Reality Projects

by Jonathan Linowes

Great book if you want to get the ropes of Unity engine and VR at the same time. If you are not interested in WebVR, and want to explore Unity, this is your book. You’ll learn by doing, since the book is a progressive coding example, in which you’ll touch upon important VR and Unity topics, such as physics, textures, Unity builds and First Person Characters.

Four — Oculus Rift in Action

by Bradley Austin Davis et al

To our understanding, the first book about The Rift (launched as Manning MEAP edition in 2014). Although a little bit outdated (mainly because of the evolution of Oculus SDK), the book is a direct plunge into the low-level Oculus SDK with some extras, including Augmented Reality development and Leap Motion controller. So, if you’re interested in low level details on how to access The Rift programatically, you can read this book. If you are more interested in higher-level programming (Unity, WebVR), we recommend the two books above.

Five — Holistic Game Development with Unity: An All-in-One Guide to Implementing Game Mechanics, Art, Design and Programming

by Penny de Byl

Yes, this book is from 2011. And yes, Unity versions are changing blazingly fast. But this book is a really a hidden treasure, and what really sets this book apart is that (a) you’ll understand all core Unity concepts effortlessly, and (b) it approaches game design as an art, explaining how all pieces, resources and roles fit together: game art, game design, mechanics, and coding.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.