Virtual Reality Pipeline 1: Setup

Choice Of System

I decided to look into establishing a pipeline for creating environments in Virtual Reality. The initial task was to establish what hardware I was going to use, and indeed what software would be required to achieve this goal. The systems that I looked into all provided pros and cons.

System Pros Cons
Oculus Rift • market leading system • bloody expensive (£600+)
• requires kick-ass PC
Samsung GearVR • mobile system
• unit costs £80
• solid hardware
• probably not too powerful
• could be a bit niche
HTC Vive • highest quality • pricey (£1000+)
• requires kick-ass PC
Google Cardboard VR • cheap as chips (<£10) • probably not too powerful
• hard to find quality unit
Sony Morpheus • mid-price (£350)
• probably a good quality compromise
• not available till autumn
• requires a PS4
Microsoft Hololens • AR rather than VR • only available to registered developers

I decided finally upon adopting the Samsung GearVR. Having an iMac, and not wanting to invest £1000+ on a brand new computer, the fancy Vive and Rift options were out of the window. The initial problem I ran into came from the fact that I have a bit of an older phone; the Galaxy Note 4. The currently available version of the GearVR requires a Note 5 (not available in the UK), or an S6/S7. Luckily, Samsung had previously released the GearVR Innovator Edition specifically for the Note 4. I managed to pick up one of these second-hand on eBay, so I could start working out the pipeline.



Software Downloads

Because this was considered legacy hardware, it was necessary to download the correct combination of software components in order to create a build-chain. The complete setup for Mac OSX is detailed here.

System Setup

  1. The Oculus Mobile SDK was unzipped to an accessible location
  2. Installed Unity 5.1.2f1
  3. Installed JDK8
  4. Galaxy Note 4 > Settings > Developer Options > Enable USB Debugging
  5. Connected phone to Mac via USB
  6. Installed Android Studio 2.1.2
  7. Run the ‘studio’ installer in the MacOS folder of the Android Studio package
  8. Terminal > cd /Users/[username]/Library/Android/sdk/platform-tools
  9. Terminal > ./adb devices
  10. Galaxy Note 4 > Always allow this computer to use USB debugging
  11. This yielded the device ID for my Galaxy Note 4
  12. Visited the Oculus Signature File Generator Page
  13. The device id was used to generate a signature file
  14. Eject and reconnect Note 4 to Mac and enable ‘allow this computer for debugging’

The setup for development was now complete. In part two of this blog, I will demonstrate how I got a build-chain to work for deploying a 3d environment onto the GearVR.


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