Virtual reality (VR) technology is progressing rapidly and becoming more accessible to the public. In the past, it was primarily used in amusement parks and in medical or research facilities, such as laboratories and patient recovery centres. However, with the emergence of VR headsets, it is now expanding into households and families. This has led to the creation of new technologies and libraries to meet the growing demand for VR development. It is also evident that businesses that invest in VR need dedicated development teams to stay competitive.
If you are contemplating which programming language is most suitable for virtual reality, it can be helpful to assess the most commonly used choices. Let’s take a closer look at these options.
Unity has played a significant role in popularizing C# as one of the top programming languages for virtual reality development. Originally intended for game development, Unity has expanded to become a versatile media editor that provides a unified platform for creating a wide range of VR experiences.
If you need help creating a virtual reality experience using Unity, there are abundant resources at your disposal. In case you cannot find the information you need from Unity’s resources, you can also turn to the supportive VR development community for additional guidance.
Contrary to common misconceptions, C# has a broad range of applications in virtual reality beyond Unity. For instance, the StereoKit C# library can be incorporated into existing projects to support the development of VR applications. Thanks to the dependable frameworks provided by .NET, creating VR applications is quite straightforward.
If you require a language with reliable frameworks and libraries to build VR applications, C# is an excellent choice.
The programming community has generally agreed that C++ is a fast and efficient language. For many years, it has been extensively utilized to build complex 3D applications, including video games, and this trend is expected to continue.
The Unreal Engine is a C++ library that furnishes developers with the resources needed to produce real-time 3D applications. It facilitates the creation of virtual reality content similar to that achieved with Unity.
Learning C++ is essential if you plan to develop customized applications for specific VR headsets, like the Oculus Rift PC SDK, which requires C++ programming skills.
For native app development on the Android platform, Java has played a crucial role in supporting the growth of the virtual reality (VR) development community. Due to the widespread use of smartphones, Android, along with other mobile platforms, has become one of the most popular platforms for VR solutions, offering affordable options for VR headsets.
Since Android apps are written in Java, it is reasonable that libraries such as Google Cardboard and ViroCore, designed for use on the Android platform, are also developed using Java.
Being proficient in Java is critical if you wish to develop a native virtual reality experience for Android.
With the internet gaining more significance as a platform for information dissemination, the need for programming languages that are customized for web development has increased.
While not typically associated with virtual reality development, Python is incorporated into numerous frameworks and libraries for this purpose.
One prime example of this is Vizard, a software framework built using Python to create virtual reality applications. Several academic institutions, including NASA, utilize it for research initiatives.
Python is extensively employed as a scripting language in various virtual reality (VR) applications, such as Autodesk’s VRED – a 3D solution used for creating and testing virtual automotive prototypes.
Despite being smaller than some of the other communities on this list, the Python virtual reality community is not insignificant.
When it comes to developing virtual reality applications, the most popular and widely used tools are C# and C++. In addition to enabling diverse experiences, they are backed by expansive communities that provide support and guidance. Whether you are an experienced developer or just starting out, these languages are the ideal option.
While the other programming languages discussed are also viable, they may have a more restricted user base. Employing multi-platform frameworks such as Unity or Unreal Engine can be advantageous, as they allow applications to be seamlessly migrated to multiple platforms.