Hacktorial: Introduction to Virtual Reality with the VR Club

Galen and Mikhail demonstrating the Oculus with Unity

On February 16th, 2016, the President, Galen Stetsyuk, and Vice President, Mikhail Sorokin, of the Virtual Reality Club at the University of Maryland introduced students to the basics of VR development. The first part of the hacktorial focused on equipping students with core knowledge of headsets, virtual reality challenges, and game engines. The next portion was dedicated to the technical aspects of development; specifically, how to create applications in Unity and Unreal using better development techniques.

When Galen and Mikhail presented the anatomy and special features of various headsets, they noted that deficiencies still remain in VR development. Though it has recently become a growing field, virtual reality still possess many challenges, such as resolution and motion tracking, that require further refinement. Hence, Galen and Mikhail, both of whom started learning not long ago, are devoted to providing students with an “accelerated learning experience” so that they will have the basic, necessary tools to create their own applications. Therefore, during the hacktorial, they illustrated the development process and provided guidance based on pros and cons of both Unreal and Unity. Additionally, they included tips to make applications more realistic and avoid physical consequences on the user, such as motion sickness, caused by unsettling virtual scenarios.

Furthermore, Galen and Mikhail welcomed questions from the audience and extended an invitation for all to participate in the VR Club’s topic-specific classes. Subsequently, students can now feel empowered to approach a perhaps intimidating subject, knowing fellow terps are ready and willing to help them develop not only games but also other practical, real world applications.

Check out the full hacktorial below via our Terrapin Hacker hacktorial videos:

More information on the VR club and their lab hours, check out their website!

Terrapin Hackers holds many talks and hacktorials like this, introducing CS majors (and non-CS majors) to concepts and fields that may seem daunting. If you’re interested in attending, they are open to all and most are made for beginners so like us on Facebook!