Book Image

Getting Started with React VR

By : John Gwinner
Book Image

Getting Started with React VR

By: John Gwinner

Overview of this book

This book takes you on a journey to create intuitive and interactive Virtual Reality experiences by creating your first VR application using React VR 2.0.0. It starts by getting you up to speed with Virtual Reality (VR) and React VR components. It teaches you what Virtual Reality (VR) really is, why it works, how to describe 3D objects, the installation of Node.js (version 9.2.0) and WebVR browser. You will learn 3D polygon modeling, texturing, animating virtual objects and adding sound to your VR world. You will also discover ways to extend React VR with new features and native Three.js. You will learn how to include existing high-performance web code into your VR app. This book will also take you through upgrading and publishing your app. By the end of this book, you'll have a deep knowledge of Virtual Reality and a full-fledged working VR app to add to your profile!
Table of Contents (20 chapters)
Title Page
About the Author
About the Reviewers
Customer Feedback

Chapter 1. What is Virtual Reality, Really?

You are reading this book to learn to make Virtual Reality (VR), but what is Virtual Reality?

It seems like a simple enough question, but the answer is all over the map. Most people think VR means virtually real or alternate reality.

That is not what Virtual Reality is.

I think this is because the word virtual can mean several different things. To a computer scientist, the word virtual means something that simulates the thing it virtualizes. In other words, a virtual hard drive pretends to be a hard drive.

The virtual object acts like it is real, but it isn't--frequently, its more flexible and easier to control, modify, and support than a physical object. In many ways, it is better than the physical object. A virtual disk, for example, acts just like a computer disk. It can store data. Yet that data could be on a physical spinning disk, in a solid-state drive, or even in memory. The virtual disk can be resized, whereas a physical disk can only be copied to a larger (or smaller) disk. A virtual disk is more flexible.

Some people think virtual means almost. If a Tesla drives by, they might say, "That's virtually noiseless!" People know it's not really noiseless, but it is much quieter than a big V8 driving by. Or, that person is a virtual saint about a person they like. In this case, it means nearly or in all but name.

Virtual can also mean someone with virtue. A person who behaves ethically is virtual, although this is not the normal usage of the word (virtuous would be). This is where the word came from; in Latin virtualis means strength or virtue. Yet, in our case, we mean something that seems real, but isn't.

I think this is the misconception about Virtual Reality. People think it means almost real. Many people think VR isn't there yet because it doesn't look nearly like the real world. It will be quite some time before the view through a VR headsets looks just like the real world; other senses, especially touch and taste may take quite a while until they can be simulated.

Yet, this is not the point; the point with Virtual Reality isn't that it's nearly real. The point is, when you are in it, it seems real, even if it looks nothing like reality.

I'll say this again as it's an important distinction. Virtual Reality, or for that matter Augmented Reality, doesn't need to be nearly real, but it will seem real when you are in it (even if it doesn't remotely look real).

By the end of this chapter, you'll learn:

  • What Virtual Reality is and how it works
  • Some of the history of VR -it's not new, the technology is over 50 years old!
  • User agency - interacting with the world through controllers
  • Rendering hardware
  • How to view VR
  • Types of headsets