The development process of a virtual or augmented reality application
This article is about the course of the development process. As a rule, it consists of three phases. The pre-development phase, the development itself and the post-development phase. This article is based on our own processes and experience with the development of dozens of vr applications in recent years.
Phase 1. Pre-development
These costs are usually borne by the client and are reflected in a time investment for research. It is important to find out what the purpose of the application is, who should use it and what the preconditions are with regard to budget, time, project management and other matters.
Looking for a developer
Next, it is important to look for an executing party and present them with the problem or idea. Look for a company with experience, knowledge and continuity. Ideally, they have experience with the type of application you want to develop. Choose one or more parties for an exploratory meeting where you present the problem or the idea.
Concepting & quote
After the choice of a party has been made, a concept is usually developed jointly. In this concept, the content, functions and design are presented and a recommendation is made for the most suitable platform. In our process, the concept is free of charge and is provided with a matching quote to which the client agrees.
After approval, a project plan is drawn up, stating what will be delivered by whom and when. This document serves as a guide for the project and is managed by a project manager. In our case, it contains several delivery moments such as Alpha, Beta and Final Delivery.
The design document contains things like the visual style and design. Depending on the type of project, a script or storyboard can also be included here. The design of the vr application itself is recorded in a wireframe with a user interface.
Completion of phase 1
After the documents have been assessed and feedback provided, a final document is delivered. After approval, the actual development of the virtual reality application is started.
Phase 2. Development
3D, 2D and animation
The visual elements of the application are created by the 3D department. These include the environment, objects and interface of the application. The elements are then delivered to the development department, which takes care of the interaction between these elements and the user.
Technical development is done by programmers who write the code for the applications to work. This is where they determine what happens when certain actions are performed in the app. Think of interaction with objects, making choices or changing the environment.
Alpha, Beta & Final
During the development phases, three versions of the application are delivered. Feedback is given on two versions. The alpha version contains the most important functionalities and part of the visual design.
The Beta version is an almost complete version with all functionalities and the full design. After the final feedback, a final version will be delivered.
Phase 3. Post development
Publication and distribution
After the application has been delivered, it is made ready for publication. All the elements are put together. In the case of a mobile application, distribution takes place via the app stores after which it can be downloaded onto the device. An ‘offline’ app is installed directly on the hardware.
Installation en training
For an application delivered directly to the customer, the hardware can be installed and tested on site. Users of the application receive training and, if desired, documentation for support.
Support & updates
If desired, an SLA can be purchased and a contract for maintenance of the application. The client can always count on support and an up to date application.