At the end of November, around 60 people gathered at the offices of Rothenberg Ventures in downtown San Francisco to celebrate the release of VR pioneer Tony Parisi’s new book Learning Virtual Reality. For the uninitiated, Tony is recognized as one of the creators of Virtual Reality Markup Language (VRML), an HTML extension from the ’90s for representing three dimensional interactive vector graphics in a web browser.

Learning Virtual Reality

While VRML never achieved wide acceptance, it’s arguable that it was before its time. The present-day take on VRML is WebVR, a JavaScript API that provides browser access to VR devices such as the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. While Tony covers WebVR briefly in the book, the content is broader than just web.

From the description of the book:

  • Learn VR basics for UI design, 3D graphics, and stereo rendering
  • Explore Unity3D, the current development choice among game engines
  • Create native applications for desktop computers with the Oculus Rift
  • Develop mobile applications for Samsung’s Gear VR with the Android and Oculus Mobile SDKs
  • Build browser-based applications with the WebVR Javascript API and WebGL
  • Create simple and affordable mobile apps for any smartphone with Google’s Cardboard VR
  • Bring everything together to build a 360-degree panoramic photo viewer

tony-parisi-learning-virtual-reality-book-launch-2What can the reader expect from the book? Tony says, “You’ll be be able to build your own VR photo viewer for VR. You’ll learn what the major platforms are. You’ll gain an appreciation for the web stack.” He says that 50-60% of the book is Unity, and by the end the reader learns to make an Android package and run it on their phone.

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Some programming experience is expected going in to the book, but you don’t need to be familiar with virtual reality, as the basic concepts are covered in early chapters.

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