How a Project Manager can Prepare for VR Project Development

How a Project Manager can Prepare for VR Project Development

In the year 2019, most people have tried or seen VR in one form or another. VR ranges from very simple and basic versions like Google Cardboard to full experiences with Oculus Rift or similar technologies.

Some people feel like VR is just another trend that will pass and others praise it for being the next amazing thing in marketing, computing, video gaming, storytelling and so on. It’s a new medium and it’s focused on interaction with computers while steadily moving onto markets and impressing consumers over the past decade.

Project managers, however, need to understand this technology better to help them manage their VR projects. They will also have to prepare for any challenges that are specific to this area.

The key factor that differentiates 3D videos or cinema is the fact that VR has a space called presence which is a term used to describe that type of total immersion with the space. The VR headset allows the user to do just that. This device needs to trick many different systems of perception to make a person feel present and immersed within a space. The VR is tricking us into thinking that we are somewhere else, experiencing something that we are not really experiencing.

Most people immediately think of video games when they think about VR. While gaming has seriously moved the VR in the right direction and it’s an important part of the VR market, it’s not the only use of VR.It has been applied in many fields and gaming is just one of them.

For instance, it’s used in healthcare as a way to allow surgeons too analyse the anatomy of a patient and plan a surgery in a better way.

It has been used in space exploration, museums, automotive industry, military, real estate, social networks, education, sports and so on.

As a professional project manager, you will need to learn everything you can about the project at hand and then how everything within that project makes an impact on the bottom line.

There are several things you will need to know before you start your VR project.

Employees You’ll Need

Of course, a good project is nothing without good team members:

  • You’ll need to hire a VR specialist

The VR apps are not so hard to build, they get more and more complex as you add more features. VR apps come with their own challenges that will become apparent to you when you start designing your VR project. An easy way to handle these issues is to hire a specialist that has experience with specific VR apps.

Some challenges are related to technical difficulties while some are related to the human interface. It’s sometimes hard to trick the brain into thinking something else so you need to think about positioning of your customer as they experience the VR.

These problems don’t happen in regular software design which is why you need this professional to make your VR experience better.

  • 3D artist and animator

3D artist is a person who animates and creates 3D content. You will also need a scene designer which will help you design a scene and put together the 3D elements and you will need an animator that will prepare these models for animation and create those animations.

These jobs can be done by one person and usually are when someone is working in a smaller team. But when it’s a larger film or game design, there would be many more and different individuals working on these projects.

These roles are crucial for any VR project because the very experience relies on the quality of the 3D content and production. This can take up a lot of time and effort for the team and it’s important for you to understand that these roles will need the most money and resources from you and you should plan a proper budget for that.

3D content takes a long time to produce

This type of modeling is not an easy task and it can take a lot of time to produce. Creating of these animations for the models is even harder and requires even more time because everything needs to be believable. It’s important for you as a Project manager to understand this at the outset before you start putting pressure on your team members and causing people stress. People and other biological creatures take 100x longer to make than buildings, windows, and other inanimate objects.

A good rule is to think of these in terms of drawing – when something is hard to draw, it’s likely hard to animate and turn into 3D too.

So, have realistic requirements and realistic timelines.

VR is limited by GPU

Everything created in VR has to be displayed with a graphics processor in your computer. And even the best computers in the world have limiting GPUs, meaning that they can’t manipulate many 3D object at the same time. The fact is that that VR puts a really heavy load on a computer it’s on.

Available platform

As there are many different devices available for VR. In fact, there are over 30 devices out there. This means that you will need a lot of tweaks to make your app work on different devices and platforms. Making content work between mobile and desktop is especially hard.

However, you can use an engine like Unity 3D or Unreal engine to make an app that can be used on more devices and without all of that work. This way, it’s easy to share th builds between desktop systems but mobile might need some extra work.

As a PM you need to research and define your scope accordingly.

Side effects

VR has been around for a long time but there are still not too many studies confirming that there health risks and side effects of using VR. Most of the hazards are related to the surroundings of the user than the VR itself. Someone could trip, fall, hit a wall, fall down the stairs and so on when they are in the virtual space.

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