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Virtual Reality Meetup at FVI

Guest post by Kevin Ellerton

This morning, as I drove out to FVI’s Miami Virtual Reality meetup, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I’m pretty good with web design, but I’m still kind of a n00b when it comes to programming. This Sunday morning meetup was an introduction to developing Virtual Reality video games. I worried that I was getting into something that was a bit over my head.

When I got to FVI, though, I was relieved to find that I wasn’t the only beginner in the group. We were all new to this. Virtual Reality is a new industry, after all.

VIRTUAL REALITY: A BILLION DOLLAR OPPORTUNITY

I suppose that the newness of VR is one factor that pushed me to go to FVI’s VR Meetup in the first place. Virtual Reality is a billion-dollar industry that is just starting to get onto its feet. Virtual and Augmented Reality revenues are projected to overtake Mobile by 2020, with figures running into the hundreds of billions of dollars per year. And VR is not just for gaming anymore; it’s set to revolutionize many industries, from Real Estate to Healthcare. Those who learn to develop VR now will be well positioned to make a lot of money over the coming decades.

But if I really reflect on what motivated me to go to the meetup today, I realize that it wasn’t the money. As a web developer, I’m never at a loss for work. I have a steady stream of clients approaching me for web development help, and I know that if I ever want to have a more stable, high-paying, full-time job, I can get one easily.

Really, what motivated me to go to the Virtual Reality meetup today wasn’t the money. I went to FVI because virtual reality is

FUN!

Since I was a kid, I’ve been something of a video-game enthusiast. I played games like Age of Empires and World of Warcraft for hours on end as a teenager. I dreamed of designing and developing games “when I grow up.” The opportunity to turn that childhood dream into reality, for free, right here in Miami, was just way too cool to pass up.

As I sat in the FVI classroom, downloading and installing the SDKs and development environments that we were going to use to create our virtual reality games, I started to think that creating games might not be quite as much fun as playing them.

I was wrong.

Creating a 3D virtual reality world in Unity was actually really fun, and much easier than I expected. Any time I ran into trouble, Victor (the instructor) was there to help.

Within a few hours of getting to FVI, I had actually created a simple Virtual Reality world! My mind was blown when Victor showed me how to export the game onto my Samsung Galaxy phone. It was as simple as clicking “build and export”. Now I have an app on my phone that is a virtual reality world that I created. It’s unreal. I’ve been showing it to my friends and family all day, and everyone is really amazed by it.

If you’re in the Miami area and you’re into tech, I’d highly recommend coming to a the VR meetup at FVI. It’s on Sunday mornings, 10:30am, at Mall of the Americas, 7757 W Flagler St #220, Miami, FL 33144. It’s a really fun way to get started in the awesome & lucrative field of Virtual Reality development.