Google Reveals New Tools To Streamline Daydream Development

September 7, 2017 - Written By Daniel Golightly

Developing for Google’s Daydream VR should get a lot easier today, thanks to some new updates Google is bringing to its development platform and tools. That’s according to an announcement made by the company via its official blog on September 7. The update itself includes new tools, of course, but also enhancements and new additions to the tools that were already available, with each improvement designed to streamline the development process further. Better still, those tools are available today through the Google VR developers site – which can be accessed through the source link below – so anybody interested in incorporating their use into a project shouldn’t have to waste any time waiting.

The first new addition is the Daydream Performance HUD, which adds a heads-up-display inside the test environment so that developers can keep an eye on performance metrics. Some metrics it provides include frame rate, memory usage for processes, thermal throttling stats, and platform-specific information. The tool should help developers find bottlenecks and narrow down issues in their applications much more easily. More importantly, it should help guide developers to where any issues could occur from within the software itself since developers won’t need to take off their headset to see the metrics. Taking things further, Google is updating its Instant Preview tool to version 1.1 to make incorporating changes effectively a smoother process. Instant preview allows changes made in either Unity or Unreal editor preview environments to be instantly portrayed in the VR without a developer needing to stop and recompile or redeploy a project. Now, that can also be done wirelessly, via Wi-Fi, in addition to through a USB connection. Version 1.1 also adds other enhancements such as controller emulator compatibility and the ability to see the battery level on the rendered controller Furthermore, the setup process for Instant preview has been streamlined to allow the APK to be auto-pushed to the device running the software, which should cut the amount of time between reviewing and implementing changes.

Last but not least, Google has added three new best practices “showcases” for developers to check out, which should help developers make their experiences more immersive and easier to use. That brings the total number of showcases to nine. The showcases effectively act as examples, that demonstrate methods for implementing key aspects of a VR experience fluidly. They include all key aspects of those experiences that a developer would want to dive into to get a complete picture of how the experience was accomplished. The first of these is a new demonstration for how to implement more immersive object manipulation, which Google has simply called “object manipulation.” It provides examples of how VR objects being manipulated can have a simulated weight – making them “feel” lighter or heavier – and how to make object interaction more natural to the end-user. Next up, Google has added a showcase outlining best practices for gesture-based interactions which it calls the “Constellation menu.” To illustrate the point, Constellation shows a deep information hierarchy which users can interact with in “responsive way.” The demonstration itself, according to Google, is intended to help with the creation of enterprise applications that have large data sets which need to be organized and interacted with in VR in a simple and easy fashion. Finally, The “Arm Model” showcases the use of “mathematical arm models” that “approximate the physical location of the Daydream controller in VR.” That allows the simulation of fully tracked controllers using only a rotation tracking controller, helping developers create more natural interactions and gestures through examples containing various, “specifically tuned” controller interactions.