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How to Create a Gear VR App Using InstaVR

The Gear VR platform is a great way to present your virtual reality experiences. More immersive than Google Cardboard, and more affordable than HTC Vive or Oculus Rift, Gear VR is the perfect choice for individuals and businesses that are looking to take a serious step into VR without a huge upfront investment. All end users need to experience the platform is a non-tethered Gear VR headset combined with one of Samsung's powerful line of compatible phones.

For many novice VR developers, there is a fear that creating an app for Gear VR will be difficult or time consuming. With InstaVR, that is definitely not the case. We make the process as smooth and simple as possible, meaning you don't have to be an engineer to produce a high quality VR experience.

Below I outline the steps involved in creating a Gear VR app using InstaVR. After you've read this guide, I encourage you to read our case study on AECOM, a 92,000 employee engineering firm using InstaVR to create a multitude of Gear VR apps. Their apps traverse multiple use cases, including employee training, sales presentations, and garnering pre-building approval at community meetings. InstaVR saves them time and effort as they produce new Gear VR specific apps on a regular basis. 

Create Your VR Experience

You start off creating a Gear VR app the same way you would for iOS or Android. You upload your 360 panorama images or videos to our Console, add navigation, add hotspots (image/video/text/audio narration), and add branding (home screen/splash page).

You do want to keep in mind that a Gear VR user will be approaching your app differently than on say an iPad or Android phone. For one, head movement will determine all navigation and hotspot initiation. So you typically don't want to place your links for navigation/hotspots too high or too low, as that will require the user to tilt their head substantially. Plus, you want to strongly consider the length of engagement with your app, as the time users want to engage with a head-mounted display is usually less than using gyroscopic movement or swiping movement on a phone or iPad.

Locate Your Gear VR Device IDs

One thing special about Gear VRs is that they each have a unique device ID. InstaVR will need to make a special file packet for each phone you will be loading your VR experience on. Traditionally, locating your device ID has taken a number of steps, and been a bit time consuming.

That is why our engineering team has created a small app whose sole purpose is to produce your Device ID for you. I highly recommend you use it, if you don't already know your Device IDs. 

You can download that Device ID app here in the Google Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=co.instavr.instavrgearvrutil

Download Oculus Signature Files (osigs)

This step can seem intimidating to a first-time Gear VR app creator. It shouldn't be.

You start by going to the Oculus Signature Generator Page: https://developer.oculus.com/osig/ . You log in using your Oculus Account, which you can sign up for at no cost, if you don't have one. Then you create your osigs that you will upload to the InstaVR Console prior to packaging. 

Create Packages!

One of the huge benefits of InstaVR is the one-click ability to create multiple different types of packages. That same VR experience you created once can be published across many platforms (iOS, Android, Gear VR, and the Web).

Also very nice is the ability to create multiple Gear VR packages at once with InstaVR. With other services, you often have to one-by-one add Oculus Signature Files, creating one Gear VR app at a time. This repetitive process can become very time consuming if you have even a small number of Gear VR headsets. But with InstaVR, you'll upload all osigs at once, then have your downloadable packages ready in minutes.

Conclusion

Gear VRs are great. They're comfortable, transportable, and fully immersive. Though requiring a significantly larger investment than Google Cardboard, Gear VRs are worth it if you need to impress people. And with InstaVR, you can quickly and easily generate your Gear VR apps for distribution. 

If you have any questions on InstaVR, don't hesitate to reach out to our Head of Sales & Marketing, Andrew Woodberry, at andrew at instavr.co.

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