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Dev Blog- 1st Entry. DevLog 757.001

Level 3

Ok- as part of the responsibilities of being in the first Oculus Launchpad dev group, each of the 100 people who were selected from a national pool of applicants (that would be me!)  is being asked to create a developer blog. Not only about our experience when we visited Oculus and Facebook HQ in Silicon Valley in May, 2016, but also about our experience and process as we become VR storytellers in our own right. Because I’m late in getting started with my blog (3 weeks-ish. Yeesh!), I’m going to mostly skip the details about the experience at Facebook HQ this post. I’ll sprinkle those memory snippets in over the course of the blog. Because it’s finally starting to click for me in terms of figuring out what my process is to learn VR, what systematic approach I want to use to get to my goal of being a VR ninja, I want to start there.

That being said, one of the things that made this whole process of becoming a developer seem daunting to me in the beginning was this- not particularly having a roadmap of where I was supposed to go. Going to Oculus and getting the 1-day exposure to best practices and training, etc was like getting thrown the keys to a stick shift Ferrari, and someone saying, “hey, meet me there in an hour.” And your response is like, “Um, wait. Where is THERE?? I don’t even drive stick yet!!!” And maybe that’s part of the fun of becoming a VR developer- you’re supposed to find your own way. Adjust the learning intake and controls so they fit your learning style and pace like a full body haptic suit. But for me, maybe because I was a special education teacher for 10 years, I felt like I needed a roadmap. Some system of rules to guide me as I was learning what I’m positive is becoming an entirely new career and life path for me. I recently found the guard rails I’m using to guide my learning so I’m not just out here spinning my wheels, letting my ADD take me where it will on YouTube and Twitter; it’s the Unity Developer Certification.

Becoming a Unity Certified Developer

So right now, at this very moment, Unity is building their capacity in creating a baseline certification for users and companies hiring Unity developers. This certification, seemingly, will cover all of the minimum competencies necessary to not only manipulate the Unity engine well, but also to get yourself hired at a studio that’s looking for Unity developers. From indie game houses based in someone’s garage, all the way to AAA game studios. In my eyes it looks like Unity is attempting to create not only a common language for competencies developers should know, but also the industry standard for making employment hires as they relate to Unity. Well played, Unity. Well played. Beam me up, Scotty!

For me, there were several obvious benefits of using the Unity Developer Certification to guide my learning. First, I get a roadmap. Because I’d only piddled around a little bit in Unity before, without ever successfully creating a FULL project, having a place to orient me with the skills I would need to become a competent developer was key. And having the company whose game engine is currently making over 80% of the VR content in the market (something like that), I figured they knew what it takes to make some killer content. Enter the Unity Developer Learning Outcomes doc here:  and their Certified Developer Exam Objectves here: . However, it should be noted that those seeking to get certified need to pay to take the certifying exam. The next exam in Los Angeles (where I’m based) will be given Nov. 1, 2016 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel. It’s $187.50. You can find more info about that here: . I’m going to take the exam regardless of where my skills are, because I want to know what the questions look like. I want to see where my skills will rank in terms of how much more I’ll need to learn before I could be certified enough to get a frickin j-o-b in the field! So, that being said, I put together my own little cheat sheet primer of getting to the goal of becoming certified as quickly as possible. Here it is below.

For Us Noobs

The following resources should be able to get anyone who is a complete newbie in VR up and running with development in a relatively short amount of time, including some serious best practice information. I would also recommend the Carl Callewaert (  method if you’re using videos to train yourself: watch the video once all the way through, no stopping. Let the lesson be shown to you without the pauses and clicks you would normally make following along in the exercises. Just watch the video. Then the second time you watch it, once you have a base of familiarity, then click buttons and follow the exercises. Does it take a bit longer? Yes. But speaking as a teacher who taught in public schools for 10 years myself (and hey, I do have a Doctorate in Education), I say this method is better when it comes to learning a skill. But that’s just me.

  1. $34.99 for the monthly access w/ Exercise Files included for you to practice demo training via However, if you have a Los Angeles Public Library card, you get full access to all of the online Lynda courses for FREE, including the Exercise Files that go with each video (usually a paid premium feature if you bought a Lynda license individually). So, get yourself a library card!! This video covers all the basics of Unity 5 3D in a structured, logical process. Helpful for those just orienting themselves in Unity.

  2. The VR Book: Human Centered Design for Virtual Reality-- . Because VR is just as much about knowing the human processes of perception, and how to create and manipulate these processes, as it is knowing how to manipulate code and technology. Also check out the author’s Twitter feed, he’s awesome!

  3. -- Unity editor basics, from Unity Twitch TV

  4. -- some best practices from the Oculus mothership

  5. -- Shout out to Liv from Oculus Launchpad!

As an added bonus to this list, when I watched the Unity editor basics video, I noticed it didn’t have time stamps for the topics it covered, so I took the time to make them. Here they are:

Noob Video List -- Unity editor basics; From Unity Twitch TV channel

0:00- Intro

4:50- creating a new project

5:30- folder structure

6:50- when importing, only include asset packages you need and will use

8:50- windows aka views

9:09- hierarchy view

9:25- scenes

10:54- search by hierarchy view

11:04- create

11:50- inspector view

13:15- renaming the main camera

14:00- tags

14:39- layers

15:29- transform block

15:55- camera components

16:18- adding components

16:59- project view

17:30- difference between game object and an asset

20:15- assets folder within assets view

20:25- new folders w/in assets view

20:50- assets defined

21:40- managing files

21:54- better to delete files in unity

23:26- favorites menu

24:40- console view

25:30- scene view

26:15- unity as a visual game engine, requiring less code than others

27:13- how to move around in scene view  **might want to start here after learning what all of the views are**

28:03- request for unity shortcut keys

28:25- fly through mode

30:00- using ‘shift’ in fly through mode

31:31- using the ‘F’ key to locate objects

33:53- camera preview

34:34- render mode drop down

35:00- wireframe texturing

35:24- render paths

35:44- color settings

36:17- scene effects

36:58- environmental effects

37:35- audio

37:47- ambient light in a scene

38:03- render settings for ambient light

38:42- gizmos

39:30- unity workflows

40:04- the compass rose (xyz axis manipulation) **may be 3rd in instructions**

41:14- seeing w/out distortion

41:29- ‘iso’ mode

42:03- mouse wheel

42:31- game view

43:10 aspect ratios

45:30- hand tool

46:00- translation tool

46:20- rotation tool

46:57- scale tool

48:47- layer drop down

49:50- running a scene buttons

52:06- nothing is saved while running a scene

52:50- screen layout options  **4th in instructions**

54:29- moving tabs w/in your screen

55:15- saving your layout

56:00- lesson recap

Because this seems to be getting a bit long, and I don’t want to wander too much off of the topic of beginner’s stage learning I’m going to tie things up about now. But I’ve got most of my next entry already written and am looking forward to sharing it. In that post, I’ll be talking some about the project that’s currently taking up all my time, well, most, in VR. With all the books I’m reading right now, it’s hard not to let other ideas you’d like to see in VR distract you. 

But before I take off, I wanted to mention a couple of things and offer 1 quick tip of the hat. Because I’m a huge music fan, one of the things that really important to me in VR development is Sound and Sound Design. So in future installments of this blog, I’m always going to have a section that outlines what I learned that week in Sound Design (any and all resources you care to send my way are appreciated!). Each week I will also include a listing of what I felt were the best learning resources I came across that week, and who I think Won the Week in terms of just frickin killer VR content that I happened to see.

Who Won the Week in VR Content: Longing for Wilderness. Dude, I friggin love this thing. I found it a while back, but it never ceases to amaze me. Well done Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg GmbH!!

Hat Tip!


I’d also like to give a very dignified derby bowler hat hat tip to Shayna Moon, who so graciously offered 1 free hour of consultation to all of the Oculus Launchpad dev crew (you’re awesome!), and I took her up on it last week. Shayna was awesome in guiding me to ask the right kind of questions, and she was able to really help me get grounded with actionable steps I needed to take to move me in the right direction. I highly recommended her services!!

Resources -- Mike Geig (@mikegeig) -- next video I will make time stamps for of the topics addressed -- unity hot keys -- Oculus best practices

What questions do I have from this week?

  1. How do I use a learn to use code repository ‘properly’? (Thanks to Mike Geig for putting this on the list)

  2. Where do I go for essential instruction in 3D sound design?

Top 5 articles/resources from the week

  1. Unity Asset Store has “Unity Essentials/Certification” as a searchable term in the asset store, it will take you to assets you will need to learn to manipulate in order to take the certification test later on. You can also search “Unity Education” in the asset store search bar

  2. The VR Book: Human Centered Design for Virtual Reality---


  4. YouTube 360 spatial sound: ps- good headphones are key with this.

  5. There’s a ‘Unity Courseware’ YouTube channel, but it only has 30 second trailers for the different chapters of work that you’ll do. The actual lessons themselves haven’t been uploaded yet. And the pricing hasn’t been released for the Unity Certification courseware yet, so there’s that