Vicarious VR

Vicarious

App Development
Unity, iOS, Android

San Francisco based Vicarious VR initially reached out to Karman to help integrate Spotify music streaming into their app. Impressed by the quality of our communication and work, Vicarious continued contracting us to help their team develop a number of other features. Including:

  • Porting the app from Android and Daydream to iOS and Cardboard.
  • HLS Video streaming.
  • Maintaining feature parity between 2D and VR mode.
  • Optimizing the app to keep a low memory footprint while showing a high volume of images and video.

Little did we know that, over time, the Vicarious team would be so pleased with Karman that we’d ultimately be responsible for all of their mobile and server development.

The Vicarious VR app allows creators to share with their following their experiences and content as full VR experiences or in 2D. The app enables you to create stories by uploading a series of 360 images and videos to share with your followers and the public. The goal is to view stories created by people around the world and experience life through their eyes.

Little did we know that over time, the Vicarious team would be so pleased with Karman that we’d ultimately be responsible for all mobile client and server side development.

Challenges

  1. Optimizing for Mobile VR. Loading large images and videos while keeping VR latency free required special attention and clever tricks when optimizing.
  2. Going Native. Lots of platform specific functionality and integrations required significant pieces to be written outside of Unity. Your average Unity team wasn’t going to cut it.
  3. Features. All functionality of the app must support 2D and VR allowing creators and users to experience the app in their own way.

Delivered

The Karman team improved and optimized the original code base to support both iOS and Android. The app’s primary focus is to display user created content, Karman delivered a solid experience by managing app resources and reducing load times while being memory conscious.

Delivering the same experience on two different mobile platforms was a challenge. Karman built custom solutions for Android and iOS to list all the device’s image and video media and verify selected content was 360 enabled. Uploading user content had to be quick. To achieve this goal we implemented efficient image and video compression and fine tuned it for both performance and quality.

Vicarious on Android supports two different Google Play products, one for Daydream VR and the other Cardboard VR. To enable targeting two VR platforms, Karman extended the Unity build pipeline to continue using a single code base while changing build settings and SDKs during build time.

Unity Editor tools were created to allow the Vicarious managers to jump into Unity and make changes to the build without touching a piece of code. These tools include view layering and behaviours, iOS and Android build options and media compression settings.

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