Back in May Google held its I/O conference announcing its next foray into the world of virtual reality (VR) with its smartphone powered Daydream head-mounted display (HMD). A much rumoured update to the far simpler Google Cardboard, Daydream will be going head-to-head with Samsung’s successful Gear VR headset. In preparation for Daydream’s release at some point this year the company has now announced that the Google VR SDK 1.0 has now left the beta phase.
Google already has developers working on Daydream, such as Resolution Games with Wonderglade, CCP Games with Gunjack NEXT and nDreams with two unannounced titles. For developers interested in working on Daydream the release of Google VR SDK 1.0 means it’s now easier to start as the SDK should simplify VR development tasks.
The SDK features compatibility with the Daydream controller, and if you’re used to working with middleware development engines, Unity or Unreal Engine, those have been integrated too. Both Unity and Unreal Engine announced support for Daydream at Google I/O, and this new release sees improvements to compatibility. Unity now natively supports Daydream with the SDK 1.0 adding head tracking, deep linking, and easy Android manifest configuration. For Unreal Engine the update introduces Daydream controller support in the editor, a neck model and new rendering optimizations among other improvements.
Currently only one smartphone supports the Daydream Development Kit, the Nexus 6P but more devices should be coming soon. Google has also opened applications to its Daydream Access Program (DAP) so that the company can work closely with developers creating content.