Where should I start with VR?

I am a software engineering student attending Oregon Institute of Technology entering my senior year. For my senior project I am building a game for VR on the HTC Vive. Problem is, I have no idea where to start working towards the game. I am given a year to finish this, so I have plenty of time to learn. The following is some of the requirements set for the project.

  • Assets (Models, Textures ect.) must be made by me.
  • The character’s hands must move with the player’s hands.
  • The character must be able to swing a sword.
  • There only has to be one level.

That’s about it. A full game is not required, just a “demo” of what can be done.

I have spent the last month learning Blender and am fairly comfortable with it but keep running into problems every time I try to export a model for Unreal. Additionally, all of my models turn out with a high polygon count, well, what I assume is way too high for VR. (180,000 triangle range).

Should I even be starting with assets? Should I instead make the games landscape and camera controller?
Any advice on where to get started would be great, links to tutorials would also be of great help.

I suggest you check out the Blender videos on cgcookie.com, specifically the ones on game assets to get your poly count down. You may need to design them more mindfully or retopologize the assets.

Get assets from the marketplace. Examine their polycount and how they are unwrapped. Use this knowledge when making your assets in Blender. Blender materials don’t import into UE, so don’t bother messing with reflections, or specular in Blender, just use Blender to wrap UVs, and bake normals.

Also play around with free assets when you get tired of art and learn blueprints. You will need to spend significant time on non art things like just being in VR getting the controls to feel good.

The UE4 videos in the docs and on UnrealDevelopmentKit’s YouTube channel are good for learning, there is even a video on importing in blender.