Metaverse design toolkit

Metaverse design toolkit
Shot from Ready Player One, 2018

The concept of a metaverse that became viral at the end of 2021 clearly indicates a digital transformation we are experiencing right now. Metaverse represents a significant part of web 3.0 that promises to blend people’s real and virtual lives. At the same time, right now, Metaverse is more like an early concept, and many designers wonder what tools they can use to design a metaverse experience? In this article, I’ve tried to summarize the most popular tool available on the market that allows you to create a truly immersive experience.

List updated on April 18, 2022

Platforms / Engines

Platforms and engines allow you to desing virtual spaces where you interact with other people.

NVIDIA Omniverse

Omniverse is a real-time 3D design collaboration and virtual world simulation platform by NVIDIA. It’s available for free to individual creators and artists. Omniverse also allows to connect independent 3D design worlds into a shared virtual scene.

NVIDIA Omniverse for 3D Creators
Multi-app workflow acceleration for 3D creators.

Oculus Horizon Words

Horizon Worlds is a tool that allows you to create your virtual world. It supports Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest 2.

Horizon Worlds | Virtual Reality Worlds and Communities
Explore Horizon Worlds on Oculus, the most collaborative platform in VR. Our creative tools were built to help you bring your wildest dreams to life.

Unity

Unity is one of the most popular engines for game development that also help you build metaverse solutions. Unity offers a powerful editor that allows you to create 3D VR assets. Plus, it works with popular VR platforms such as Oculus. Unity also provides a direct VR mode to preview your work in an HMD (Head Mounted Display).

Unity has a huge community, and plenty of educational resources and documentation are available for product creators. For example, Unity offers comprehensive educational resources that can help get started and master this tool.

Unity
Unity is the ultimate game development platform. Use Unity to build high-quality 3D and 2D games, deploy them across mobile, desktop, VR/AR, consoles or the Web, and connect with loyal and enthusiastic players and customers.

Unreal Engine 4 (UI4)

Unreal Engine is one of the main competitors of Unity 3D. One major advantage of UI4 is that the graphics it offers look more advanced and realistic than Unity. UI4 also supports the real-time rendering of visuals. The variety of VR platforms it supports is also impressive — with Unreal Engine 4, you can build apps that will work on an Oculus, Sony, Samsung, and more. And same as Unity, Unreal comes with solid documentation.

Unreal Engine | The most powerful real-time 3D creation tool
Unreal Engine is the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D creation tool for photoreal visuals and immersive experiences.

Amazon Sumerian

Amazon Sumerian is the AR/VR engine from AWS that allows you to create and run browser-based 3D, augmented reality, and virtual reality apps. Sumerian works with all popular VR platforms like Oculus. Sumerian supports popular use cases like training simulation and virtual concierge out of the box.

Amazon Sumerian | 3D AR & VR Applications | AWS
Amazon Sumerian makes it easy to create engaging 3D front-end experiences and is integrated with AWS services to provide easy access to machine learning, chatbots, code execution and more. As a web-based platform, your immersive experiences are accessible via a simple browser URL and are able to run…

Cryengine

Cryengine is another engine that is fairly popular among game developers. This engine allows you to build real-time visualization of your 3D environment.

3D modeling tools

The virtual space of the Metaverse will be naturally created using 3D objects. 3D modeling will become an essential skill for metaverse designers. In this section, we will discuss 3D modeling and rendering software.

Adobe Medium

Adobe Medium is a comprehensive tool that allows you to create 3D assets. With Medium, you can intuitively create organic shapes, complex characters, abstract art, and anything in between. It supports Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest + Link.

3D modeling in virtual space.
Top 3D sculpting tools for virtual reality authoring | Medium by Adobe
3D modeling software for 3D asset creation and VR immersive experiences. Virtual reality tools for VFX artists and beginners alike. Formerly Oculus Medium.

Blender

Blender is an open-source 3D creation suite. This tool allows you to create 3D scenes with rigging, animation, and motion tracking. This tool is entirely free, which makes it a significant competitive advantage. Plus, there’s a massive community of people that use it and share their expertise.

Blender editor
blender.org - Home of the Blender project - Free and Open 3D Creation Software
The Freedom to Create

3DS & Maya

3DS and Maya are Autodesk products for modeling, animation, and lighting. They allow you to create expansive worlds, complex characters, and dazzling effects. Maya doesn’t offer VR support out of the box, but it’s possible to add this support using plugins (although the plugins are pricey).

Avatar creation

Avatar is a digital representation of a real human being in a virtual space. Realistic presence is a key to creating a connected experience. That’s why avatar creation will become a significant part of Metaverse UX.

Ready Player Me

Ready Player Me is a cross-game avatar platform for the Metaverse. It allows you to use a single avatar in many different worlds.

Ready Player Me avatar generation
Metaverse Full-Body Online 3D Avatar Creator | Ready Player Me
Create a full-body 3D avatar with a selfie and use it in the metaverse. Developer? Integrate our avatar platform into your app or game.

Spatial

Spatial is another digital avatar tool primarily focused on creating avatars for virtual galleries and events in artist-built spaces.

Spatial avatar creator
Create Your Avatar: Build Your Metaverse Presence
Learn best practices for creating your Spatial avatar to use in VR and across Spatial’s multiple platforms! Create the most accurate avatar that represents who you are.

Gestures and interactions in virtual space

Bringing hands to a virtual environment might be challenging. Hopefully, a few tools are already available on the market that helps us with that.

Interaction SDK

Interaction SDK is a hand interaction framework developed by Meta. It allows developers to implement a range of robust, standardized interactions (including grab, poke, and more) for controllers and hands. It supports both hands and controllers. Unlike tools that are already available on the market, Interaction SDK is completely free.

Interaction SDK in action. 

Educational resources

Google VR for everyone

Google VR portal offers a range of tools that you can use to create VR apps for multiple platforms, including Unity and Unreal. VR portal provides software development kits for all VR platforms it supports.

Google VR for everyone | Google Developers
Create immersive VR experiences at Google scale.