Numerous technological developments over the previous 70 years have affected how we create, develop, and use software. The Metaverse changing software development by the development of C, the personal computer, the internet, and the transition from waterfall to agile development methods are just a few examples.
But nothing compares to what may be on the horizon: the combination of blockchain technology, 6G/satellite connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), and ideas like the Metaverse changing software development will transform how we create, develop, and implement software. In this brief blog post, I’ll be concentrating on the Metaverse and its potential impact on software developers.
What is the Metaverse?
The metaverse is a virtual reality that enables us to engage with an entirely virtual and immersive environment in the same way that we would in the real world. “A hypothesized iteration of the internet, the metaverse supports persistent online 3-D virtual environments through conventional personal computing, as well as virtual and augmented reality headsets,” according to Wikipedia.
“A container of 2D or 3D virtual spaces, a persistent place parallel to the physical world, aiming to combine online digital and real-time interactions with the sense of presence,” is how the term “metaverse” is defined in a Capgemini paper on the topic of healthcare metaverse.
A fully immersive encounter
For many years, a parallel virtual world where players may interact and connect with others in a primarily fantasy-like terrain has been built by games like Roblox and Fortnite, as well as older titles like World of Warcraft, Minecraft, and Second Life. One may also compare the idea to the movie The Matrix, in which the protagonist “moves” between two parallel universes that resemble reality.
Many see the metaverse as the third generation of the internet, with V1 occurring in the 1990s and V2 being the advent of social media at the beginning of the 2000s. There are numerous applications for the Metaverse changing software development, such as in the fields of healthcare and smart cities.
Some, on the other hand, are more pessimistic and think the metaverse has already passed into history. Perhaps in the middle is where the truth lies. What is evident, though, is that software development will be impacted by the metaverse or some aspect of the different metaverse concepts:
Few Ways Of Metaverse changing software development
Moving away from the mouse and keyboard
The introduction of Apple’s iPhone in 2007 signaled the beginning of the end for mobile phone keyboards. We may observe the same thing occurring to our PCs with the rise of the metaverse. For end users, gesture, speech, and movement may gradually replace the mouse.
Which was created by IBM in 1964 and is now the de facto PC input device next to the keyboard. Although some speculate that the use of mind control technologies may also gain traction. Naturally, virtual reality (VR) has been there since the mid-1990s, but it hasn’t fully become popular due to several reasons.
This could alter now that the Metaverse changing software development is taking shape and more firms are revealing that they are creating MR devices (Apple began production in March 2023).
The move away from text-based coding remains mostly unknown to developers. The gradual disappearance of text input devices is the result of the transition.
Developers will have to deal with both the new virtual and conventional physical modes of working if it doesn’t. In any case, compared to using a mouse and keyboard alone, creating software that supports a variety of data input devices will call for a new set of abilities, methods, and resources.
It appears most likely that developers will utilize a combination of new virtual and conventional physical working methods in a convergence.
Using VR, AR, MR, and XR to transition from 2D monitor screen interactions to full 3D
Our conventional user input devices are not the only ones that could be altered. It’s also possible that our conventional user interfaces will evolve. The idea of a PC monitor—a screen that projects data in two dimensions and shows it in both visual and textual form—hasn’t changed over the previous thirty years; instead, it has only altered in terms of resolution and size.
Though it never really took off, the touch screen attempted to make things better. We may witness a transition from the current PC-based fixed and two-dimensional monitors to mixed physical and virtual reality gadgets, driven by the Metaverse changing software development. The way we design and develop programs could be drastically altered by utilizing gestures, smartphones, virtual reality (VR) headsets, or mixed reality (MR) glasses for user interaction.
The transition will probably occur gradually. It may be some time before MR becomes commonplace for developers creating, developing, and distributing code as well as for end users interacting with apps. To guarantee that they can create completely smooth and fluid interactions, software developers must become proficient with the new (and already diverse) software development kits (SDKs).
New development platforms
Communities and organizations are also starting to create new programming languages in response to the emergence of the metaverse. For example, Epic Games released Verse, a programming language for the Metaverse, in December 2022. The goal of the verse is to enable real-time social interaction creation in a shared three-dimensional (3D) environment.
Verse is currently a part of the web3 programming language family, which also includes languages like Rust, Curry, Mercury, Solidity, and Clarity. Verse also uses live upgrades of active code and operating standards from many game engines, including Unity, to provide interoperable content. Solidity is a further example.
Solidity is a statically typed programming language designed by Ethereum specifically for creating Ethereum-based smart contracts. The object-oriented programming language Solidity is used on the Ethereum blockchain to create and develop smart contracts. With any new programming language, the question is whether it will become widely used or dominant in a certain manner. Time will tell.
Applications’ quality will be just as crucial as it is for those of today. However evaluating the use of both real and virtual devices will be different in MR and digital twin types of contexts since new testing facilities are required to avoid manual interventions that would read, “Put the headset on, run the app, and see if it works.” Different testing regimes may be necessary for the integration of MR and/or VR devices, as well as for the use of different platforms.
Increasing awareness of non-functional elements such as safety, security, and delay
Developers must take into account the potential risk profiles associated with walking around wearing Google Glass or any other VR or MR gadget while designing and implementing metaverse-based products.
Additionally, developers will need to take into account latency—also known as “lag” or the time it takes for a service to respond—more than they would in our “traditional” 2D world of today. A completely immersive experience in the metaverse can only be attained with completely fluid and flawless rendering, which will be a crucial component of the user experience.
The end user may be mobile or stationary, and there are multiple data transfer options available to them (now 5G, but eventually 6G, or even via low-orbit satellites). Therefore, it’s critical to make sure the metaverse solution being created takes this into account. More “traditional” elements, such as using 3D engines and writing effective net code (which refers to synchronization problems between clients and servers), will become even more crucial in light of these needs.
Switching from Apple and Android as the two main mobile platforms to a variety of platforms
To keep people interested, the metaverse will need a lot of 3D content, and 3D is expensive to create, interpret, store, and ship. The process of producing a virtual experience for platforms like Oculus Quest, HTC Hive, and other VR or MR systems is known as metaverse application development. Popular metaverse development tools for 3D creation are Blender, Autodesk’s Maya, Epic’s Unreal Engine, Unity, and Amazon Sumerian.
Then there are the different (as of this writing) development platforms that include Ethereal Engine, Webaverse, JanusWeb, WebXR, Open Metaverse, Nvidia’s Omniverse, Hadea’s metaverse infrastructure, and the Microsoft metaverse stack, among other metaverse-related tools and accelerators.
Increased importance of application programming interfaces (APIs)
One of the biggest obstacles facing programmers creating applications for the metaverse will be interoperability, or getting systems to communicate with one another. Similar to how several manufacturers and open communities created and published new standards following the mid-1990s internet revolution, the metaverse is likewise generating a plethora of, occasionally contradictory, standards.
The question remains how it will all work out. It is evident, therefore, that software engineers need to have a strong understanding of data integration, especially given the fact that data is sent between systems in real-time.
Greater emphasis on real-time collaboration
Applications developed for the metaverse must be able to react quickly to unforeseen occurrences to provide a smooth user experience since they will be utilized in an interactive, real-time way.
This means that instead of having the software designed with that goal in mind, software developers will need to apply statistical techniques like deep learning on input data and real-time user interactions to predict a reaction or the next action.
Security and trust will be critical elements
Users’ faith in their virtual counterparts is another prerequisite for the metaverse’s success, therefore both active and passive security are essential. There will be a need for new methods of safeguarding and managing virtual assets and interactions in real-time as the metaverse develops around the real-time trade of virtual assets.
This will include data privacy, interaction and transaction security, virtual asset protection, authentication, and access control. Passive security-related features will also be required, such as robust network security that guards against hacking, cyberattacks, and other security risks.
The further use of tech like blockchain and NFTs
Trading products and services is one of the primary use cases in the metaverse. As a result, it’s expected that non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technology will facilitate the trading of virtual assets. This implies that managing NFTs and distributed ledgers like blockchains should be familiar to software developers.
AI will impact software development
Artificial Intelligence will also be a component of the metaverse. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to play a significant role in bolstering the metaverse by aiding in end-user personalization, content creation for more immersive and engaging virtual environments, and user behavior analysis for patterns and trends that let developers optimize the virtual world and improve user experience.
Artificial Intelligence will have a major impact on software development even in the absence of the metaverse. The following domains are where AI is positively influencing software development and design:
- Generating code: several AI tools can generate code, including Deep Coder developed by Microsoft, Kite, Tab Nine, GitHub Copilot, etc.
- Automation: AI can automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks in software development, such as testing, debugging, and code optimization.
- Quality: AI can improve the accuracy of software development by identifying potential bugs and vulnerabilities in code before it is deployed.
- Efficient resource utilization: AI can help software developers optimize resource utilization, such as server capacity and memory usage, to ensure that applications are running efficiently.
- Increasing immersion: by, for instance, making aspects more dynamic and immersive in the environment
- Creating virtual worlds: through, for instance, “text-to-environment” or “text-to-world.” Instead of placing assets using a mouse and keyboard, a developer could describe the environment instead.
Today, many use cases exist where AI is aiding the entire software development process. The possible advent of the metaverse, or aspects of it, will further impact and change the way software developers work
Whether the metaverse becomes the next iteration of the internet is anybody’s guess. In a 1999 interview, David Bowie made a very accurate prediction about the future of the internet. Regarding the metaverse, he may have made the same statement today.
Software developers will need to adapt to the changing landscape of technology and user experience as an increasing number of user interactions will take place in virtual environments due to the advent of technologies such as VR, AR, MR, and AI.