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Who should be employed at startups to create training simulators using virtual reality (programmers, graphics, and who else)?

As Daniel mentioned, as a startup you should definitively have a project manager, an analyst, and your sales team… heck, you should have these for any software project, but I assume that the question was more focused on the development team.

Things you may not have considered are

  • UX/UI: Who designs the interfaces and user experience. they have to look good and be usable at the same time. Curved UIs? Buttons? Is it through hand gestures, keyboard and mouse, touch controllers?
  • Tester: Someone who can validate the simulation, and try the application countless of times until they are bored to death and still find the will and strength to write reports about everything that’s wrong or lacking.
  • (Software) Designer or Architect : Is this a single module? Is it extendable? Does it connect with 3rd party databases, devices, websites? Is it a self contained project? A regular architect with some knowledge of the field and simulation context should suffice.

The rest of the team should gather requirements, validate, create sales presentations, and all the other stuff that they have mentioned already, plus specialized developers on areas particular to your simulation.

This is the ideal team, though you can get away with much less depending on the scale of the project.