The VRDC (Virtual Reality Designers Conference) event from the organizers of GDC is gearing up, with the first raft of games and entertainment VR/AR sessions lined up. VRDC will be held November 2 and 3 at the Park Central Hotel in San Francisco.
Session highlights so far include:
Reinventing ‘Psychonauts’ for VR
With Chad Dawson (Double Fine Productions)
Bringing the world of ‘Psychonauts’ to virtual reality begs for more than just adding a “VR” to the end of its title. It requires designing and building a fresh new experience from the ground up that captures the strengths of the original ‘Psychonauts’ game while embracing the immersion and gameplay that can only be experienced in VR. This talk covers the design evolution of ‘Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin’ including the specific challenges of camera perspectives, control iteration, navigation, and interactive dialog unique to title with a strong focus on stylized characters, story, and humor.
Full Speed Flying in VR! The R&D Behind Eagle Flight
With Olivier Palmieri (Ubisoft Montreal)
VR is a game changer when it comes to immersion. However as a new medium, VR also comes with new challenges. One of them is potential discomfort caused by virtual motion. Ubisoft could not imagine VR being limited to static or “teleportation” experiences, so they began an R&D project aimed at finding a way to allow comfortable high speed motion in VR. Olivier will describe this research (e.g. effects of motion in peripheral vision), and solutions they found (e.g. dynamic peripheral vision blinders). They also looked for controls that would not only be comfortable, but also very intuitive and precise. The results surpassed their expectations, achieving incredibly precise and reactive controls!
The Reality of Developing HoloLens Games
With Ralph Barbagallo (FLARB LLC) HoloLens has opened up a whole new world of mixed reality game design. While development kits are somewhat scarce, prepare yourself for the future of “Windows Holographic” game and application development by following the creation of Ether Wars, a mixed-reality real time strategy game from concept to demo on HoloLens. Ralph details realistic expectations for HoloLens’ capabilities for games, tips and tricks for working around platform limitations, how to develop HoloLens games with Unity3D, and the final step of developing and publishing your finished product.
A Playful Approach to Prototyping for Virtual Reality
With Paul Bettner and Dan Hurd (Playful Corp.)
Playful’s pioneering VR products are the result of relentless R&D, continuous iteration, multiple studio-wide game jams, and a Playful culture of letting the fun find us. Join us as we candidly share the details of our ongoing search for the best practices of rapid VR game development. We’ll discuss the promising tools and techniques we utilize for VR prototyping, highlight problem areas we continue to struggle with, and showcase Playful’s latest prototype work in touch-based and social VR.
Data and Insights in the VR Market
With Patrick Walker (EEDAR)
After a long road of hype and false starts, 2016 was the year high-quality consumer VR became a reality. While the path to mainstream VR is still unclear, the major VR platforms have succeeded in wowing players and driving excitement around the technology. In this talk, EEDAR’s Patrick Walker, presents data and insights from the first year of consumer VR. What’s worked and what hasn’t worked? What are the attitudes, opinions, and behaviors of both early adopters and gamers who are still on the fence? What do these answers tell us about the path to mainstream VR? These questions will be explored through consumer and sales data from a variety of sources, including our monthly global consumer tracker, PlayerPulse, and the EEDAR game database.
The Body is Back! Understanding Embodiment in VR & AR Game Design
With Robin Hunicke (Funomena)
As games move into Virtual and Alternate Reality platforms, so does the human body. Head, hands and full-body motion can be used as inputs – and how we approach that task has a huge impact on the player experience. In this talk Robin Hunicke will explore some of the core challenges and opportunities that the body presents in design, from controller design and gaze inputs to body posture, movement and gesture design. Using examples drawn from dance, outdoor play, as well VR and AR game development, she will dig into the science and engineering behind embodied game design, looking at how work from social sciences, human computer interaction and psychology can inform our designs and make our games better!