Tony Davidson is the developer of the puzzle-based, adventure game called Ethereon. He talks about the process of creating a world that you can explore and interact with where there are puzzles that are well-integrated into the environment and make sense. He liked to take things apart and put them back together as a kid, and wanted to create a slower-paced VR experience that appeals to this type of exploration.

Photo by VRFocusHe talks his approach for optimizing his VR experience by only using 270k polygons, and a handful of texture maps. He set his target platform to Android, and was very mindful of getting frame rates ranging from 120 to 300 frames per second.

Tony also talks about the process of using RiftUp in order to upgrade the resolution of his Oculus Rift. He shares his thoughts on creating more immersion by avoiding photorealism and creating a less familiar, lucid dream type of environment where it’s easier to suspend your disbelief.

Finally, he talks about his vision for creating personal and solo experiences within VR, and his hopes that the slower-paced games adventure and puzzle-based games will have a resurgence within VR.

Reddit discussion here.


  • 0:00 – Intro. Ethereon puzzle game. Solo project. Exploration game. Worked on Riven. Has an adventure background. Learned 3D because of VR, and made a demo which got him a job. In promo mode now.
  • 1:46 – Myst and Riven games were old-school, pre-rendered game. Explore a world and interact. You figure things out to explore more. Ethereon is physics-based game, and well integrated in environment
  • 3:34 – What happens when people can’t figure it out. Some people just give up. Other people really get it. Like to tear things apart as a kid, and people like that will appreciate that. VR mimics reality. Put them in a world where they have to figure it out.
  • 4:48 – How to balance moving people forward without giving too many spoilers. Community will share hints and spoilers. It’s a slower-paced game. People who like to run and gun are ones who have more trouble.
  • 6:35 – Slower pace, and dealing with VR simulator sickness. Had a hard time with it.
  • 7:46 – RiftUp kit details to get higher definition within Oculus Rift
  • 9:59 – Does it account for the barrel distortion?
  • 10:37 – AMOLED screens will have low persistence relative to LCD.
  • 11:13 – Frame rates and adapting for higher resolution. Only 270k polygons. Targeting Android as a minimum platform. Getting 120-300fps
  • 13:02 – Photorealism vs. more immersion in less photo-real, low-poly world. Reflections and other effects help trick people in believing it. Non-photo real is less familiar and it’s easier to suspend your disbelief. Reality and Lucid dream.
  • 15:54 – High contrast working better in VR. Setting it in space.
  • 16:43 – Potential of VR. Not a big fan of the metaverse, and more about creating a personal and solo experience. Adventure, puzzle-based games and slower-paced games to have a resurgence.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

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