Drash is a VR developer best known for creating the educational experience of Titans of Space. Here’s the official release thread on the Oculus Developer forums that details all that’s been updated for it to be compatible with DK2. He talks about some of the changes that he made under the hood to build it out more in the future as well finding the right scale ratio, and how so many people reacted to the evocative music loops that he got from Jon Hillman’s “This is Now” music loops in the Unity3D asset store.

drash-titans-of-spaceDrash also did a number of optimizations to make it run faster as well as other refactoring to make it easier to add more tours in the future that go beyond our solar system.

He talks about some of the challenges with getting DK2 demos working in this early stage and working around some new quirks, but that overall the DK2 port was a drag and drop experience.

Drash has also been an active participant in both the in the Reddit r/oculus and Oculus Development forums, and has done a number of Rift Demo round-ups. He noticed that a lot of developers are hungry for feedback, and has gone out of his way to try as many demos as possible and provide feedback where he can.

A couple of Drash’s favorite developers to keep eye on include include /u/BaseDeltaZer0 who did the Ambient Flight & PolyWorld DK2 demo. As well as Tore Knabe, who is known as Tamulur on the Oculus Developer forums.

He talks about some of his other experimental demos including helping phantom limb pain with an Amputee VR Therapy, the TNG Engineering Star Trek engineering room, and a VR experience where you see the world as if you were color blind. Drash talks about his own hearing impairment and how that makes him particularly sensitive to making VR experiences more accessible for everyone, and suggests looking at GameAccessibilityGuidelines.com for more details.

Finally, he talks a bit about his future plans in making more educational and game experiences, and looks forward to being able to loose himself within a MMORPG VR experience while still being connected to his obligations in reality. He sees that reality and VR will eventually start to merge through AR, and that he doesn’t hold any judgements against people who choose to spend time in immersive environments because they’re building memories, and that’s what it’s all about.

To keep track of Drash and his future VR ventures, then be sure to keep tabs on DrashVR.com

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Developed Titans of Space to see scale and flying in space. Started as a Hobby, but it’s getting more serious now.
  • 0:44 – Made the Top 20 demos of 2013, and was the only educational demo on there. What type of feedback have you gotten. Lots of positive and constructive feedback. People really respond to the music that changes in intensity as you go through the tour.
  • 2:12 – Jon Hillman’s “This is Now” music loops in the Unity3D asset store (preview). Cross fade from one sample to the next.
  • 3:24 – Approach to scale in Titans of Space. 1:1,000,000 was the end result of an iterative result. Moving away from multiple camera.s
  • 4:30 – Experience of porting Titans of Space from DK1 to DK2. Still things that need to be ironed out. Toggle between VR and non-VR mode. Work it on non-VR mode and then build it out to take a look. Zooming is an experimental feature that messes with the field of view to zoom, and it breaks with every new SDK.
  • 6:26 – Rearchitected Titans of Space, but not because of DK2 because the first version was a bit rushed and sloppy. Had to realize new issues to take into consideration once
  • 7:40 – Options low persistence, time warp, black smear correction. Turn off low persistence to see what it’s like.
  • 8:35 – Challenges getting stuff running. CymaticBruce’s 25-minute troubleshooting video. A little bit of black magic because it’s not idempotent, and have to try things multiple times. A bit more stable to run as Direct to VR HMD mode. Helps to have a trivial scene pop up immediate at the beginning. Some vertical tearing, and you can disable and re-enable sync.
  • 10:47 – Challenging to test every combination of hardware and software. Turn off time warp because issues from the graphics card. That’s why he put in that feature. Demos need to run at 75fps, and shouldn’t rely on Time Warp.
  • 12:00 – Optimizing Titans of Space. Went from 4 million to 100k vertices. Have planets come and go, and some people like the planets like to stay put and people like to be able to compare.
  • 13:15 – What provides immersion in VR. Realistic lighting and self-shadowing really help with immersion.
  • 14:07 – Special lighting? A lot of stuff is faked. Special tricks for on-bard lights
  • 14:48 – Controlling the path of the camera. Set up some curves beforehand.
  • 15:28 – Compact version was something that was requested by viewers
  • 16:11 – Planning on exploring beyond our solar system. Exoplanets. Galaxies. Nebula.
  • 16:50 – Building specific 3D models for these since there’s not a lot of freely available models.
  • 17:36 – Active in the Reddit r/oculus and Oculus Development forums. Checks 10-20 times a day to see what’s new. The rate that new posts and topics are coming up are so much that he can’t keep up. Others have stepped up. CymaticBruce’s DK2 resources post that was made sticky. VRApps.co is a new site that sends out e-mail notifications with each new VR app release.
  • 19:15 – Spent a lot of time trying out every demo that was coming out for a while. A lot of novel and interesting ideas that are out there that may seed other ideas, and it contributes to the whole ecosystem.
  • 20:40 – Experiences that may be beneath the radar. Developers to keep an eye on include: /u/BaseDeltaZer0 (Ambient Flight & PolyWorld DK2 demo) & Tamulur on the Oculus Developer forums. (aka Tore Knabe)
  • 21:37 – Did a top 5 list for a while. So many good different ones
  • 22:31 – Experimental minor demos listed on Drash VR website. A series of small to medium experiences.
  • 24:00 – Color blindness to make it more accessible for people. Has a hearing disability and is sensitivity to making VR experiences as accessible as possible. Check out http://gameaccessibilityguidelines.com/ for more details
  • 25:46 – Amputee therapy
  • 26:48 – TNG Engineering demo of a Star Track Engineering room, and wanted to experience it in VR and learn more about lighting in VR
  • 27:37 – Building educational experiences in VR. Make it entertaining and use gameplay mechanics. Lots of things you can do in VR that you can’t do in reality. Possibilities are endless
  • 28:40 – Want to do both more educational experiences and gaming as well.
  • 29:36 – Learning with surprise was delightful. Some people felt vulnerable in space. Other surprising reactions. Some people are really muted while others have wild over the top reactions. Lack of positional tracking in DK1 is uncomfortable after using DK2.
  • 31:14 – Text broke immersion for some people. Low res or turning off anti-aliasing seemed to break immersion for some people. Debates about scale.
  • 32:18 – Changing scale warning so that he could use a single camera for the entire experience
  • 32:49 – Ultimate potential of VR. Played some MMORPG and wonder if it was wasting his time, but looking forward to loosing himself to a certain degree in VR to create new memories. Reality and VR will merge over time.
  • 34:12 – Regrets of playing games? Or worth it? No regrets, but getting serious about purpose in life later than he thought he would. 35 years old now and wishes that VR had come along sooner in his life. Need to have all his ducks in a row in reality first include obligations, marriage and day job. Enjoys that stability. No judgments for people who choose to spend time in immersive environments building memories.
  • 35:45: http://www.drashvr.com/ to keep posted.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

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