Caitlyn Meeks is one of the creators and current manager of the Unity Asset Store, which is a marketplace that is changing game development for both game developers and content creators. She describes how Unity has built an extensible framework where you can extend it’s functionality through the asset store, and so it’s functionality is not fixed with the new features that come from their official releases.

CaitlynUnityThe asset store innovates in many different areas, and it is a slow and methodical process that Unity goes through to eventually integrate some of those features into it’s core engine.

Caitlyn talks about what differentiates Unity from other game engines, and how Unity is responding to recent pressures in the marketplace from Unreal Engine 4. They’re staying the course with their plan and roadmap, and see that they’re focusing on creating a streamlined user experience for game developers. She sees Unity as an unstoppable tortoise who may not always be first to market with all of the new features, but that they’re implemented well in a methodical fashion and with love.

She mentions some of the VR specific plug-ins on the Asset Store including SDKs for Sixense and Leap Motion, Cast AR, CAVE projection systems, and DIS HLA interfaces. She also talks about the free Unity Multipurpose Avatar (UMA) plug-in, which is a Unity-sponsored, avatar creation tool.

Finally, she talks about her vision for how VR will change the humanities and expression in a way that makes us more human and grateful to be alive.

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Unity asset store. Provides content to game and VR developers, 3D audio, texture and music, and scripts and tools that extend Unity. Exponential growth since 2010. 750k active users forming a community of content producers. It’s an ecosystem where people are helping each other. People can make a living off of selling assets. One of top 3 reasons for using Unity. Bedroom artists who are making $10k-$100k. Senior of artist from Ubisoft making more from the Unity asset store sells. It’s changing game development for developers and content creators.
  • 3:08 – How does it differentiate from other engines? Unity is extensible. Asset store can be a stopgap for providing new features. Unity isn’t a static product. New functionality is coming through the asset store. Unity feature list doesn’t include all of the functionality available through the asset store. You don’t need access to the source code to create your dream tool in Unity.
  • 4:45 – What are some popular VR plug-ins? First submission from Palmer Luckey two years ago. SDK for Sixense and Leap Motion, Cast AR, CAVE projection systems, and DIS HLA interfaces. UMA is the Unity Multipurpose Avatar, which is a Unity-sponsored, avatar creation tool.
  • 6:42 – Binaural audio plug-ins to enable positional audio. New audio implementation in Unity 5 including audio
  • 7:20 – Lots of excitement for UE4 and EVE: Valkyrie moving from Unity to UE4, and what is Unity’s approach for counteracting this? Staying the course with a solid product with an unparalleled workflow. Lots of new features coming in 5.0 that have been on the roadmap. Not going to change anything drastically. Always been a bit behind, but they do it well, methodically and with love. They’re an unstoppable tortoise.
  • 8:55 – Your vision for what you want to see happen in VR. Fan of Cyberpunk and Snow Crash and Second Life. Coming from an artist’s perspective, and VR will be one of the most significant developments in the humanities and human expression. So many different possibilities for creating worlds and experiences that are beautiful, horrifying, mechanical, alien, etc. Goal is to see beautiful morphologies emerge. See worlds, spaces and scenarios that make us more grateful to be alive and things that make us more human.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

Mike Sutherland of YEI Technology talks about the PrioVR immersive body suit, which aims to immerse your whole body into VR experiences. YEI Technology is bringing this technology that they’ve been developing for the military into the consumer gaming market.

priovr They’re hoping to provide the first, consumer-grade motion capture suit with their pro version for $429, and also have a Core full-body option for causal gamers for $369, as well as an upper-body only Lite version for $289.

Mike talks about succeeding with the PrioVR Kickstarter the second time around, their custom motion controllers, game development plans, interest in finger tracking, target time for suiting up, and more details about their 3-Space Sensor technology.

Their website describes these sensors as “miniature, high-precision, high-reliability, Attitude and Heading Reference Systems (AHRS) / Inertial Measurement Units (IMU). Each YEI 3-Space Sensor uses triaxial gyroscope, accelerometer, and compass sensors in conjunction with advanced processing and on-board quaternion-based Kalman filtering algorithms to determine orientation relative to an absolute reference in real-time.”

For one of the most comprehensive reviews about this technology, then I’d recommend checking out this epic review of SVVRCon gear by Oliver “Doc_Ok” Kreylos.

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro. PrioVR first consumer level, full immersive gaming suit. Bring VR into the next stage by bringing your body into VR
  • 0:39 – Low-cost motion capture suit. Working with motion sensors for the military, and bringing that technology into the consumer level. Core suit configuration. Pro version for motion capture for indie developers AAA game toolsets into the hands of independent devs. Also an option for upper body suit for seated VR
  • 2:07 – Arm controls. Currently have an aftermarket controller, and they’ll be shipping with custom controllers.
  • 2:52 – Kickstarter history. Launched unsuccessful Kickstarter. Learned lessons, and focused on improving the suit, and did better marketing.
  • 3:44 – Using PrioVR for motion capture. Pro suit with 17 sensors cost around $400. Get rich character animations. They have an existing motion capture studio, and have tooling around that
  • 4:36 – Game titles that will be available. Have an in-house dev team, and getting it into the hands of developers as quickly as possible. Some partnerships developing.
  • 5:32 – What type of user interactions are possible? Doing full-joint reconstruction rather than inverse kinematics. Keyboards or mice doesn’t work in 3D. Use your hands and reach out, and it’s more intuitive for the non-gamers. Don’t have to remember buttons
  • 6:56 – Finger tracking plans? Just focusing on the suit for now, but interested in it.
  • 7:19 – Talk about the types of sensors and fusion system that you’re using. Untethered experience and range.
  • 8:07 – How long does it take to suit up? Working with design companies to get it easier to get on and off than alpha suit. Target is 15 seconds.
  • 8:44 – What type of latency can you get. 9:26 – What’s the roadmap for when these will be available. Later this year for dev kits.
  • 10:08 – Price points for the different products. $289 upper body. $369 core suit. Pro suit $429. First time for sub-$1000 motion capture suit will be available. More info PrioVR.com. Available for pre-order now.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

Philip Rosedale is the creator of Second Life, and more recently High Fidelity. He talks about a lot of the things that he’s doing differently in creating a virtual world for the second time around including a focus on 3D audio, low latency, speed and texture of experience as well as using a standard scripting language with JavaScript rather than rolling their own.

philip-rosedaleHe talks about virtual body language and how the target of 100ms of latency is the threshold for a compelling telepresence experience that is indistinguishable from face-to-face interactions.

Philip talks about how High Fidelity wants to create a set of open standards and protocols so that people can host their own virtual worlds on their own servers. He also talks about their approach to distributed computing to help offload the computer power to run a complex and nuanced virtual world, and how mining a cryptocurrency could be a part of that process.

Finally, he talks about his vision for the future of the Metaverse, and how these virtual worlds will provide opportunities for participants to be more thoughtful, more open, and more creative than they can be in the real world. He doesn’t see that these worlds are necessarily escapist since they can be as sophisticated, complex, navigable and challenging as the real world. His experience with Second Life was that you have to be just as capable, smart and entrepreneurial to succeed in virtual world environments.

Reddit discussion here.

Be sure to check out this blog post on High Fidelity’s system-level architecture for more details.
hifi-system-architecture1

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro – High Fidelity. New virtual world taking advantage of changes in technology
  • 0:32 – Motion sensors and Oculus Rift are driving changes in virtual worlds. Driving to interact naturally in 3D virtual spaces, and the requirement to have the learned skill of using mouse and keyboard is going to end soon.
  • 1:33 – What types of interactions have you had within High Fidelity with these new tools? Body language, and seeing someone blink. Nodding head is important. Moving hands is remarkable. Got PrioVR working for full upper body animation. Group interactions and face-to-face interactions.
  • 2:47 – Facial capture with either a 3D camera or a webcam with Faceshift, and reconstruct it via 50 floating point numbers. Aiming to get less than 100ms latency to mimic 1-to-1 interactions
  • 3:48 – Using VR HMD and facial capture at the same time. Can only get one at a time. Oculus thinking about doing facial capture. Can use a 3D TV, and adjust the view as a intermediary between full VR HMD and computer screen
  • 4:54 – Using High Fidelity as a telepresence tool. Use it with their distributed team, and cool to see others.
  • 5:35 – Good enough for enterprise use? Proof point of recording telling the same story with the same story with same avatar, and can identify people even without sound
  • 6:20 – Distributed computation at High Fidelity. Limited by centralized hosting. Distributing small computers quickly, and use computers at home to offload some of the processing.
  • 7:30 – Dynamic multicasting with audio. Mixing it in 3D. Dynamically assembling a multicast repeater and can perform a concert in real-time with less latency than in the real world.
  • 8:47 – What is a voxel, and how are you using it? A way to organize space virtually. Represent what things look like at a distance, and enables to see at infinite distance. See full mesh topology up close.
  • 10:06 – Hierarchical nesting of voxels for the decomposition of space with a “sparse voxel octree”, and then distributed computing with those. Can create infinitely complex city
  • 10:59 – Other things that you’re doing differently from Second Life: Audio processing, low latency, speed and texture of experience, using a standard scripting language with JavaScript rather than rolling their own. People want to run their own services, it’s a protocol and open source standard rather than a world upon it’s own.
  • 11:59 – Cryptocurrency and paying people for helping run the virtual world.
  • 12:56 – How is identity different on High Fidelity? By default, you’re anonymous, and using OAuth and SSL for authorization for certain secure sites, but also a lot of open worlds. Having name floating over your head is not a great solution, because sharing you name is a choice and form of greeting
  • 14:23 – Future of the Metaverse. Create a set of interconnected virtual worlds, where they’re living adjacent to each other. Instead of hypertext links, there will likely be doors. Virtual worlds of the future will be a set of interconnected spaces like the real world. There will be hidden servers that you can’t get to, just as there are private intranets.
  • 15:34 – What inspires you with what you want to see? How people are changed by virtual worlds for the better, more thoughtful, more open, more creative. Virtual worlds are our future. They will become a real added space, and it’ll be a profound expansion of the real world.
  • 16:35 – Are virtual worlds escapist? Technology is getting us the ability to create worlds that are just as sophisticated, complex, and navigable and challenging as the real world. Only escapist if you’re escaping from other people, or simplifying the world too much in a way that isn’t in our best interest. To be successful in Second Life you have to be capable, smart and entrepreneurial.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

Here’s a recent talk that Philip Rosedale gave about High Fidelity. Note that this is NOT within High Fidelity, but a government virtual world called MOSES, which is the “Military Open Simulator Enterprise Strategy.”

Four and a half years ago, George Burger was watching his son play Call of Duty, and thought that it’d be great if he would be able to run around instead of just sitting while playing video games. When he discovered that there weren’t any omnidirectional treadmills on the market, then he decided to build one himself.

infinadeck-thumbThis resulted in the InfinAdeck, which was his second prototype of the omnidirectional treadmill and it was a surprise hit at SVVRCon. George describes it as being like a tank tread with each tread being it’s own Y-direction treadmill running 90-degrees perpendicular to the main, X-direction treadmill.

George talks about the process of designing and building this second prototype, and what’s next in terms of designing an automatic control mechanism. He had shown earlier prototypes on the Meant to be Seen 3D forums, and had even been in contact with Palmer Luckey about his progress.

Finally, he talks about how InfinAdeck compares to the Virtuix Omni as well as his next steps in designing the next iteration.

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro & the InfinAdeck omnidirectional project started 4.5 years ago. Inspired by watching son play Call of Duty. Worked on it for a year, and made an original prototype. Designed 2nd prototype and started building it in October 2013. It’s a prototype, and it’s over designed and too big. But now know what it takes to build the next iteration
  • 1:42 – Describe what’s happening with the two conveyor belts. Difficult to describe, but it’s like a tank treadmill with 90-degree treadmills
  • 2:26 – Able to turn while walking and how does the control mechanism work. Two motors X and the transverse Y motor. Two omniwheels and that it’s geared different. Uses noisy parts, and will be different. Motors are controlled by a motor controller, and the control mechanism isn’t finished yet.
  • 4:08 – There’s manual controls that he’s using at the moment.
  • 4:47 – Has anyone fallen down? No. No one has ever fallen down.
  • 5:15 – What did you learn from this prototype then? Too big. Too heavy. Too overdeisgned. Will design the next version with a computer.
  • 6:04 – At what point did you realize that this would be great for virtual reality? Envisioned that it’d be like a CAVE, but with televisions. Got onto Meant to be Seen, and showed prototype, but people weren’t interested. Decided to lay low. Couldn’t get engineering help from others, and decided to be quiet and develop it.
  • 7:39 – What was Palmer Luckey’s reaction to it? He loved it. Had control suggestions, and wants to buy one. Doc_Ok wants to help with the control mechanism.
  • 8:24 – Has anyone used VR with it yet? Not yet. Need to have the control mechanism in place.
  • 8:58 – Who is the target demographic for this? Everyone. It was designed for mass production. Perhaps military, medical police officers and even gamers. Need to know how big and how fast should it go. Never as portable as the Virtuix Omni, but they’re not competing against them. At opposite ends of the spectrum.
  • 10:07 – Sounds like this would be great for a higher tier where you have a dedicated space for VR. Don’t need a full room, just enough space for the InfinAdeck.
  • 11:16 – What are the dimensions. 7′ x 7′, but with a 60-inch space in the middle. Need to keep them in the center.
  • 12:01 – What’s the speed limit? Could make it go 10 mph in next iteration. This one was meant for jogging at around 3.5 mph. Depends on the technology for how fast it’ll go. The purpose of this prototype was to figure out what would be needed for the next iteration. Purpose of it was over before SVVRCon, and getting to show it was a bonus.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

I had a chance to catch up with Reverend Kyle of the Rev VR podcast at the end of day one of SVVRCon, which is right before the Ubercast and his interview with Palmer Luckey.

kyle

We talk about everything from being a VR personality, his favorite VR experiences, Social VR, adding value and being topical & fostering community. He also talks about the importance of VR social experiences for coping with living in the midwest where there’s not a thriving tech scene.

More details about the discussion are below.

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro & how he got started into Virtual Reality. Got it in June. Had heard an earlier podcast, but it had stopped. Did a couple and got a good response. Eventually joined the Road to VR team.
  • 1:16 – What’s your intention with the podcast? Fill in the gaps between news from the VR HMD manufacturers. Also to give developers a voice. Wants to do episode 500 eventually. There’s no formal marketing for VR, and there’s room for personalities to get involved.
  • 2:55 – Most compelling VR experience? Played Time Rifters for 2.5 hours. Riftmax Theater and VR Chat. Karaoke night.
  • 4:00 – Social aspects of VR chat and body language. Not meant to replace face-to-face, but there’s enough body language to feel presence with other people.
  • 5:13 – Being located in Cincinnati, OH. Struggle with the lack of tech scene there. Virtual meet-ups provide opportunities to connect with other VR geeks.
  • 6:34 – Impressions of the SVVRCon exhibit floor – DK2. Sony Morpheus. InfinAdeck. In VR Overload.
  • 7:34 – Working with the Hydra. Looking for next level of VR input controller with the STEM.
  • 8:17 – Rev VR podcast guests that stuck out? Taylor Roach and Karaoke host who is 17 years old. Cast AR. Tactical Haptics. Post-Facebook acquisition discussion.
  • 10:04 – Participating in the Oculus subreddit and adding value to the VR community, and working together as a community to help make VR happen. Be active and topical.
  • 11:47 – SVVRCon and the future of VR. About networking and meeting for face-to-face for the first time. Lots of community feelings. A giant VR love-in.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

Denny Unger is the CEO & President of Cloudhead Games, and he’s been working on the VR adventure game of The Gallery Six Elements since March 2013. Denny talks about the challenges of hardware integration as well as how to deal with rotations & locomotion within VR in a way that is comfortable for users.

denny_headshot-200x200His team has come across a “VR comfort mode” solution for rotating in VR by snapping 10 degrees at a time similar to how a dancer would focus on a specific spot while turning. He also talks about how other VR design elements such as pacing and scaling can contribute to a sense of presence.

Denny talks about the challenges with working with integrating so many different types of hardware at a point where it is still really new and raw. He sees that motion control is the future of VR because it can help create that natural sense of presence.

He then talks about Valve’s influence in VR, and how they’re working with indie and AAA developers to help integrate VR into future gaming experiences. Denny had a chance to experience Valve’s famous VR room, and gives some of his impressions of what really stuck out for him, and his vision of the future of having a living room Holodeck.

Finally, he talks about the future of VR with what he sees as low-hanging fruit of horror and first-person shooters, and that indie developers will be the ones who are innovating and helping to define the VR medium. But also that Oculus’ collaboration with Facebook has the potential to define the VR social experiences, and how that will shape the social culture of the metaverse. Denny also had one of the first successful, VR game Kickstarter campaigns, and more info on that can be found here.

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro. Gallery: Six Elements. Puzzle solving adventure
  • 0:29 – Realizations of locomotion in virtual reality. Challenge to integrate all sorts of hardware. Locomotion is unchartered. How to deal with rotations & velocity in VR.
  • 1:09 – What is VR comfort mode? Any motion not driven by the user can be uncomfortable. Rotational velocity can make players nauseous because of the vestibular disconnect – VR comfort mode spins increments that is similar to spotting for spinning dancers within a software context.
  • 2:15 – How much of an offset did you use? Around 10 degrees, but not sure.
  • 2:43 – How did VR comfort mode come about. Started with 180 turn, and then brainstormed quick snap turns. Turning didn’t feel comfortable to early release players.
  • 3:43 – Is it proprietary? Want it to be adopted and become an optional standard in games.
  • 4:12 – How does scale play into designing VR experiences? A lot of engines get it right. Have to get into VR to look at it. Getting scale 1:1 will help with creating a sense of presence.
  • 4:46 – Why is pacing important? Having a slow enough velocity to realistic pacing scales for pacing and presence
  • 5:38 – Integrating motion tracking with game controllers? Implementing both. The future of VR is motion control. Right now the tools are a bit raw, but it’ll get refined. It is the ultimate experience in VR.
  • 6:28 – What were some failures of things that didn’t work. Locomotion and tank mode vs move with where you’re looking. Dealing with Unity fixes that don’t work. Making sure that your head doesn’t clip through. What happens when you push into a wall?
  • 8:00 – How do you deal with the clipping issue? A blend of dimming and other solutions.
  • 8:51 – Consulting with Oculus, Valve, and Sixense. Collaborating with Oculus VR perceptual psychologist on VR comfort mode. Ways to make it look VR comfort mode prettier. Talking with Valve about positional tracking and it’s influence on game design. Working on Steam VR overlay system that allows developers to transfer your control systems to different VR HMDs. Sixense has provided hardware support, and integrating the Razer Hydra with their game to bring in motion controls into their game in a way that’s easy for users and developers to use.
  • 11:11 – Valve’s Steam Dev Days event as a turning point for VR. Valve understands that VR will change a lot of different entertainment ecosystems over the next five years. They jumped in on it, and thinking about how it works for gamers, indie developers, and AAA shops. They showed their magical VR room as a proof-of-concept of the ultimate VR experience, and the Holodeck in your living room. That was a great experience.
  • 12:48 – Experiences of what you saw in Valves demo. Portal robots felt real since you were able to walk around it.
  • 13:42 – 4k demo scene demo that was converted to VR. It was very impressive because the sense of scale you can get from VR
  • 14:20 – Where you do see VR going? Lots of horror games and first person shooters. Indie developers will be driving a lot of the innovation. There will be lots of low hanging suit. What Oculus does with Facebook could potentially drive the market. If Zuckerberg is really enthralled with the metaverse, then would could see a radical transformation of our online culture, and how we interact with each other. Overarching change will be the social interactions.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

Jan Goetgeluk talks about creating Virtuix Omni Treadmill, and how he didn’t want to have just a sit-down experience within virtual reality. He talks about participating in the Meant to be Seen forums before the Oculus Rift came about, and how he wanted did a lot of trial and error to solve the problem of locomotion in VR.

Jan-Goetgeluk-Headshot-269x200He talks about some of the keys to his successful Kickstarter campaign, and what types of games work the best with the Virtuix Omni. He talks about motion sickness, and his favorite VR experience within the game that Virtuix developed called TRAVR. Finally, he talks about future plans after raising a round of $3 million, and his thoughts on the future of VR

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro – Virtuix Omni Treadmill
  • 0:26 – No moving parts, low-friction surface and shoes
  • 0:51 – Stabilizing the feet w/ different coefficients
  • 1:15 – Integrated tracking solution with capacitive sensors
  • 1:40 – How did the Omni come about?
  • 2:04 – Had you been involved with VR. Being VR enthusiast on MTBS
  • 2:20 – What was the turning point that you had to create the Omni?
  • 2:51 – Key to your successful Kickstarter campaign? 5 months of marketing beforehand and having thousands of people ready to contribute.
  • 3:17 – Where did you market to? MTBS forums.
  • 3:47 – Are you a player of first-person shooters?
  • 3:58 – Which games work the best with Omni?
  • 4:32 – Dealing with motion sickness?
  • 5:36 – Designed for a sit-down experience and not have 360-degree tracking. Not a surprise. Need to first nail the seated experience. He personally does not want to sit down. Provide full VR experience. In real life, we walk around. Walking increases immersion. Rotating body increases immersion. Putting on foot in front of the other increases immersion. Standing and walking provides a bigger sense of presence than sitting down.
  • 7:01 – Favorite VR experience – in the game that they’re developing called TRAVR.
  • 7:27 – How do you optimize a game for the Omni – Speed and pace is important
  • 8:01 – Limited field of view causing a higher walking speed – Need find right pace
  • 8:45 – After raising money, and what will you do with that. Broaden distribution.
  • 9:19 – Where you see VR going?

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

Edward Mason of GameFace Labs talks about his mobile virtual reality HMD, and the mobile trends of increased processing power and requests for technology that’s better suited for VR devices. He talks about building the customized GameFace prototypes to provide a proof-of-concept for what will be possible with untethered, mobile VR experiences.

edward-masonHe discusses using Android as an open platform, and how they’re using Bluetooth as the interface for bringing in input into VR experiences. Some of the more compelling ones are things like VR chat to be able to have cross-platform interactions with other people within VR, as well as 3D movies and VR movie theaters.

Finally, he talks about the changing VC landscape since Sony and Facebook have gotten into virtual reality and some of the future technologies that will help mobile VR experiences such as battery power improvements and foveated rendering with eye tracking to optimize the use of processing power.

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro to GameFace Labs untethered VR experience.
  • 0:37 – Mobile: VR needs to be untethered. Mobile tech is advancing so that it will eventually provide an immersive experience with presence and low-persistence. Intent is to put together a proof-of-concept of what’s possible with today’s technology
  • 1:28 – Limited by mobile phones? Collaborating with phone manufacturers. After Sony & Facebook getting involved, then there’s more interest from phone manufacturers to develop hardware more suited for VR, such as 4K mobile phone screens.
  • 2:56 – Will people use their own phone or will GameFace Labs have custom hardware? Going with custom hardware.
  • 3:22 – What is differentiating GameFace Labs from other mobile phone HMDs? There’s a number of customizations
  • 4:04 – Going with Android’s open platform. No one company should own the metaverse. Should be able to interconnect to the metaverse regardless of VR HMD
  • 4:57 – Removing glass touch screen
  • 5:22 – How do you get input into GameFace Labs? Bluetooth-enabled devices
  • 6:05 – What type of experiences do you see with mobile VR HMD? Will eventually have AR with the onboard camera, but the latency isn’t low enough yet. Don’t recommend walking around yet.
  • 6:53 – What should you be able to do with an untethered experience that you can’t do with a tethered one? Full 360 turning with a swivel chair.
  • 7:27 – What about crawling around? Working with PrioVR. And getting data via Bluetooth.
  • 8:00 – What will be different with mobile games? Usually think about simple games. Hardware is improving quickly, and will be generate immersive environments with higher graphical fidelity.
  • 9:21 – Would you see any type of causal VR experiences? Could use it anywhere.
  • 10:21 – What about causal VR content? Horror demos. 360-video experiences or virtual cinemas. Emulate old school games. Content will be king.
  • 12:04 – Will be porting content? Have been porting some PC VR content to be able to use with GameFace, like VR Chat.
  • 12:49 – Using the phone interface to be able to connect to others in a telepresence call? VR Chat experiments
  • 13:18 – How to bring your body into VR? Presence if important, and you can have custom avatars. Eventually have high-res 3D scans for avatars.
  • 14:31 – Are you fundraising for GameFace Labs? Not yet. Releasing a dev kit first.
  • 15:03 – How have Facebook and Sony changed the funding landscape?
  • 16:09 – What’s the potential of VR? So many unknowns and lots of exploration to be done. Battery power and foveated rendering with eye tracking to optimize the use of processing power.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

Blair Renaud is the lead developer for Technolust, which is a cyberpunk VR adventure game. He talks about what it took to make his Kickstarter successful, what motivated him to get into VR development, and how his game development background influenced his VR experience development.

Blair-Renaud He also discusses the process of making predictions for how technological advances will unfold, and the intention behind incorporating other dystopian, cyberpunk elements like the impacts of government and corporate corruption — as well as the benefits of technology like the proliferation of 3D printing, VR/AR, and the terraforming Mars.

Blair talks about his plan for using photoscanned NPCs through the process of photogrammetry & 3D scanning, and what he’s doing to make that a comfortable experience while avoiding the uncanny valley.

Finally, he talks about avoiding things in VR that bother people while not being afraid to make them feel unsettled, and his future plans moving forward with Technolust and VR development in general.

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro to Technolust
  • 0:26 – Coming off of a successful Kickstarter. Modest goal of $30k, and more than doubled that. It took a lot of PR and work and didn’t get any development done during the month.
  • 1:05 – What was the turning point that convinced you to get into VR development? Took money from Second Life, and didn’t see any demos that demonstrated what was possible with VR.
  • 1:45 – Game development background
  • 2:54 – Lessons from Technolust – Always wanted to do everything. Learned as much as he could by working in the video game industry and went from intern to level designer and technical director
  • 3:56 – How is VR level design different than regular 2D game design? VR is very different. Design from inside the game, it’s more enjoyable, and more like being interior decorator, set designer and lighting guy all in one.
  • 4:43 – How do you bring in those sci-fi technological advances into your game beyond just flying cars? Good sci-fi is predictive. Predictions of the proliferation of 3D printing & government corruption. Being able to tell the future of VR and AR itself within a VR experience, layers of VR
  • 6:14 – How do you deal with the polarity between future visions of utopia or dystopia, and how you’re deciding how you’re going to portray the future? Has a pessimistic predisposition. Not a happy ending, but it’s an enjoyable experience. Like the idea of making people feel a little disturbed and unsettled. It’s like a call to action to change the real world when you take off the Rift.
  • 7:22 – Have you considered how you could included technology that makes the world a better place within your story? Cyberpunk genre has a common theme of corporate greed and how much control they have. Technology is awesome in Technolust. You can print whatever you want, but the corporation is the bad guy. People will enjoy the AR components within the game as well as terraforming Mars. There are benefits to technology in the game.
  • 8:26 – What are photoscanned NPCs? Photogrammetry & 3D scanning allows you to get a highly detailed representations of real objects into VR. Making the models viable for a game by rigging them up and reducing the polygon count. It’s ambitious, but they’re partnering with another team who is collaborating to showcase their work.
  • 9:26 – How will you deal with the uncanny valley with these photoscanned NPCs? Don’t feel bad about making people feel a little bit unsettled. Try to make it as comfortable as possible. Integrating video of the real characters via video projection. May obscure faces with cyberpunk fashion and intend on doing good facial animations.
  • 10:21 – Things that you tried in Technolust that didn’t work at all? Tried out a number of things pointed out in the Oculus best practices guide, and generally they were right about things like avoiding feelings of falling and taking away the control of the camera. He might need to change some elements that he got feedback on. Still trying to figure out what bothers people like the particle effects in the jacked in VR made people feel like they were falling.
  • 11:36 – What’s your timeline going forward? Pre-release beta when DK2 is released for people to enjoy positional tracking. Release date originally set for September, but that may get pushed back.
  • 12:40 – Where do you see VR is going? Everywhere. Wishes that he had some clones. Has other project ideas. It’s the final media. No reason to buy other media gadgets. Trying to catch the wave.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio

Sean Edwards (aka /u/Sh0v) of Shovsoft talks about the process of porting Lunar Flight to console, and how he ended up having to rewrite a lot of the user interface and interaction model from scratch in order to work with VR. He also talks about his next project of Zombie Virtual Reality (ZVR), and his game design considerations and intentions for the scope of that project including getting something completed early that’s highly polished, fun, and a low price point with a balanced replayability cycle.

Sean-Edwards-200x200Sean talks about some of the challenges he faced with dealing with scale when porting Lunar Flight to VR, and what he had to do to solve those issues. He also discusses what he needs to do to upgrade Lunar Flight to be ready for DK2 including increasing the graphics resolution as well as integrating positional tracking and figuring out how to deal with clipping issues that result from that. He also discusses his take on limb tracking, and other potential new features for Lunar Flight.

Finally, he talks about the challenges of sustaining the path of working as an independent VR game developer, and the risks of asking for enough budget for a crowd-funded project in order to be realistic and viable. He talks about developing games while having a day job, and making a bet on VR by transitioning to full-time indie VR developer.

Reddit discussion here.

TOPICS

  • 0:00 – Intro & the inspiration for porting Lunar Flight to VR. Interface problems & iterations to figure what does and doesn’t work. Redo the entire user interface and rework the user interface with a contextual interaction system from scratch. Using a curved mesh for some UI elements. Lunar Flight has been recognized as a good example of VR experience. It conforms to the Oculus best practices. VR sales will exceed non-VR sales of VR sales. Adding new features for DK2. ZVR is a Zombie Virtual Reality fixed position torrent shooter game. Have ideas to keep it from getting too boring. Inspired by Infinity Blade, not long and nice replayable cycle and in the process of raising some funding for it.
  • 4:18 – How do you make it more engaging? or is it a 10-minute game? Interactive and short and high-impact that you’ll play on shorter times. Perhaps up to 2 hours long to have a nice replay loop. Refer back to old arcade games that you could finish in a couple of hours. Get into VR early, make it highly polished and fun, and a low price point. Goal is to set up Lucid VR for bigger projects in the future
  • 5:50 – Most surprising thing in the process to porting your 2D game into VR. Scale was a big issue in Lunar Flight since it was 0.3x scale. Lunar module was only 1m scale, and default Oculus prefabs are built to scale. Could rebuild everything, but that wasn’t practical. By altering the inter camera distances, then you can alter the perception of scale. Reduce it makes is large, and increasing it will make it small. Turned out to a simple solution. People’s sense of scale must be different based upon their IPD. Need to get objects scale right relative to the reference objects that you have in the scene. Lunar Flight is a one-suit fits all
  • 9:23 – Will you be adding new features for DK2? Resolution increase will be a process and redo the design and scale so that it works. Buttons are large because it uses colliders in his contextual interaction model, and they need to be big enough to select. Translation traction will be interesting. Clipping will be an issue for how to deal with. Players will need to accept this. Shouldn’t turn off translation traction. Not adding new translation tracking features.
  • 11:53 – What about limb integration? Building for the most accessible way, and if had money and time then he would, but the market is too small at the moment. Potentially integrate Hands On Throttle-And-Stick (H.O.T.A.S.) for those who have flight sim equipment. Potentially integrate limbs in that context. People like to see the XBox controller within the game to help with the immersion.
  • 13:29 – What will you be talking about at the indie VR game developer panel? Funding is an issue for a lot of developers
  • 14:05 – How have solved the funding issue? Been able to live off the earnings from Lunar Flight, but doesn’t have a lot of money to hire others. Won’t last forever, and so working on ZVR on the next step. Question size of Kickstarter budgets. Worked a day job while creating Lunar Flight. It was a long year with late nights.
  • 16:08 – Best place to keep in touch? Oculus subreddit and keep an eye on /u/Sh0v.

Theme music: “Fatality” by Tigoolio