#455: VR First-Person Shooters & eSports with ‘World War Toons’

james-chungAt PAX West, Reload Studios made a strong push for cultivating World War Toons as a VR eSports title. They were livestreaming a couple of shoutcasters announcing a four-on-four player capture the flag game of World War Toons, which is a free-to-play, VR first-person shooter. This was all preparation for Twitchcon this past weekend where they were on the expo floor with the same configuration, except with PlayStation VR headsets instead of Oculus Rifts.

I had a chance to catch up with Reload Studios CEO James Chung at PAX West where we talk about motion sickness with VR first-person shooters with different VR comfort options, their integrations with the Virtuix Omni, their free-to-play business model, and VR eSports as well as the future of streaming in VR.


Here was Reload Studios’ setup at PAX West:

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Music: Fatality & Summer Trip

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. My name is Kent Bye, and welcome to the Voices of VR Podcast. So, when I was at PAX West, there is a whole VR village area on the top floor of the Westin, and in there, there was a big stage that was set up that had basically an esports setup with a couple of announcers, and eight computer stations that could enable two teams playing against each other in a capture-the-flag first-person shooter called World War Toons. And so on today's episode, I have the CEO of Reload Studios, James Chung, who's talking about World War Toons and some of their initiative to create a full-fledged game within VR. So we'll be talking about that and the future of esports and VR on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. But first, A quick word from our sponsor. This is a paid sponsored ad by the Intel Core i7 processor. If you're going to be playing the best VR experiences, then you're going to need a high end PC. So Intel asked me to talk about my process for why I decided to go with the Intel Core i7 processor. I figured that the computational resources needed for VR are only going to get bigger. I researched online, compared CPU benchmark scores and read reviews over at Amazon and Newegg. What I found is that the i7 is the best of what's out there today. So future proof your VR PC and go with the Intel Core i7 processor. So this interview with James happened at PAX West, which was happening in Seattle, Washington from September 2nd to 5th. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:01:48.044] James Chung: My name is James. I'm the CEO of Relo Studios. Relo Studios is now two years old. We have about 40 people. So we got together because we wanted to make one of the first real game for VR. Instead of just coming up with just demos or experiences or kind of trying to figure things out. We wanted to, because a lot of other people are doing that already. We didn't want to be another group doing that. So we wanted to come up with a game where people, when they play, they would be like, hey, this is a real game. It's not just like, these guys are not trying things out, but I mean, they're really pushing a real content here. So that's been our goal for the last two years. We've been sort of silent since PSX in December, last December. And this is sort of like our first major push before we launch our title at the moment with PSVR in October.

[00:02:34.952] Kent Bye: Great. So maybe you could talk a bit about the experience that you have here, World War Toons.

[00:02:39.065] James Chung: Oh yeah, so we are showing our fourth map. We're launching with four maps. This map is a kind of spin on Capture the Flag. We tried to make it a little bit different so when you actually capture, quote-unquote, the flag, you have to, there are a lot of obstacles on top of just fighting through your enemies. So we have a four versus four player setup here as well as broadcasters talking about what's going on about the game and stuff like that. So that's a full-on multiplayer setup, as well as we have a Virtuix Omni running. So we have a free-for-all running on those two machines, so you're going head-to-head with your buddy.

[00:03:16.615] Kent Bye: So it's essentially like a first-person shooter, but there's an objective with four people versus four people, and they're trying to get the flag. If somebody's carrying the flag and they get shot, what happens to the flag?

[00:03:26.837] James Chung: It gets reset. So you have to go back to the cave or the pyramid or sphinx that you got it out of, Crypt, and then you have to get it out again.

[00:03:36.368] Kent Bye: So yeah, I just had a chance to try it on the Omni where I was actually, you know, kind of running around and I'm someone who actually gets very motion sick. So in the normal setup with strafing left and right, moving around, locomotion and VR for me is a huge trigger. I don't think I'd be able to play the normal setup, but with the Omni where I was able to just kind of use my active body walking, that was enough of a bouncing up and down and I think it kind of disrupts the vestibular system to the point where it was comfortable and it was really fun to do that. But I think with the normal version of this, I think there's going to be some people who are just going to get really motion sick and nauseous. So I'm just curious about, you know, what types of things you're doing to minimize that.

[00:04:23.553] James Chung: Yeah, so simulation sickness, that's probably about two hour long conversation we can have. Particularly speaking about our game it is interesting because you know forget VR I forget VR first-person shooter by nature It's it's not a genre that everybody can play I mean I myself like back in the 90s when I tried doom or Wolfenstein I got so sick, you know, I said this is not a genre for me and then I got hired at Call of Duty team to make Flash Presence shooter game. So I remember first two weeks of my working days there literally I had trash can by me and every day I played the game for like about two hours straight and then it took me about two weeks to get used to it. So I know what that feels like, you know, trying to overcome that kind of uneasy feeling. VR, so we, obviously it's a huge issue with VR, so in the beginning we really focused on control schemes and to make things really easy for people to play. I mean, our test version of our game, we had like grandmas playing the game and they were okay. But the first, you know, the initial customers that we're trying to reach out to, which are, you know, the first person shooter fans, they really wanted all the key elements of what makes first person gameplay special, like back in the game. So stuff like a strafing, like faster movement, a lot of exciting jumps and stuff like that. So we had to make a conscious decision to sort of like bring those elements back in. I mean, we're still tinkering with it, and we didn't go full-on crazy either. So, for example, like our strafing, our control movement, it's like a four-axis only. It's not like a multi-direction and stuff like this. So, there are little differences between regular first-person shooter setup and ours, but we are trying to reach out to kind of the first-person shooter fans first. So, when we started showing the newer, kind of like more gamer-friendly, harder control setup, personally, I became super nervous, but our survey data has been always consistent. We linger anywhere between 5% to right around 5% range on how many people feel uneasy about the game. And that data didn't make a lot of difference between our super easy version as opposed to the super hard version. So I think we're hitting the sweet spot as to how much we want to do in simulation sickness at the moment.

[00:06:43.745] Kent Bye: And yeah, just from my experience of doing VR demos, sometimes I'll do a demo that triggers me early in the day, and then it may take an hour or two sometimes. So how long are they given before they give this survey? Because they may, for me, I know my motion sickness triggers. And so whenever I hear people like, oh, no one's reported it, I'm like, well, that may take an hour or so for some people to really feel the impact. So I'm just trying to get a sense of, There's other objective measures with skin galvanization and more objective measures for motion sickness, which I think that as an industry there hasn't been any standards around, but I know that things like strafing are going to make people sick. Both anecdotally and also from within the VR community, whenever you have those huge disconnects between the vestibular system and the visual system, it's going to be a trigger.

[00:07:28.143] James Chung: I mean, you have to be sensitive about what makes majority of people kind of sick as opposed to their areas where it's completely subjective that you can't possibly cover everyone's needs, right? So things like the strafing, we know that it makes a lot of people feel uneasy about moving around in VR. Those are the one of the compromises we had to make like if we know that something that makes a lot of people Kind of not feel good in VR, but our initial fans like majority of them want it Like what do we do right and those are sort of like the difficult decisions? We had to make on very specific issues like strafing, but a lot of other issues I mean it hasn't been too much of an issue for us and So there's that. If you are in there for about an hour in VR, that means you're already sort of like, you know, obviously PSVR is not there yet. Our game is set so initially all the matches are right around anywhere between five to maximum seven minute range. So you have choice to kind of like get out if you want. And in the future, we're going to make sure that, you know, the users can set the match time the way they want. So as the VR industry grows, like matures, you know, as people kind of get used to being around VR, I think it will normalize at a certain point. And obviously, each title comes from completely different. Some titles are just not meant to be in VR, but they just push it, so like some people might have Really bad experience with some title and then they carry that Quote-unquote baggage into even the titles that are that thought through some of the VR issues So I'm sure in the beginning we're gonna have this massive confusion about like this whole simulation sickness I think it really comes down to you know going after each team Like what they were thinking about simulation sicknesses and then how they applied or how they made choices to kind of accommodate those solution to the problems

[00:09:23.848] Kent Bye: Yeah, I know in the Omni they had the strafing disabled and so you could only move in the way that you're actually looking, which if you have somebody who spots you and you don't see them and they start shooting at you with a weapon that basically kills you in one shot, then you basically have a couple options. Either you start to run backwards in the Omni or you start to run to the side and you're blind and you can't actually turn and shoot. And the way that it's set up is because you can only move in the direction that you're looking. So if you actually look at them and you're still moving, then you're either stationary or you're going to have to be actually running towards them. So I could see the kind of dilemma that you have with not having strafing, because in terms of the gameplay, you actually need it to kind of be avoiding the people shooting at you. But I think it's one of those things that is problematic for first-person shooters, and it kind of changes the gameplay in a little bit. You know, there's been some people that talk about different locomotion solutions where they're using their thumb to be able to direct what direction they're going in, but they can actually turn their head and look independent to whatever direction that they're moving. You know, as a sit-down experience, then you have the question of, like, well, could you actually do that comfortably, turn to the side and still have everything tracked while somebody's sitting down? creating a comfortable experience in that way but I'm just curious if you've experimented with other locomotion systems because you know one thing with simulator sickness is expectation so that if you are moving in a direction with your thumb and you're kind of giving yourself that stimulus that could create that level of expectation that helps to minimize the motion sickness but yet Other times, strafing seems to be a trigger that even though you are doing it, it's still kind of not comfortable to swing your head in that way. So I'm just curious if you've kind of experimented with other types of locomotion systems and if you've figured out if there's different levels of comfort for them.

[00:11:14.838] James Chung: Oh yeah, so when we first showed our game in 2015 E3 with Sony, I mean, we had weapon detached from your site, using Sony's Move controllers, and it worked really, really well. It's just that we're not shipping with that controller yet, that scheme yet, because the Move controller or the motion tracking controllers are not very widely distributed yet, or Sony's, I don't think they're even launching with it. So we disabled that one for now. But when we launch that control scheme, we'll make sure to include right thumbstick detached movement, what is it, from your site as well. So we're not shipping with that at the moment. What's interesting for us is, so we're shipping with three different control schemes. One is a super easy, it will make the VR movement kind of like the easiest for majority of people. So there's that control scheme. The second one is a snap turn scheme. That's something that Sony has been very supportive of on all their free movement based games. So I think our snap turn is set to 30 degrees. So we're going to have that version. And then we'll have our own sort of turn assist version. sort of like what you're talking about, like use the right thumbstick to kind of like, you know, turn the body movement. I believe games like the Battlezone and RIGS is doing that, whereas ours, we're tying it to your sight. The advantage of doing that is you don't have to turn your body to turn around. You can just turn your head and then move around. And then what's interesting is, and here's what's interesting. So traditionally, PC gamers, if you're using a keyboard and mouse, you couldn't go against, I mean, or the people who's using the console controllers, joysticks, could not go against precision of using keyboard and mouse. But what's interesting about using the Sight System like ours, is that it's a lot, it's probably not as precise as keyboard and mouse, but it's still a lot, a lot more precise than controllers. So, for example, because the majority of our target audience is the kids, kind of like the Mario Kart and the Pokemon crowds. Kids who are growing up with mobile devices, when we test our game with them, it's very interesting because when they play our non-VR version on a regular controller, and then they try the VR version with a side controller, they actually prefer side controller a lot more because they see that it's easier to pick up, they get it right away, and then they see that it's really a lot more precise than a controller. So there's an added benefit to that. That probably doesn't have anything to do with the VR. or simulation sickness, but it's like added benefit we have with that control schemes.

[00:13:56.501] Kent Bye: That's really interesting, because what I hear you saying is that kind of the most precise way of aiming is with your hand and with your mouse and keyboard. And then the least is with kind of an abstracted way of using your thumbs and being able to aim. And then kind of in the middle is this being able to gaze aim, so moving your head around. And so our necks are not quite as precise as our fingers, but it's a lot more precise than being able to do a level of abstraction of being able to use the D-pad to be able to aim.

[00:14:24.894] James Chung: Because if you think about it, you're trying to orient, you know, like when you move your body, you know, your eyes go toward the direction you want to go, your head turns to that direction, and then your body follows, right? So it's sort of like a natural thing to tie your aim with the direction that you want to go, you know, and your eyes are obviously going to look at the target that you want to shoot at. So I think it's something that's so obvious, but it hasn't been something that's been tested until VR gaming came into the scene. And then we're benefiting tremendously from it.

[00:14:58.787] Kent Bye: Yeah, and I know for me personally, the snap turn actually is a lot more comfortable to be able to kind of move around. And, you know, also in using the Omni, you have a gun that you're actually holding, but it's not being tracked. And so you're kind of using your face to be able to aim and track. But, you know, I could imagine a time where I'm kind of running sideways, looking over to the right and pointing and being able to do a little bit more sophisticated gameplay in that way.

[00:15:23.286] James Chung: Yeah, like I said, we already have that control scheme. We were just not enabling it at the moment.

[00:15:29.074] Kent Bye: Have you had people play on kind of a desktop PC with a gamepad controller versus someone in Omni? I'm just curious if there's kind of an inherent advantage or disadvantage from doing kind of the physical locomotion.

[00:15:41.684] James Chung: I mean, it's working right now. We just haven't tested it tremendously from kind of cross-play at the moment. We're focusing probably more on just regular controller versus sit-down VR control scheme at the moment.

[00:15:54.788] Kent Bye: Well, I mean, if people are kind of playing on a 4v4 kind of capture the flag, if someone has an Omni, I'm just curious if, you know, you see at some point people with Omnis would have an advantage in playing the game.

[00:16:08.077] James Chung: It depends. I mean, our Omni implementation is still early. There are a lot of things that we need to kind of like fine-tune first before we can even like test those things out. So right now it's, we're in the beginning stage of showing, you know, control scheme being, you know, worked on these different platforms and hardware platforms and stuff like that. But we're not advanced enough to actually commenting on or start testing that area.

[00:16:31.751] Kent Bye: I see. At this point, not having strafing is just one thing that is more comfortable, but I think would be a disadvantage if people were playing.

[00:16:38.998] James Chung: I believe strafing is there.

[00:16:42.781] Kent Bye: It's disabled in this demo here.

[00:16:44.463] James Chung: Really? OK. So I guess that was one of the last minute decisions we made.

[00:16:48.558] Kent Bye: Yeah, it would just be sort of, for me it would be a huge motion sickness trigger. So it makes sense, but you kind of get into this situation that if, you know, I could see it eventually getting to the point of having tracked guns, being able to move your body and look your head, and ideally I think you would want that to be better than to sit down and have a level of abstraction, or ideally also just have it equal so people would be able to play against each other in a way. I could see how having a little bit more control, using your body as a controller in some ways of guiding which way you're walking versus being able to turn your head in a way that might not be as easy as somebody who's sitting down.

[00:17:22.983] James Chung: Ultimately, we need to establish what we think is the best for the base, and then we have to open it up to the users, being able to come up with tweakable control schemes. What's difficult is that we have so many different ones that we're testing. Even the teams that have been working on VR way before us, like Valve, they have so many different control schemes and stuff like that. We just have to locate what we're going to ship with first. And then again, I mean, VR industry is still premature, and it's hard to kind of cater to every single need of what people think they need. Strafing, yes, that is the difficult part. I'm not going to minimize difficulties of trying to make that work well.

[00:18:08.188] Kent Bye: So you're launching on the PlayStation 4. Is it a PlayStation 4 exclusive, or are you going to be eventually going to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive?

[00:18:15.167] James Chung: As you can see here, it's running on PC, so obviously we're going to be on PC version as well. So both Oculus and Vive versions coming.

[00:18:23.497] Kent Bye: Okay, but I don't imagine that there would be a way to kind of use the Omni with the PlayStation 4 then.

[00:18:28.562] James Chung: That is not something for me to comment. That's something you'll have to ask the Omni folks.

[00:18:33.780] Kent Bye: OK, so here at PAX West, you have like a whole booth with announcers and, you know, four people versus four people. I can see this is like kind of the first VR game that I've seen that is kind of leaning towards something that would be considered an e-sport with people kind of having a commentary and, you know, actually people playing against each other. So maybe you could comment on that if you hope that some of these games would be kind of rising to the level of being a spectator sport.

[00:19:01.776] James Chung: Sure. I mean, you know, being a multiplayer, it's obviously, you know, naturally set up to do that. However, my philosophy is it's up to the fans. You know, they want to take, they want to take it this to eSports level. It's, it's, we're accommodated. Obviously we're here to show one of the best comment that we literally heard was somebody after trying our game is that, Hey, you know, I see you guys are actually making a real game here. It's not just like a demo or like another rollercoaster thing on VR, like you're making a real VR game. after trying out this multiplayer setup. So that is sort of like the appeal that we want to give to all the users here is that we're not here to joke around. We're making a multiplayer game. We'll show you that our game runs in multiplayer setup. So that's why we went after this setup.

[00:19:47.036] Kent Bye: And for you, what is the boundary or threshold that differentiates a tech demo in VR versus a fully-fledged VR game?

[00:19:54.282] James Chung: I think there's multiple aspects to that, right? Game-wise, it's the philosophy behind the game, number one. So, for example, things like, hey, we're going to make our game into free-to-play, right? I mean, we made this decision a long time ago when we were beginning. Remember, we're talking 2014, when even the VR industry, starting from funding to how publishers look at the platform, they didn't believe in it at the time. So for us to commit and say, hey, we're going to make this into free-to-play means that we're making a huge bet. We're making a bet that this is going to be a platform that games such as ours can survive on, right? So stuff like that has a lot to do with what went around behind the scenes to prepare our game has a lot to do with what you're asking about.

[00:20:42.338] Kent Bye: I think one of the challenges of esports is being able to have a spectator watch. Right now we have four different screens and people are running all over the map. I can imagine a time where there might be a VR spectator mode where you're able to see the entire map and people walking around. And talking to Miss Harvey, Stephanie Harvey is a professional gamer who does Counter-Strike. She said that there's actually kind of a class of people who are kind of observers, who are kind of dictating and watching and knowing the game enough to put the camera in different places. so that some people can just sit back and watch in a 2D screen and kind of have the drama and the suspense of not having the full information that you might have of doing kind of a near-fields overview of seeing the entire world of all the little characters running around. So maybe you could comment on where you see the spectator aspect of this going and what you could do to kind of make it interesting or enjoyable for people to watch.

[00:21:37.529] James Chung: Sure. So, eSports titles, I mean, we, on the non-VR titles, we are enjoying the results of like years of development, right? I mean, all those different camera settings and being able to track between different players and all that stuff, it's, you know, it was kind of organically grown. However, in VR, that is not possible at the moment. Multiple issues because you can't just take a look at, you know, what other people are experiencing from, you know, stereoscopic view and all that stuff. And on top of that, Game Engine by itself, most of the engines don't have tools to actually track those. So there are guys like V-Real that's coming up with their own tools to accommodate and stuff like that. And I'm sure as the industry grows and matures, all those things will be fulfilled. However, in our game, and all the developers themselves will start implementing it, or the engine makers will start implementing features that can actually do that. In our setting today, I mean, we came up with just enough control, like the free movement control within the match for the announcers, broadcasters to actually, you know, track the movement, check out what the gamers are doing inside the map and stuff like that. Good enough for them to showcase on the screen as well as comment on it. And I think that's good enough for where we are right now. And as you can see, as you commented on, like, this is the setup that we're going to push for. So whether we make it ourselves or whether we partner with guys like VREAL or whatever in the future, I mean that's the angle that we're going to be keep pushing.

[00:23:08.901] Kent Bye: Yeah, the big challenge there is that if you take somebody's first-person perspective, and then you have someone else watch it, and they're looking around, it's just very motion sickness-inducing. So you really need to have a stationary camera. And I know that V-Roll was just demoing some stationary cameras to be able to actually have an observer put in different cameras. So then you could see it in stereoscopic view, but also be translated into a 2D Twitch stream or whatnot. So I could see a time when you're able to have these kind of observers using these stationary cameras with something like V-Roll, which is kind of a surface on top of the game so that you are just sending the metadata across and not the entire scene. So you're just tracking the player movement. So is that something that you've been talking to V-Roll to be able to actually have live streams, to be able to have people watch the experience kind of from a god mode or from a first-person perspective?

[00:24:02.042] James Chung: Yes. So, I'll leave it at that for now.

[00:24:06.598] Kent Bye: Okay, yeah. From the demos I've seen at V-Reel, I think that would actually work really well for being able to kind of jump back and forth as a user to see the large view and then be able to dive in and then kind of experience it as a ghost because, you know, with V-Reel, the actual players that are in-game don't necessarily see the spectators or observers who can have them. have a group of people kind of watch it together. So I think this is actually one of the first games that I've seen where I think it would actually be a lot of fun for people to go in and watch as friends and then eventually at some point have replays so that you're like recording it and being able to go back and jump around and watch it from different perspectives if it was, you know, a really intense match. So I can see the writing on the wall of where all this is kind of heading where you're not only having live events but being able to record them and revisit them later and have many multiple different perspectives of them.

[00:24:58.024] James Chung: So Todd and all those guys at V-Real, I mean, those guys are amazing. As far as we're concerned, whether it's V-Real or make it ourselves, let's just say yes to all of the above. Like everything you mentioned, it will come. So yeah, we're planning on all those things.

[00:25:14.312] Kent Bye: So when I was at the VRX in November, I had a chance to talk to someone who was a part of the Rascal Studios that was also working on Wolfbert VR. So maybe you could talk a bit about some of the other kind of subsidiaries that you have there at Reload Studios.

[00:25:27.566] James Chung: Razzcalli is our division that mostly deals with non-gaming content. So they're focusing on education part, which with Wolfbird VR we have launched the virtual museum platform app, which is growing. We have some surprises coming on that end. The next step, I'll tease a little bit here on that end, is we're working on time machine experience. So it's sort of like a one step up above just the visiting locations. It's more interactive, a lot more engaging in educational aspect because you get to experience what happens. So imagine, let's pick a mundane subject. Imagine being inside the crowd when Lincoln was giving Gettysburg speech. I mean, that's a completely different experience than just reading that on paper. I love books, but certain things I think it's meant to be experienced, right? So imagine being in the middle of fierce battle, like historic battle. It's different than watching stuff on TV screen because you're not removed from the stage, you're in the stage, you're in the middle of the action, right? That's the whole draw of VR. For the thousands of years, human history, right? We've been removed from the stage on all storytelling aspects, but this is for the first time you're right in the middle of all the action. I'm a huge supporter in education in that sense that I want to put people in the right in the middle of what's going on and that's what's going on in the education side of the Rascalli and we are teaming up with Youku from China which is like a YouTube slash Netflix of China and we're in the middle we're in the pre-production stage of making our own live-action sci-fi series as well as two different animation series at the moment so Toward the end of this year. We'll be making some announcements on that end Cool, and so what's next for reload studios? Rilo Studios, so October launch is a huge milestone. I always tell my team that when we launch our title in October, that's actually a real beginning point for Rilo Studios. That's our starting point. So we're going for a marathon with World of Toons. A lot of IP-driven announcements will happen very soon regarding World of Toons, including animations and all that stuff. Christmas, around Christmas time we'll have another big package announcement there. Obviously we're launching very small with four maps, eight base characters, eight unlockable characters and some tanks and stuff like that. So we'll be constantly adding features. We'll have another big announcement toward spring time. So pretty much you'll see some big announcement coming every three months after the launch So we have pretty big plans for what's gonna happen next year. So just stay tuned. There's there's a lot of stuff coming up

[00:28:15.145] Kent Bye: Well, if I look at free-to-play first-person shooters and see how some of those have monetized, a lot of them have done, like, hats for Team Fortress 2 or for character and avatar customization. And maybe you could talk about, like, some of your monetization strategy. If it's a free-to-play game, then how are you going to actually sort of have revenue come in from it?

[00:28:32.688] James Chung: Sure, so we're launching with a crate system because we don't have a ton of content in the beginning. Although we're sitting on a lot of content, we can't wait to show all the new characters we've been announcing, all those different skins and stuff like that. However, we want to control how much content we can put out there. So in the beginning we're coming up with a crate system. But obviously, as the content grows, we're going to individual downloadable items as well as some different tactics of monetization model and stuff like that. However, we're not doing pay-to-win. We don't believe that, especially for North American market here. It's just, you know, that's not... an area that we even want to touch. So, you know, it's whatever that you put money into, there's going to be a value into what you're purchasing, but it's not going to help you to be so much better in the game and stuff like that.

[00:29:26.748] Kent Bye: Yeah. And finally, what do you see as kind of the ultimate potential of virtual reality and what it might be able to enable?

[00:29:35.412] James Chung: We're obviously heavily involved in the entertainment side, right? So in both narrative form and both interactive form, I mean, we truly believe in those two forms of entertainment and then pushing them to the next level. And like I said, you know, just being in the middle of it. That's the whole angle we're pushing for. We have to go beyond these gimmicky things that people are doing with or expecting with VR. You know, just pointing stuff right in front of your eyes or just dropping you from 100 feet above. Beyond that, we want to make sure that we reach the next level of storytelling. if you're in the middle of you know what's going on in the spaceship and everything's just going haywire right what can you feel as a third person looking at it or first person experiencing it right if you're playing the game like ours and you're obviously like going against other people how much can we push this experience so it's it becomes beyond just being immersed in this 360 environment So just taking everything to the next level of being surrounded in the 360 environment, that's the first step we want to go for at the moment.

[00:30:45.374] Kent Bye: Anything else left unsaid that you'd like to say?

[00:30:48.194] James Chung: We're launching on October 13th with PlayStation VR, so please follow us on our Twitch, World of Toons, as well as our Facebook and Twitter channel. That's where we make all our new announcements, including new characters and stuff like that. We really believe in just reaching directly to our fans, so we don't go around making other ads and stuff like that. We want to speak directly to fans. So please follow us, get the word out, tell your friends about us, and let's grow together. Let's make this VR industry happen together.

[00:31:19.002] Kent Bye: Awesome. Well, thank you so much.

[00:31:20.323] James Chung: Thank you. Thank you for your time.

[00:31:22.025] Kent Bye: So that was James Chung. He's the CEO of Reload Studios. So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that first of all, I did end up having a chance to play World War Toons, and I had a good experience within it. I mean, I think it was fun and challenging at the same time, but there was a bit of team cooperation that was required, and I could see how this could be a game where, as people get better and used to actually moving around and doing a first-person shooter within VR, then they would be able to have a good time of having some sort of strategy and working with other people to be able to accomplish the goal of capturing the flag. So I did experience a little bit of motion sickness afterwards from doing a little bit of the strafing. I think in the context of the game, it's a little impossible to be able to play the game and not strafe around just because you end up being a little bit of a sitting duck and it's pretty easy for other people to pick you off and so it's a part of the gameplay that makes it a lot more fun and enjoyable but yet I did after playing it about 45 minutes or so after playing it I started to feel the effects of some of the strafing and it was pretty minimal and not a huge deal but it was slightly uncomfortable and it was something that I didn't necessarily notice while playing or immediately after. And had I not known some of my triggers, then I very likely wouldn't have reported anything right away. But I knew that I was on that track and trajectory. So this is something that's really interesting within VR is that this is something that first-person shooter players have asked for. They wanted something like this. And so it'll be an interesting test to see on the PlayStation VR platform, which is launching here on October 13th. There's a lot of people who are gamers and have a lot of experience of doing these types of first person shooters and I think it'll be interesting to see how they actually physically react to a game like this. I think there's going to be a lot of people who are just fine and it doesn't bother them at all, but I think there's going to be other people who are sensitive and they are going to start to feel the impact. So I think it's just something that as the game gets out there, we'll get a lot more information as to how people react. So I'm glad that there's experiences out there to push the limits and so that we can see, you know, what's possible. The other thing is that I think that Reload Studios was really making a hard push for World War Toons to be one of these games that was not only interesting for teams to play against each other, but one that would be interesting for you to watch and spectate. And so they had a couple of announcers who were familiar enough with the game and they were these Twitch streamers who had done other live streaming events. And so they were kind of cultivating a whole announcer ecosystem, which I think is a big part of the process of creating a new esport. So I know that they were at PAX West and they're going to be at TwitchCon doing the same thing, doing a lot of live streams of some of these matches that are happening. One thing that I did notice is that they had a 2D camera that was kind of flying around and was being controlled by the two commentators. And I do think that in the future it's going to be a lot more interesting to potentially watch within Vreel or some other VR streaming integration, whether it's Reload Studios making their own or using something like Vreel. where you could actually be within the VR experience watching other people play it. Whether you are in a first-person perspective at the same level of seeing the world or whether you're able to jump into god mode and get a larger picture of what's actually happening. As you're actually playing the game you have no idea what's happening at the large scale and so you kind of have a privileged perspective when you're a spectator and be able to jump back and kind of see where people are at and what's actually happening. And in talking to Ms. Harvey, she's a professional Counter-Strike global offensive player, she was saying that there's actually a whole class of people called observers who know the game enough and know where to place 2D cameras within the experience so that a whole stream could be sent out to something like Twitch. So people could just kind of sit back and relax and watch the action that's unfolding. and not have to know all the nuances and intricacies of where to look and what's actually happening in the unfolding of the game. And that's a big part of what the commentators are supposed to be responsible for. But yet, if they have an occluded view and they don't really know everything that's happening, then you kind of have these moments where you don't know anything that's happening because they're just moving the camera around. So I think having different waypoints within the experience as well as having the capability to actually be in VR and have this overall global perspective of where people are at and what's happening would help to kind of focus in on where the action might be. One of the things that Vreel has implemented within their system is the ability for people to create a 2D camera. So you can start to be in God mode and see a large perspective of what's happening and then from there be able to place a 2D camera that would actually just capture what was happening from that camera and stream it out to a live Twitch stream. I think we're starting to see this ecosystem develop where if you want to be able to have the full experience and be able to actually have your own god mode perspective and be able to move around from this third person to the first person perspective, then you can do that yourself. Or you could have what would amount to some of these observers who would then be kind of taken responsible of directing and keeping track of what's actually happening so that they could place the camera and you could just sit back and relax and enjoy the show as it unfolds from these 2D perspectives that may be streamed over YouTube or to Twitch. Also, just that the controllers seem to be easier than using a gamepad controller to do a first-person shooter, and perhaps not quite as precise of using a mouse and keyboard. So it's somewhere in the middle to do head-based gaze targeting. So it seems to be a little bit of a middle ground there to be able to do a first-person shooter in VR by using your head. It does sound like they have some snap turns that are available, where when you're moving around, you actually are able to kind of turn at 30 degrees There's a bit of a trade-off there between the comfort and gameplay capabilities when looking at some of these issues. So I think time will tell to see how some of these unfold. So that's all that I have for today. I'd like to just thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast. And if you'd like to support the podcast, then spread the word, tell your friends, and become a donor at patreon.com slash voicesofvr.

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