#754: The Design of Vacation Simulator: Balancing Open World Exploration & Goal-Driven Puzzles

Owlchemy Labs have been pioneering VR experiences exploring hand presence and embodied gameplay in VR since the release of Job Simulator and Rick & Morty VR, and they’re releasing their next experience in this sequence called Vacation Simulator where you get to explore a robotic living history of the present moment. It’s what reductive robot overlords of 2060 might imagine what leisure would be like for humans today, but from the perspective of this speculative future looking back through the lens of algorithms.

Devin-Reimer-Andrew-EicheI had a chance to unpack the design process with CEOwl Devin Reimer and CTOwl Andrew Eiche where they had to balance the tradeoffs between non-linear, open world exploration and the linear, goal-driven puzzles that are spread out through the three different vacation worlds. We talked about the extensive play testing, the different categories of embodied game play and how they try to balance that for different personality temperaments, the different metrics for success and “win conditions” that drove their development process, their rapid iteration process of dialog creation, world building, and humor, the difficulties of detected the large variety of different types of hand waves to trigger interactions with the NPC robots throughout the experience, cross-platform design considerations for Rift, Vive, PSVR, & Oculus Quest, working as an autonomous innovation studio while being owned and supported by Google, and dealing with the complexity of having a dozen different ways to combine and blend objects together across the entire experience.


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Music: Fatality

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.412] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye, and welcome to the Voices of VR podcast. So Alchemy Labs is a game development studio out of Austin, Texas, and they've been at the forefront of innovating all sorts of different things within virtual reality, mainly the sense of hand presence and interactivity through games like Job Simulator and Rick and Morty VR, as well as a new game that's just launching today on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019, called Vacation Simulator. It's in some ways a bit of a sequel to Job Simulator, and I think they've actually kind of fused together aspects from Job Simulator and Rick and Morty VR, where they're taking elements of interactions and game design of Job Simulator, but trying to add more of an open world exploration and story elements that they learned from Rick and Morty VR. I had a chance to talk to both the CEO and CTO of Alchemy Labs, Devin Reimer and Andrew Aiki, and they walked through both their process of developing the game, but also some of their big things that they had to innovate in order to create this game, especially things like waving, which on the surface sounds pretty simple, but just kind of the mechanics of what waving in VR is able to unlock when it comes to giving agency back to the user to decide when to interact with different NPCs within the experience. So we're covering all that and more on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. So this interview with Devin and Andrew happened on Monday, April 8th, 2019 over Skype, where they were in Austin, Texas, and I was in Portland, Oregon. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:01:47.795] Devin Reimer: I'm Devin Reimer, CEO at Alchemy Labs, and I'm Andrew Eicke, CT Owl and Cable Wrangler at Alchemy Labs. and a little bit about what we've been doing recently.

[00:01:58.620] Andrew Eiche: Yeah, so Alchemy Labs has made Job Simulator and Rick and Morty VR, and now we are just about to release Vacation Simulator onto the world.

[00:02:10.040] Kent Bye: Great, so I had a chance to play around both at GDC last year and had some opportunities to play around through again. It feels like it's very similar in the sense of the types of interactions that I saw in Job Simulator as well as in Rick and Morty in terms of the different puzzles. So how do you, I guess, think about the continuation of what you were doing in Job Simulator and what you were doing in Rick and Morty and what you're doing now in Vacation Simulator?

[00:02:34.286] Devin Reimer: I think we try to expand on each and every interaction. we want to keep kind of moving along a path that we've been moving and seeing, you know, kind of the next step and how much further we can push interaction, how much further we can go along, along these things. And, you know, like job simulator was a very kind of linear, like these four linear vignettes of these different jobs. And then Rick and Morty was this story that evolved. It was kind of our first time telling a single story. And then vacation simulators is kind of more open, free form experience where we've gone and put in like teleport zones and and different areas that you can go to and kind of allowing the user or the player to like really explore the world versus the single zone areas that we've been dealing with before.

[00:03:16.945] Andrew Eiche: Yeah sure and I'm just going to add on to some of that is that we think that interacting with the world with your hands is great and terrific and we use that as our baseline when we're building things. It's like okay now what do we build on top of this? And I think Vacation Simulator, we go and kind of explore that space even deeper, but we're still making an approach that, like, designing stuff in such a way that it's very approachable by everybody.

[00:03:40.215] Kent Bye: So I'm wondering if you could do a little bit of world building for what you think people would want to know about this world that you've created. Because I had a chance to play the game and get to learn about the world as I go through it. But what should people know in terms of the world that you've created before they even start to enter into Vacation Simulator?

[00:04:01.485] Andrew Eiche: Yeah, sure. So I guess I'll kind of kick off from the premise standpoint. So the premise of Job Simulator was it's the year 2050, and robots replaced all human jobs So these robots go and create a job simulator so these future humans could experience what it was like to job. And so in the universe continuation and vacation simulator, it's the year 2060, and these bots discovered that everyone loved the job simulator. And so they went to work to try to figure out what humans also used to do, and they discover this thing called vacation. And so they start going through and they build the simulator. But unlike jobs that actually made a lot of sense, the concept of work makes a lot of sense to a robot. The concept of vacation makes very little sense, why would you not be productive? Why would you not be working? And that kind of like kicks off the premise of this game.

[00:04:46.279] Devin Reimer: Yeah, then we kind of just kind of explore that thought out, like thinking about, you know, in a world where nobody knows what vacations is because the humans are almost permanently on vacation and the robots are almost permanently working, you know, kind of what is that contrast and what does that look like? And you can see that in our two title characters kind of bouncing back and forth between the concept of these vacations that are very structured You know, we've all gone on vacations where we have itineraries and we have the people who are like, we got to be here for this five minutes and then we have these reservations scheduled and the people who are like, I flew out and I didn't even have a hotel and I just have a backpack and $10, right? And kind of the balance and shift between that.

[00:05:27.399] Kent Bye: Yeah, I think of that as the split between what the Greeks would call Kronos time and Kairos time, the structured nature of the Kronos, which I think is what you're talking about, the quantification of what a robot may understand, and then the more qualitative aspects of the quality of the moment of the Kairos time, where it is much more open-ended. And I found that you're really playing with that blend of those two in a very interesting way. And I found that it was changing the way that I was interacting with the game, because just the way that you've structured this open world, there's these different gates where you want people to engage in these different actions, but there's a deeper purpose, which is that it's going to unlock other access. And so I'm just curious if you could comment on that in terms of trying to make that balance of open exploration where you don't have a plan versus how do you make a game where you actually try to encourage people to do things that they may not otherwise do, but they're doing it for the deeper purpose of this larger journey that you're trying to cultivate for them.

[00:06:29.192] Andrew Eiche: Yes, so like on that, you kind of hit the nail on the head, this was one of the more challenging things that we encountered while developing this game. At any point we kind of like moved in two different directions where we have a world that was completely open and people could just go and do whatever and with that we found in Job Simulator at some points where it was completely free form that why people say, oh that's what I want. Sometimes without like a little carrot or something that people are like trying to be drove to do, they don't discover other things and they end up spending a lot less time and getting less familiar with. And then on Vacation Sim we kind of started breaking things down. At some point we kind of started treating it more like a traditional game where it was like, okay, you do this first part. Let's say, for example, you go to the beach and then you do this part of the beach and then that unlocks the next part and then you go to the forest and then you did this. And we actually had that for quite some time in the game. And what we discovered was it kind of worked against that, like, I want to be free and do whatever I decide to do, but we also need to strike that balance where we kind of have that, like, hey, hey, if you don't know what you should be doing or you don't know what you want to be doing, hey, here's a thing that you should go try. And that was particularly challenging. And I think it's something that's even more unique to VR, particularly because people's time is, like, in our heads. way more valuable when you're like, okay, I'm in. This is the sole thing that I'm doing. I'm not working on my phone by watching TV or not doing any of that. It's like, this is what I'm doing is you want to make sure that we strike that balance where we're letting people do what they want, but also kind of giving people a little bit of progression that they can kind of walk their way through.

[00:08:01.748] Kent Bye: Yeah, I was happy to see that I was able to have the agency to choose between at least the three worlds that I'm introduced with and to not be forced into completing an entire world before I can go explore and see what else the other worlds are. I like that freedom of being able to do that. And I imagine that you are trying to encourage people to explore all the different interactions that you have. And there's quite a lot of different things that you have in this game. I'm just curious to hear from you like what you think in terms of the most innovative or interesting or fun games that you're able to create in the full spectrum of all the different options that you've created this entire world.

[00:08:42.537] Devin Reimer: I think the biggest thing in this game versus our previous ones is actually the interconnectedness. So it's not that any one single mechanic is like so unique and so awesome like we have a lot of really cool things in the game. It's that You know in job simulator you could burrito out and then all the items that lived in the garage only lived in the garage or only in the kitchen right and all those machines only worked on those things but in vacation simulator the world is so interconnected that you can go between any of them and you can bring everything around and you can make all these insane different combinations of items and things you can paint things or turn things into waffles or freeze them or you know and it kind of just like expands upon that. It's almost like we joked in after the end of Rick and Morty that we were never going to make a Combinator again and then in Vacation Simulator not only did we make a Combinator, we didn't make one, we made like 12 and they all work, they all stack on top of each other.

[00:09:38.911] Andrew Eiche: Yeah, yeah and so like just like add on to that it's like I love watching people play through the game. It's like the first part you're playing through the game, there's lots of different people like to do lots of different things. So for example, like some people go, I'm going to go into the beach and I get to like the sandcastle puzzles and they're like, this is the greatest thing ever. And then they spend the next like hour and 45 minutes working through puzzles and completing them all. They're like, this is the thing, right? And then you'll see somebody else like puzzles are kind of cool, but I really want to go do some painting, right? It's like, I'm going to go do this painting thing and spend my entire time there. We always treat like kind of a success case. is when, after a play session of any game we make, we're like, what was your favorite part? And everyone answers something different. That's if we know we've won, in that sense.

[00:10:20.942] Devin Reimer: And I also think we also use the time dilation thing. So that's our other trick, is if we ask somebody, like, how long have you been in VR? And they're like, oh, I've been in VR for 30 minutes. We're like, actually, it was two hours. That's why I'm so tired and thirsty. And it's like, yeah, you played two hours straight.

[00:10:37.342] Kent Bye: Wow. Yeah. So that there's an element of wonder and awe and surprise and you have a prediction as to what things are going to be. And then you actually try it out and then you are either surprised about whether or not the mental model you had created worked out or not. And I think that's the interesting thing about something like the combinator is that you're trying to cultivate that curiosity and that sense of wonder and awe when you combine these two things and. Yeah, I remember talking to you about Rick and Morty about the types of spreadsheets you had to create to see as you're combining these things together, but it seems like you're really doubling down on that in this experience and making 12 different combinators with all these different things.

[00:11:16.121] Devin Reimer: Yeah, so not only are there a lot of different spreadsheets, I mean, we've gotten a tiny bit better in that some of it's procedurally generated this time, but not all of it. The photos on the back, You know, we wrote something like 1,800 different little text snippets.

[00:11:31.400] Andrew Eiche: Yeah, if you take a photo of any object in the game, it'll tell you what it is and then also a description, like a joke about what the bots thought that was. And then to kind of like tumble down that rabbit hole, it also keeps track of most of the objects in that frame.

[00:11:45.071] Devin Reimer: And then you can kind of like... And it keeps track of like if the object is like shrubbed or in a burger or kind of anything. So it knows all of those pieces. But yeah, we're still doing like It's a good mix of manual work and some procedural work.

[00:12:00.623] Kent Bye: Wow. So you've created a whole AR layer of human-generated descriptions, but what the AI would think it might be. Yeah. So I'm curious to hear a little bit more about your home base because I was struck with, first of all, that you had me go through and pick an avatar. There's a certain amount of hey this is a game where I'm not actually interacting with anybody why do I need to be so detailed in picking my sense of embodiment but yet at the same time I knew that there was photos from the GDC demo that I'd seen and so I was like well I'm likely going to be taking pictures of myself so I probably want to have some sense of likeness but also just like the home base in general like Maybe you could just talk about what you were trying to do there, because this is your private space to not only put on your sense of embodiment, but also to relax and have the bed and other things that are in the context of your home base relative to going out and vacationing.

[00:12:58.557] Devin Reimer: Before we get like too philosophical. I think there's a good anecdote here, which is when we originally developed the game, we kept, we kept trying to get players to like get out of the home base. Like it was like, okay, let's just like. How fast can we get them into one of the destinations? And then we realized that in real life, in your hotel room, if you go to a hotel, you kind of explore around. You look at the bathroom, you check out the bed, you kind of poke around a little bit, maybe take a second to catch your breath before you go out and do the activities. You don't just land on the plane and immediately, well, some people do, but most people don't land on the plane and they're out on the beach or out on the slopes. So we wanted to let players do that, move around this kind of private space that was their own. and take ownership of it.

[00:13:40.268] Andrew Eiche: Yeah and like early on to that point was like a lot of the thinking we were doing was it's a failure if someone gets in the resort and spends the first hour in the resort right. It was like oh no this is the place that you kind of set up your avatar to do this thing it's like you should go over here. And it's kind of the trap you fall into like from traditional games is like oh yeah you want to get out of like the menus or get out of like the loading area right as fast as you can. But then we kind of discovered that Why is this a problem, right? If people are having fun here, isn't that like the wind condition? And so we started treating the resort more of like a destination, like a place you'd want to be. And that if people decided to go in, like we've had people like go in, like I go and walk in on a playtest, like. Oh, did they come back to the resort? And they're like, no, they're still here. It's been over an hour. And it's like, oh, OK, that's cool. That's not a failure case. If someone is having fun exploring the world and getting familiar with it, that's awesome. That's what we want.

[00:14:30.867] Devin Reimer: And I think to the detailed character creator point, I mean, the selfies are kind of an obvious extension of that, where it's like, hey, you know, selfies in VR, yeah, you want to look like you. But there's a big philosophical component, too, of VR is very you and agency centered, you know, almost Almost all games are played first person. There are third person games, obviously, but like most games are played first person. It's very much a kind of you experience, even if you are being a character, it's still like your body, your arms, your limbs doing the actions. And so there's something magical to being like, hey, we're going to make this really, really extensive kind of over the top character creator that you typically would see in online games for a single player game and really let you be you here. So that way, the first thing you do is get into your own skin and get comfortable.

[00:15:19.061] Andrew Eiche: Yeah, we see like the amount of photos, like inside the office, we knew this was like, we had one when people were like constantly sharing in our Slack chat, like photos they've taken of themselves in vacations that we're doing things. And it's like, yes, this is, this is what we want. It's like the, I'm kind of documenting your vacation, you're documenting your experience. And that's like a fun way, I think, to not only share that with others, but also to feel more like you're on vacation, because that's something that you do anyway.

[00:15:46.003] Kent Bye: Yeah, I'm wondering if you have different high-level categories of the types of interactions. You know, you talked about painting, you talked about puzzles. Like, how do you think about the different types of interactions that you've put into Vacation Simulator?

[00:15:59.669] Devin Reimer: So we, yeah, we do some categorical thinking, right? We think about things as like kind of time-based action, dexterity-focused things. So you'll see like the sports and the beach is like that. And then we think of like puzzle and creative is another concept. So painting falls into creative. Sandcastle covers like both puzzle and creative. And what we try to do is we try to look and make sure that there's something there for everyone. And we also try to balance the game in a way that no one is stuck, right? We don't want you to get stuck because you're an action sports kind of dexterity person, and then suddenly you're like, well, if I don't figure out this three-dimensional sand castle, I'm going to be in this beach forever and never see one of our cool destinations or our cool excursions.

[00:16:43.392] Andrew Eiche: To that point, when we were building out these different destinations and stuff, we were going through and being like, okay, in this kind of interesting balancing way, it's like, okay, this one has these things for creativity, and this one has these ones, and these ones are like... more sports focused or like activity focused and then oh these ones are more creative and like I'm doing kind of quest stuff and just like making sure we kind of had a mix of everything because yeah to Andrew's point it was just super important to us that so in the game we have this concept of memories so that's like the thing that you get that efficiency bots been kind of rewarding you for making progress in the traditional sense. We don't have any of those that are mandated to complete the game because it's just like some people like different things and that's just like vacation some people like doing different things and you should let people do that.

[00:17:25.852] Kent Bye: Yeah, I kind of think of the different flavors of presence of mental and social presence, which would be a lot of the games. The active presence would be a lot more of the sports types of stuff. The levels of embodied presence get much more into the sensory experience of what it feels like to actually do these different motions and actions. And then there's the emotional presence, which I tend to think of the story and the narrative and the plot that in this specific case, you've been able to take what you learned from Job Simulator and then Rick and Morty, where in Rick and Morty, there was this being able to have the dialogue be given to you, but then you can interrupt it. And so trying to figure out how to still tell a fairly linear story, but yet give that ability of that open world exploration. but here it seems like that you've focused much more on the open world exploration and then you have this mechanic of waving at the bots that whenever you want to learn more about this world or to learn more about these characters or interact with them you have the agency to sort of interact with them and then you start off the story and then other ways that you're feeding the story, whether it's through the AR pictures or whatnot. So just curious to hear a little bit more about that process of how you were able to architect the more narrative components of this experience.

[00:18:40.401] Devin Reimer: I think it starts, the narrative stuff starts with, back to your kind of emotional presence, right? We want to capture the essence of each of these vacations, right? Because the thing we balance on in Job Simulator and now in Vacation Simulator is relatability, right? We have to have a groundwork that our players as well as us can understand because in job simulator we talked about having a bunch of jobs like window washer or an astronaut like those aren't things that any of us do we don't have grounding to understand that so we put anything in those so by having these like very iconic vacations and then we worked really hard to make sure that we captured the aspects of those that people considered incredibly important right so you know on the beach like playing the sports on the beach or building sandcastles are really important and you You know, the campsite and s'mores were like a thing that kept coming up and up and up. So we have kind of all these snowballs, like the amount of times we heard the word snowballs. And then that kind of kicks it off, right? We have to have this setting. We have to have this groundwork. And then from there, we're working to build these characters that fit into it. These kind of, they're a little bit caricatures, but then also give them some depth and then work from that. But it all kind of starts from these, like, can we have this setting that makes sense for each of the players?

[00:19:54.321] Andrew Eiche: And then from like a narrative, Storytelling dialogue perspective in VR people's time is just so valuable like just talking at someone Doesn't end up feeling that good and the amount of time people like that was too long and it was like That was 10 seconds, right? And it's like this is so different than traditional games where it's like, okay Here's my five minute cutscene or whatever because in those at least in modern times I like pull up my phone and like I checked like a text message or whatever. It's like We have people that are standing up and actively engaged. We've got to make sure that we are doing stuff at them, that they are asking for stuff. And so Waving was our system that ended up unlocking so much of this. Because in Job Simulator, you were always being talked at and then providing actions too. But we knew once we started bouncing around in this world, some of our early experiments were, you know, you'd teleport into a zone and then the bot would start talking to you and then you're just like, oh my goodness, everyone is talking to me all the time, I don't like this. We knew we didn't want to go down the road of having to map another button under the controller or something like that. So we were very excited when we started working through waving. Waving was a very challenging one because it turns out everyone waves a little different. But once we ended up solving that, that allowed people to ask things of the world in that way, and it found out that people would listen to way more if they were the ones that asked for it in the first place.

[00:21:14.794] Devin Reimer: And then the last thing is like, okay, we're actually writing the dialogue itself. We had a number of rules, but in that like five to 10 second span, we have to try to fit as much as we can. So we had these like this hierarchy and this is like off the top of my head. So the best I can remember is like, you know, it has to get across the point, right? First and foremost, we're trying to get the player to do something or deliver some information. After that, it has to be in the character's voice, right? So you can't just state something. And then after that, oh, can we start providing some flavor for the world while we're also fitting this? And then can it also be a joke? And so we're trying to do all of these layers, and the best lines are the ones that do all of those all at once. It's a line that, in a very funny way, delivers the information, builds on the character and the world. And is very short. And is very short. And is very short. And yeah, you have to do all of that, and you have about one to two sentences.

[00:22:08.238] Kent Bye: Yeah. And on top of that, also try to provide a dimension of humor because there is a number of different interactions that just made me laugh out loud, which I think is quite an accomplishment in VR. Cause I don't see a lot of other VR experiences really exploring humor. So I'm just curious how you architect humorous moments, you know, as something that may be funny for you. How do you develop that sense of intuition of humor? Yes.

[00:22:33.169] Devin Reimer: So yeah, one of the biggest things, especially with new people to writing humor in general, is understanding the difference between a dev joke and a funny joke, right? And so we have lots of inside jokes. They're very funny to you, but then you have to be like, that's not going to land. And you have to be willing to cut and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite lines and really nail that voice. But it's also like an establishment of that goofiness. So it's like the humor and the speaking and kind of the way that we write works because we've established a satirical world and kind of the goofiness of like throw something like the first item you get in your backpack is a donut because it's like of course it's a donut and that's like a goofy like the whole setup is there to say that this is a playful world and VR our controls are really like we got big oven mitt style hands even the most refined controls are still not that refined and so You know, it already lends itself to that like physical humor. So it's just kind of like we have to push the player into the physical humor. And then once we have them there, we can start bringing in kind of these satirical, funny elements. And then that has to permeate the universe. So it's not just the writing, like everybody thinks of it like VO writing. It's also building items and then building items that have satirical text or like funny text on them that aren't written in a way that only game developers understand or is only humorous to a small group of people. It's kind of like casting a big net with jokes, right? So what you do is you cast, you throw out a lot of jokes, and you cast them in this huge wide net, and you hope that you catch somebody, right? And so it's like the punchlines per second in this game are so high, especially in comparison to Rick and Morty and Jobs, it's like so high because we know that we might catch only a small bit with each one, but we're just hoping that by like, okay, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, we hit you with all these jokes, that one of them gets you.

[00:24:26.034] Andrew Eiche: In watching people play, it's like someone bursts out laughing and I always have to ask you, what was the one that caught that person this particular time? But yeah, it's part of the thing, it's kind of the whole company's job. to try to make everything humorous from how the interactions work to the textures that go on the chip bag that has the joke on it. It's like that is everyone's job to wrap that up. There is a humor writer that does the stuff in one spot there. Then to go through some of the dialogue stuff, one thing that we do here that's super helpful is we go and record in-house, just the developers here, all the VO for the game as we're going. Because in VR in particular, It is so hard to get those lines right, but then also it is so hard to make sure you're not confusing somebody. Like, you'll tell a joke, you're like, that's a great joke, and then someone hears that. It's like, oh, they meant that I should go do something else. And they're like, no, that didn't really mean it at all. And so we've got to keep doing that. And so we actually record our final VO very late in the process because we want so much iteration time on all the VO that goes in the game.

[00:25:26.589] Devin Reimer: Yeah, it baffles our voice actors. We record, like, within a month of launch. And they're like, um, excuse me. And it's like, yeah, we've tested this. It's going to work.

[00:25:35.142] Kent Bye: Oh, so do you have like a vocoder or do you use dev voices for it?

[00:25:39.527] Devin Reimer: Dev voices, we have a number of pretty, pretty talented devs. And then we have a full-time audio person, Daniel Perry, who is really, really good. And then we've like streamlined our pipeline, the speed at which we can get VO. from booth to game is incredibly short.

[00:25:54.844] Kent Bye: Oh, interesting. Well, the other thing that I think is striking about Vacation Simulator is that as we go forward in time in VR, there's more and more platforms. And I think one of the things that has been a key part of Alchemy Labs is to try to always be as cross-platform as you can in all these different platforms. And so what are all the different platforms that you're planning on launching at some point with Vacation Simulator?

[00:26:17.809] Andrew Eiche: Yeah, so tomorrow, the 9th, we're releasing on PC, so that's Oculus and SteamVR, and then... June 18th is going to be PlayStation VR, and then this holiday season will be Quest, the Oculus Quest.

[00:26:33.368] Kent Bye: Okay, and so I'm wondering if you could talk a bit about some of the challenges for taking what I would imagine that the aesthetic of vacation simulators actually pretty lo-fi in the sense of like the difference between the visual of what Vacation Simulator is going to look like on the PC versus the Quest, I would imagine it's going to be more similar than some of the games like, say, Robo Recall or something where you'd have to do quite a lot of optimization. But what was that process like for you to try to translate this game that was built for the PC originally, but to kind of optimize it down to a mobile platform like the Quest?

[00:27:10.638] Andrew Eiche: So to kind of talk about our process through on Job Simulator. So Job Simulator we ended up targeting PC because that was very early before we knew anything else was going to have hands and then PlayStation VR came along. And so some of our biggest challenges there is to make sure that we don't impact anything related to gameplay. Gameplay is kind of like our sacred thing and it's like now how do we heavily, heavily optimized stuff. And so like we use a ton of physics, for example. So that's super important. High frame rates are super important to us. And so then we kind of go through there and just like heavily, heavily optimized. And so our kind of core layer of tech that we use that sits on top of Unity, we've been already like refining that for like three years now. And so like we have a layer that everything sits on top of that runs incredibly fast. But it's one of those things that because our games are not single mechanics, like we don't have a game that's like, I shoot at targets, right? It's like, okay, let's optimize the shoot at targets part of the game. It's like, no, it's like, okay, we have a painting system, and it's like, okay, well, someone made a great version of that, but now how do we make that run fast? It's like, okay, so we came up with a system to do painting directly on the GPU, for example, right? But it's not like we have to optimize a certain part. It's so many different styles of interaction across the game. It is very challenging and it's a thing that we think about right from the start, going through things and making sure that we are making good decisions. But it is a very, very challenging thing that we do here.

[00:28:41.745] Devin Reimer: I think that we chip away at it like a lot of what you'll hear. There's no magic to it. It's just time and engineering energy and paying out the tech debt. So it's like we just find the pain points and we reduce them till we find the next pain points and we reduce them. We keep churning through things and where we have to, we make modifications, but our goal is to have every game feel as if it was first party. So we just keep on chipping away until eventually we reach the magic frame rate.

[00:29:13.543] Kent Bye: Yeah, well, when I was doing the painting, I think it was probably after I was on my second painting that I just thought to myself, wow, this feels like really good as I'm painting here. I mean, just the amount of work that you've done just in the whole painting app is impressive within itself. I noticed that I could pick up the brush in any number of different ways. And that I would imagine that there's like these little subtle differences between how the Oculus Rift would pick up that brush or the HTC Vive. And so I'm wondering if you can give me a sense of how do you navigate the differences between these different platforms with some of those subtle changes between say the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive and even the PlayStation PSVR.

[00:29:53.809] Devin Reimer: So yeah, some of it is setting ourselves up for success from the get-go, right? We adjust the hand position to match so that way mentally your hands are in the same position as your hands on screen. But then a lot of it is like the difference in the brush position is in our tech, we just allow the user to reorient the brushes into whatever way they can grip it that still feels good. So that way, it's kind of like driven by them. So maybe on one platform, gripping it like you grip a bicycle grip feels good, and on another platform, gripping it like a pencil feels good. But what we're doing is instead of dictating, which some games do this like auto-snap and auto-orient where you pick something up and it turns and snaps and clips right in your hand at a very specific position, we let the user, the position they grab it in is the position it stays in, and so you can pass it between your hands till you get it just right.

[00:30:44.107] Andrew Eiche: Yeah, and that's kind of trying not to be prescriptive, but also kind of looking at the commonalities across platforms and the things that we know that are there. So for example, in Vacation Simulator, have a teleportation system to get around. It's like we knew that the controllers all have a front button on the top that we can utilize. And that's like, hey, this is now our commonality that we can work with and we know will work across all platforms.

[00:31:09.630] Kent Bye: Well, last year at GDC, I saw a sneak peek of this experience of Vacation Simulator and you've been working on it for the last year. So I'm just curious in terms of your journey of working on this, what were some of the either hardest things you had to overcome or things that you're taken as a thing that you've learned from creating this application that you're going to bring forward into experiences that you create in the future?

[00:31:30.861] Devin Reimer: The thing that we keep talking about is sandwiches, which I think is a really kind of fun like insight into everything, right? So in Job Simulator, we had the sandwich maker, it had the spike on it, you built the sandwiches. We even gave talks where we were like, you can't make sandwiches in VR, that's ridiculous. You gotta make a machine to make them. And then our technology kept maturing and maturing and maturing until we were like, wait a minute, we think that you can hold something in one hand and stack things. It was like, oh my God, you can make sandwiches, right? And so then we went down this rabbit hole where we were like, suddenly when things started to afford more things in VR, As our game gets this kind of, like we've been talking about all these different types of presence, the more we dig into these interactions, the deeper we get, the more players expect the interactions to match reality. So with sandwiches, it was like, once we had this stacking thing, it didn't make sense like in Job Simulator to stack like, you know, chicken legs and stuff. So it was like, okay, we need to make a slicer machine to start slicing it. Now we need to make slices of every edible item in the game. Now we need to just, and so it kind of like falls down this rabbit hole of affordances you know, until we hit the bedrock for each game. And in this case, like these sandwiches are crazy because we, you know, job simulator sandwiches weren't edible. They were this like melted and put an olive on top. And it was like this like poking mass of single unit. And then in vacation simulator, they're edible. You can put sauce on them. You can do all these different kinds of things. And it's like, that's a great example of like a spot where our technology and our ability to understand interactions in VR has really begun to mature.

[00:33:06.276] Andrew Eiche: We were talking about waving before. We've been working on this game for so long, and waving is one of the earlier things that we solved, but it has become so ingrained in my brain that waving is just the thing that works, that like, when I'm jumping into other VR games, I see NPC, I'm like, oh, hello! And then nothing happens, and I'm like, oh, yeah, right, right, this is a thing. I'm kind of expecting those things to happen. It's like in the very early days when I started playing around eating in VR and having that same thing, it's like games and stuff. It's very exciting, just like, as we work through things and just kind of like add more stuff and what the affordances come out of that are, but it makes the entire world a lot more unique and fun to play around with.

[00:33:46.169] Kent Bye: Well, I can, in my mind and also my embodied reaction, I know what a wave is, but how do you define a wave programmatically in VR?

[00:33:56.140] Devin Reimer: Wow, a million different ways.

[00:33:57.761] Andrew Eiche: Well, yeah, so yeah, that code's been rewritten a few times. Like, we'll have playtesters come in, and then I'll get a message on Slack. It's like, you will not believe this person waves in a different way, and it doesn't work at all. And then you walk in, you're like, Whoa, I did not expect that at all. There's one like the queen wave. That's like this.

[00:34:14.989] Kent Bye: The turning of the wrist, yeah. Like this, like that.

[00:34:17.852] Devin Reimer: We've had people wave very low like this. Like this.

[00:34:20.814] Andrew Eiche: We have people that do this. It's like people that just snap their wrist.

[00:34:26.458] Devin Reimer: Our picture had the hinge on the middle of the hand so people would start going like this. Because they were just mimicking exactly what they saw on the image to wave.

[00:34:37.200] Kent Bye: So for people listening, there's the wrist, there's the elbow, there's the shoulder. You have three joints and different scales at which that you could wave at very small scale, medium scale, and large scale, it seems like. But you have to be able to detect all of those. Yeah.

[00:34:51.131] Andrew Eiche: And not only detect that, but then also detect who you are intending to wave at. And so we actually have a vision component of that too. And then some additional things like, oh, I'm holding an object. Sometimes people are like, when they're holding an object, they expect when they wave with that hand that it's still a wave. Like in real life, I was holding an object and I still kind of like generally gesture as a wave in your direction. You'd be like, that's a wave. But then other times it's like, I'm just moving an object back and forth really fast. And it's like trying to understand some of the differences here.

[00:35:20.046] Devin Reimer: Going to grab your backpack, like we had to make sure we didn't have false positives too, because it's okay to wave for an extended period of time, but it's a lot worse if you're going to reach for your backpack and suddenly all the bots start talking to you.

[00:35:31.033] Andrew Eiche: Yeah, and so we wanted to make sure that also wave wasn't a thing that all of a sudden was going to kick off something unwanted, right? So it's like, in the case that you didn't intend to wave, but it decided that we thought that you waved, that nothing was going to happen. It's like, oh, I'm going to reload a scene on you or something like that. It's essentially asking for something, and so there's no negative thing that rolls out of that.

[00:35:52.208] Kent Bye: Well, it reminds me in the field of artificial intelligence, there's the whole problem of common sense and common sense reasoning, which is a whole layer of context that we have just by being embodied humans in a world where we have all these experiences about how the world works. But those same embodied metaphors are difficult to describe into words all the times for AI. And so It seems like this concept of context and what the context is, are you grabbing your backpack or are you waving? You're kind of doing this context switch where you have to detect that, but also you're setting this in the world of 2060 where these AI simulations are trying to create these embodied experiences for humans and so they have a certain context for what they thought our existing context is for now. And so you have all these different context switches that you're playing with as well. But I'm just curious how you think about that concept of context and how you start to work with it or define it or use it to be able to inspire all sorts of different affordances.

[00:36:53.000] Devin Reimer: A lot of things we say is like, yeah, what would the bots think? Like, well, how would they misinterpret it? Right. We do a lot of like what's the way, if you were a computer, how would you describe this, right, in terms of like memory and processors and things like that, to get that context of like bots from their own perspective, because they're not made of flesh and blood, they're made of like silicon and copper, so we have to start there. And then additionally, we have to like take this step back and say like, okay, imagine you're anthropologically looking at like a previous time, and we actually took the studio on a trip to a living history museum to get them to understand living history because what we are building is functionally a living history game set in 2060 doing living history of the current era, right? And so we took them to like this farm in Texas to learn what, you know, what it was like in the 1800s, but having these people breaking context, right? Because that's what they would do is they would be in character and they'd like, and then you'd ask them a question and then they'd have to like snap and they wouldn't like, What was the joke that we'd say before we went in? It was like, you could take out your cell phone, there wouldn't be like demon box and like, pointing at it. So it like, a lot of our developers hadn't done that. So that was like a really good example of like, us going out there to understand like, living history as a concept is a very similar line. It's like, we're building robotic living history of now.

[00:38:19.221] Kent Bye: That's great. So I'm curious what each of you want to experience in a virtual reality experience.

[00:38:26.654] Andrew Eiche: Yeah, I mean, the thing that I enjoy the most is just kind of experimenting with worlds. And so I think that VR affords going and doing things that you have no ability to do and interacting with them. And so I am just very much in the camp of being given a world and being able to experiment with it. There's nothing, I think, in my opinion, more childlike and more like just that pure joy of, oh, now what does this world afford me to do?

[00:38:51.792] Devin Reimer: And I, yeah, I want to get kind of lost in a place, right? I really like exploring and learning about things and kind of the lore of something. It doesn't need to be like a straight forward linear story, but just kind of VR has this great moment where you are outside of all the distractions of everything. You are in there. The world is completely all encompassing and that is everything to you right now. And so you have this unique opportunity to be there, to capture your complete attention and to actually completely forget. And the way that I think the only other analog in the world is like a casino, where they've built as much as they can to shut out the outside world and then use it for this crazy nefarious purpose. But we can use it for this really amazing thing to really project ourselves into that space. And I think that a lot of what we're doing at Alchemy is helping do that, where you can act on the world without it just being shoot this like the only thing you can do is shoot something is always set.

[00:39:52.637] Andrew Eiche: I would say very much in the early days we talked about like how to achieve presence and then when fully tracked VR came along and I was like oh yeah I can get presence even with a cube in a scene kind of the next level for me is like that I just got so involved in what I'm doing that I forgot about the concept of VR and so like the other day I was doing some testing on We have this ice carving station where you can carve these ice carving things into these puzzles and a lot of our desks and counters have these handles on them you can move them up and down to like whatever height you want and kind of better for your posture but I just took it and I put it all the way on the floor and then I sat cross-legged and I did this puzzle thing for like an hour and it's in the mountain scene and then I was like I kind of like shivered for a moment and then I'm like okay I gotta get up and then I'm like Whoa, and then all of a sudden I had a moment of like, whoa, I have been in this so focused on this that I kind of just forgot that I was also inside of something else. So a lot of that stuff is very fascinating, very enjoyable.

[00:40:50.693] Kent Bye: Well, the other, other fascinating thing about alchemy labs is that you're actually acquired by Google. And so I still think of you as like this sort of autonomous, independent game development company, but you're Google employees to some extent. So like, maybe you could describe to me a little bit of how that interaction works with, as you're working on these different projects, like how is that feeding back into the larger company of Google as a company?

[00:41:16.019] Andrew Eiche: Yeah, when it comes to our relationship with Google, they've given us a lot of freedom just to keep exploring and trying to push VR forward. And so that's what we're doing is we're kind of working on why we're making these humorous games. We're pushing forward interaction, the adoption of VR, and all these things that is very, very important to all of us.

[00:41:36.451] Devin Reimer: Yeah, and I think that when you think of us as autonomous, that's a good way to think of us. We are still churning our own course. Managing our brand and kind of doing things. We just now have the really nice support of a very large company So it you know, we're not it's great to have that backing but in the same sense we are still You know creatively free to be making what we want to make Yeah, and so I'm curious if you could talk about either some of the biggest open problems that you see alchemy is trying to solve or Open questions that you're trying to answer

[00:42:13.206] Andrew Eiche: That's a good one. One of the things that we think about a lot is like, how do we bring more and more people into VR? Our win condition is how do we make all these people that either don't know anything about VR or maybe currently think that VR isn't for them. A lot of things I hear is like, well, I don't play games. I'm not a gamer. Therefore, this is not a thing for me. One of the things we just constantly think about is better ways that we can make sure that everybody realizes that VR is for everyone, and we can do that. And so some of the things that we've been doing on that front, and we're just like, it's not a thing that one day we're like, we did it. It's just constantly this like, we're just keep working through things. We're working on a lot of content creator stuff, because we've discovered a good way to get people in to VR is to kind of show them some interesting things. And like with Let's Players on YouTube, for example, it's like, we've got like a billion views of Job Simulator. And that was a lot of people's like first take into like, what is this VR thing? And it's like, oh, this looks enjoyable. Oh, this looks like something for me. And we're continuing to work through that with Vacation Simulator. We've put the spectator video recorder thing inside the game where it pipes that to the monitor so you can stream that or whatever. And then we also have photos in there where you can put them in the backpack and you put them in a slot that saves them to your pictures folder on your computer so you can share them. And we found that while very few people in the grand scheme of things have VR right now, here's a way that we can start to more bridge that gap so that all these people are starting to become VR literate, they understand what this VR thing is, so that when everything is right for them to get into VR, they realize this is a thing that they should jump on.

[00:43:54.901] Devin Reimer: Yeah, and I think that as far as other big open questions is like we're still exploring that the Wave is a big example of us exploring interaction with characters and those kind of things. We're in such early days in VR that the reason why we're Alchemy Labs is so interaction focused is because if you think about the Atari, which had a joystick and a button, and it was moving up and down, we were still getting our feet under us. So we have the benefit of the really cool graphics technology that that platform didn't, but we also have the curse of it too, where people think, oh, you have all this tech, it should look amazing, but we're still figuring out the base interactions. You know, I think a lot about the birth of that. I think a lot about the birth of mobile games. We think a lot about those kind of things. Whereas very early on, we were all making kind of all these different mistakes and then each person was laying a brick into the wall. And that's kind of what we're trying to do is like see what others are doing and then ourselves trying to put some bricks down on the wall here to help build the interaction paradigms for VR.

[00:44:54.452] Andrew Eiche: And it's just like every game that we do, we end up having this like whole knowledge of like, hey, how did this work? And then kind of like taking the next step. And a lot of things like in Job Simulator, we spent all this time on making throwing and grabbing feel great, right? And then we went into the next thing is like, okay, now we can kind of build on top of that. We don't have to go and reinvent the wheel because we ended up figuring out how to make that work well. And then in Vacation Simulator, like the reaching over your shoulder to grab a backpack and then having an options menu inside there, we went and now we got rid of the need of a menu button on the controller. That was a thing that was in job simulator. We had this tutorial at the start. When you finished everything, it was like, now we need to show you where the menu button is. People are like, I don't know where this menu button is. But now we can eliminate that entirely where people can just like, we teach them that they go like this and pull the backpack and then there's all your menu options when you pull the little zipper. So that's like things that now we're learning that are making our systems more complicated, but for the end user, everything more approachable.

[00:45:55.954] Kent Bye: Great, and finally, what do you each think is the ultimate potential of virtual reality, and what am I able to enable?

[00:46:10.582] Devin Reimer: Well, the first thing is I don't think the ultimate potential is the OASIS. I'm going to go and say that. I think that's kind of a terrifying, I don't think that was meant to be a positive thing, but I do think the connectedness and the presence and the playing together. We talk a lot about communication. You talk about people being able to communicate at different levels. The listeners might not notice, but we're doing a video chat so we can see each other's expressions and things like that, and that helps us communicate. VR is going to help drive a lot of that, but VR through interaction and through exploration and through taking us to worlds, allowing us to do things that we were never able to do, allowing us to see things in ways that we weren't able to see. I think the ultimate potential is like unlocking a little bit more of the universe to more of the masses that was kind of stuck in a lot of people's brains and individual parts.

[00:47:04.017] Andrew Eiche: Yeah. And one thing to kind of add on to that is that for PC, when computers started coming to rise, it allowed people to create lots of crazy different things. But then when mobile came, it ended up allowing way more people to have access to computing. But as a creation device, In a lot of ways, outside of like photos, it's incredibly limiting. And so we ended up taking this population that was like, hey, here's these computers and having limited ways to interact with that. And I think the thing that's most exciting for me when it comes to VR is that now we can kind of take a step in a direction. here's something that I can have all these different actions with, and if we do things right in a very, very intuitive way, like the things that we're asking of players inside Vacation Simulator is mind-boggling if you think of it out of the size of context of VR, right? But here we can have like anybody, we have people come to the studio all the time, it's like, I have no VR experience, it's like, okay.

[00:47:56.784] Devin Reimer: Or even more, I don't play video games at all whatsoever. We had someone who is a, her primary job is as a social worker for sixth graders, right? And so she came in and the most she hears about video games is from her like patients, right? And that's it. Like not even a video game on the phone. And she loved it and she got into that. So it's like we can unlock that potential for populations and for people who would have never even considered gaming or interactive media as an avenue with which they would explore.

[00:48:26.980] Andrew Eiche: Yeah. And people that use traditional PCs take for granted a lot like how Unintuitive a lot of the stuff that we do there is it's like when it comes to like typing on a keyboard It's like yeah, okay I spent a year learning to do that thing and it's like in VR we can end up doing these things to kind of unlock all this and on the games front like one of the biggest mistakes that would ever happened in all the video games was the targeting of a very small niche of a younger white male demographic and ended up cutting out a huge swath of the population for no reason whatsoever. And I'm really hopeful that if we do things right in VR, that we can undo that damage and actually make a platform where people are all playing together.

[00:49:08.872] Kent Bye: Awesome. Is there anything else that's left unsaid that you'd like to say to the immersive community?

[00:49:16.114] Devin Reimer: Just keep on creating. And we want to keep on sharing our knowledge. And I think the rest of the immersive community should keep on sharing theirs. I think that that's the thing that's helped this Edition of vr survive as much as the you know the hardware and the expense and stuff is the community of sharing And things like what you're doing.

[00:49:33.919] Andrew Eiche: Yeah, it's like everybody kind of learning off of everybody's stuff. This is how we kind of move forward That's how early movies move forward. That's how early everything moves forward. It's like let's just build on top of what we've all created

[00:49:45.302] Kent Bye: Awesome. Great. Well, Vacation Simulator comes out on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019. And yeah, encourage people to go check it out. I think it's a continuation of this series from Job Simulator to Rick and Morty and now Vacation Simulator. So Devin and Andrew, just want to thank you for joining me today on the podcast. So thank you. Thanks so much. So that was Devin Reimer, he's the C.E.O.W.L. of Alchemy Labs, as well as Andrew Eicke, he's the C.T.E.O.W.L. of Alchemy. So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that, first of all, there's so many different things about this game that I think is fusing aspects that they've learned in terms of best practices coming from Job Simulator and then Rick and Morty VR. The thing that I get over and over whenever I talk about Alchemy is this emphasis on iteration and trying to do these fast iterations and do lots of playtesting, just the way that they do their voiceovers where they have developers go in and they record something and they are integrating into the game as quickly as possible. They're playtesting it so that by the time they actually sit down with their voice artists to be able to record all the voiceover for the entire game, it's within a month or two of them actually launching and they've been able to actually test it and prove it out quite a bit. And just all the different interactions that they're really trying to first start with building out the world and setting this context where, you know, they've kind of created this speculative future in 2050 and 2060 where robots have taken over, there's no more jobs, and to do what they call this robotic living history of the present moment, of right now. So to kind of project yourself into the future and do this retroactive, like, what would the history look like from a completely different perspective? Which I think is a very interesting way to not only comment on the present moment, but to also imagine what these different things would feel like in the future. And how much of this whole process of creating these interactions and games is so much more of what it's like to actually go on these different adventures where there's a beginning, middle, and end. When you go on vacation, what do you do? Well, the first thing most people do is they check into your hotel room. So just to have that whole experience of having a room that's actually really quite interesting, it's kind of like a whole experience within itself where you could literally spend an hour or two just kind of exploring all the different games and interactions and things that you can do within your hotel room. But then to have the freedom to be able to go into these different worlds, and it sounded like they had originally created this much more gated system where in order to get to one world, you had to complete all the different aspects of each of those worlds. And they had it orchestrated in that way, but then they kind of moved to more of a decentralized architecture that is much more like a vacation where you're able to freely roam around and do all these different things. there's still a larger narrative component or this gamified element of you needing to collect different memories by completing these different tasks. And so they have all these stations that are spaced out across these different worlds, and there's different gates where, you know, there was one gate that I ran into where you had to have at least five memories before you could go and explore there. And so It's just encouraging you to explore and experiment with all of these different interactions, which at first glance you may be like, well, I'm not all that interested. And then you kind of get into it and then figure out what the game element is in order to actually complete some of those tasks. And so the tension that they were trying to resolve, which I think they made explicit between the efficiency bot and like the other hostess vacation bot the balance and battle between this open-ended relaxation kairos time of just do whatever you want but also just to have a little bit more of an intention and a purpose and a goal and to solve different puzzles and to get into the mind of really just trying to win and be competitive in that way and it's really two different states of mind. And I feel like the Vacation Simulator has been architected in a way that I think is going to be able to satisfy both of those different temperaments of allowing you to do this open-ended exploration and to kind of just forget about that there's a whole layer of trying to collect these number memories in order to do these very specific tasks. And, you know, it's also nice to be able to walk around and not feel like you're being bombarded by these stories or narratives when you're not ready for it. The whole mechanic of what they had to do, even just to catalyze and to trigger these interactions with non-player characters, you're just waving at them, which, when you think about it, it's a little bit of like, yeah, you know what that means, and you can interpret that when you do that in real life. But to actually codify that within a VR experience was very similar to what Alchemy Labs had to do when it came to, like, figuring out all the different ways in which people make tea because when they told people to make tea then they would have a whole variety of different ways and philosophies of the order of the steps that people do whenever they make tea and they needed to be able to be robust enough in order to like handle the whole variety of the complexity of how human beings make tea. And that's just something that we all just kind of assume, like, you know, we do it our own way and there's only one way, but just the same waving, it turns out that there's a lot more variability in that embodied interaction than on the surface that you would just imagine. And so being able to have the code to be able to detect a small wrist wave, or just the wrist turn, or the elbow wave, or the shoulder wave, and to do it while you're looking at something, and to have enough of an intention of you not be doing some other task and accidentally having these false positives of triggering these interactions with robots when you weren't intending to do that. So I think there's so many different aspects of the visual component and all these other things that slowly Alchemy Labs is building up this library and repository of these different types of embodied interactions. And these are the types of stuff that are very similar to like common sense reasoning within AI. It's a hard problem because there's all these things that as humans, we just take for granted. But in order to actually start to codify that into technology, it actually takes a lot of work of trying to define things that are very ambiguous and nebulous to actually try to pin down and define. And because of that, you know, there's so many different aspects of just things that we take for granted for common sense that is difficult for computers to be able to do. And so in that same type of way, Alchemy has been building this whole pattern library of embodied interactions and a whole design philosophy for how to engage, interact with these different types of open world explorations where They're trying to build an open world of possibilities, of things that you can go explore, and how to actually motivate and gamify and come up with these variety of different, quote unquote, win conditions, which I think is something that was interesting to hear from Devin of just all the different ways that he thinks about win conditions, both as a game that they're creating, as a company, and also as VR overall as a medium. So I'd really encourage people to check out Vacation Simulator. There's so many other aspects that I learned from this conversation, just the Combinator and the waves and just, you know, taking objects from one place to another, having a whole pseudo computer vision type of System that is able to detect objects and have a whole layer of story and meaning on top of that as well So it's just a lot of really rich aspects to this game and there's just a lot of little silly fun jokes that are embedded all over this world you're kind of embedded into and it's just like this surrealist what is happening with a this world that's created by robots that's projected into the future but into the present moment kind of like this speculative future sci-fi perspective doing a robotic living history of the present moment. So that's all I have for today. And I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast. And if you enjoy the podcast, then please do spread the word, tell your friends. And you know, this is a listener supported podcast. And so I do rely upon my listeners supporting me through donations in order to sustain this type of coverage. And so if you enjoy the podcast and value it as a part of trying to capture this living history of this moment of virtual reality, then please do become a member and support this Patreon at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.

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