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How to build a better VR game
How to build a better VR game
March 26, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

Building virtual reality experiences is tricky business, and the game industry's body of knowledge about the topic is rapidly expanding as developers muck around with with prototype hardware.

It's no longer all about the Oculus Rift, either -- Sony is garnering a good bit of positive press in response to its recently-unveiled Project Morpheus VR headset prototype, due in part to the even-more-recently-announced $2.3 billion acquisition of Oculus VR by Facebook.

Suddenly, VR development is a hot issue. But here's the thing -- Gamasutra made a concerted effort to dig deeper into the topic last year as part of an Advanced I/O theme week, and ever since then we've been steadily curating VR-focused articles on our VR hub.

What started out as a few notable stories from a week about VR, biofeedback and other neat advanced game I/O tech has blossomed into a decent repository of informative news stories, opinion pieces, feature reports and developer blogs about VR game development.

With that in mind, we've taken the liberty of highlighting a few stories that might be of use to anyone developing their own VR experience.

Video: Oculus co-founders on VR's biggest challenges - In this free GDC Vault video from GDC Europe 2013, Oculus VR co-founders Palmer Luckey and Nate Mitchell discuss considerations that developers should make in creating VR games and hurdles they will need to overcome.

Some of those biggest hurdles, Mitchell explains, are user interface, simulator sickness, and latency. Additionally, Luckey remind developers that "Pre-cut sequences [don't work], because that's going to remind the user that they're not really inside a virtual world."

Chasing the 'Holy Grail' of the video game holodeck - Gamasutra EIC Kris Graft's feature on full-body virtual world simulation tech includes some helpful advice from students building VR experiences as part of USC's Advanced Games Program.

One of the best tips? Put your best assets at eye level. "The closer an object is to a player's face, the greater the sensation of depth and parallax," producer James Iliff told Gamasutra. "Make weapons as juicy as possible, and assuming you are using motion controls, have players manually reload their guns with new clips."

Bringing VR to life - Oculus' Peter Giokaris, who leads up its VR/Unity integration, shares the five most important things developers of VR games should keep in mind in this Gamasutra blog post. There's a lot of good information here on how to address latency, simulator sickness and the like.

Peering into the future of augmented reality games - Okay, this feature about the future of augmented reality and wearable tech covers ground above and beyond virtual reality, but it does include a bunch of interesting insight from developers who are working out how to create cool games for stuff you strap to your face.

Lessons from the VR field - Gamasutra member Sebastien Kuntz is the founder of VR middleware company I'm in VR, and in this blog post he outlines his experiences testing various VR systems to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of VR experiences. He also advises VR developers to design simple, austere experiences to minimize the chance that players will be distracted or nauseated by visual inconsistencies in complex VR environments.

Steam Dev Days: VR Update - This Gamasutra blog post from E McNeill, developer of the upcoming cyberpunk hacking VR game Darknet, sums up some of what McNeill learned about VR development while attending Steam's Dev Days developer conference earlier this year.

McNeill highlights the ongoing value of Oculus' VR Best Practices dev guide and shares some VR development advice from Dev Day speakers like Michael Abrash and Palmer Luckey, including that VR is best suited to first-person games and those that revolve around small, highly-detailed handheld objects -- virtual board games, for example.

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