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'Are you interested in making a VR game? Why?'
'Are you interested in making a VR game? Why?'
August 1, 2014 | By Christian Nutt

The Oculus Rift DK2 is now shipping to developers, so it's once again a good moment to consider: Is it time to make a virtual reality game?

VR has had strong support from the game development community, with public advocates big and small; triple-A establishment names (like John Carmack, who ultimately left id to work at Oculus) and tiny indies have equally embraced the VR opportunity.

All the same, it's an open question of whether it's going to be viable, or if the opportunity it brings to the table is interesting. That's what we wanted to hear about, and you responded.

Remember, if you're interested in participating in these conversations in the future, make sure to follow @Gamasutra on Twitter. The questions usually go out on Fridays in the late morning, Pacific time, alongside Tweets of our regular news, blogs, and original writing.

And if you want more on Oculus DK2 development, you can read our interview with Oculus' chief software architect Michael Antonov on its new SDK, or read this post by independent developer Sergio Hidalgo on what you can expect developing for DK2.

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George Menhal III
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In a lot of ways, I'm lucky, because I'm determined that my first game will be a VR experience. I've been practicing and working with Unreal Engine 4 a bunch within the last few months, and I was quick to order the Oculus DK2 so I will probably be getting it in the mail soon.

But what I mean is that I have all these ideas, and walking into a VR production blind could either go very wrong or mostly right. I'm hoping that my overall inexperience will help me, and not the other way around. Not always, but sometimes veteran developers suffer because they've solved the same problems over and over to the point of losing a bit of creativity. And that's not a criticism, just an observation.

I feel that a young mind will be needed to either intentionally or accidentally bring forth the true potential of VR, which itself is a young technology.

Kujel Selsuru
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I'm not interested in doing VR cause it doesn't really make games better and adds more work, plus strategy games are just fine in 2D :)

Stephen Korrick
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There are indeed a lot of genres that would only gain restrictions from current VR, which is why I'm a bit hesitant about it. The only games I can think of that would truly benefit would be cockpit-based games and maybe some kind of tailored puzzle games.

For everything else, locking the camera controls to the user's face greatly limits how the player can orient themselves in a virtual world. I have a hard time imagining free-moving avatar-based games working well in VR, since turning around while sitting or tethered to a cable is hugely problematic. It could work paired with something like the Omni, though.

Fabian Fischer
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Well put, couldn't agree more. VR is nothing but a spectacular toy in the end.

Another (similar yet different) way of looking at it:

Luis Guimaraes
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The funny thing is we're making a first person horror game...

David Lin
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Oh mean real life horror movie lol

Jonathan Murphy
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I want to create, "Puke Simulator 5000." You may call me crazy. But you underestimate human curiosity. I'm going to need a tester, and a written contract that prevents people from suing me.

Aiden Eades
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I can't help but envisage an arcade shooter style of game being a good contender for this kind of system. Using the head tracking to check when you're ducked in cover and popping out, while using a light gun as the controller. The only problem being it'd be on rails taking away from the immersion.

The other thing I'd like to see is a mech cockpit game. Steel battalion for example could be amazing in a VR world, but then the limiting factor would be how will you see the controls in front of you? You'd need some kind of zero latency camera mapping your hands irl to the virtual controls, which would need to be mapped almost exactly where the real controls are to prevent problems.

James Coote
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Developers drool over "so much potential" before proceeding to only make games with VR, and mostly just remakes of existing games at that. This is where lack of interconnectedness with other industries hurts, as we're not going out and talking to healthcare professionals or petrochemicals engineers and finding out what problems we can solve for them. As a result, the industrial applications are likely to take longer to emerge and it probably won't be games companies who benefit. It'll be like mobile all over again, where "real" game developers are too busy focusing on making products for a few million "real" gamers, leaving things wide open for those companies who are not so precious.

VR leaves me cold because I've seen a number of different gaming technologies with similar 'potential' fail to take off due in large part to a failure of imagination on behalf of developers. Wearables, AR, Second Screens is all a bit meh, but VR is great because I can just drop it into the game I was going to make anyway!

The other thing that irks me is the technological perfectionism. If the experience is less than compelling on a DK1, improving latency or screen resolution isn't going to magically improve things.