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Developers interested in charting a course through the new frontier of virtual reality game design would be wise to look for advice from trailblazers at the 2015 Game Developers Conference, where a variety of sessions will be offered on all aspects of VR development.
Among them will be John Carmack, CTO of Oculus VR and co-founder of id Software, speaking about "The Dawn of Mobile VR" on Wednesday, March 4th for at least an hour and a half (and probably longer) at GDC 2015.
Attendees will have the chance to hear Carmack discuss the technical details of making mobile VR a reality; techniques and strategies for maximizing the quality of your VR games, applications, and experiences; and thoughts about the future of VR, including what it means for the mobile ecosystem.
In "Virtual Visuals: Key Lessons For Artists Working With VR" Sony's Jason Hickey will walk you through the experience of an art department going through change and readying itself to tackle VR development (for Project Morpheus, in Hickey's case.) The talk focuses on what experienced game artists have found to be possible with the visual direction of VR games, and which aspects become most important.
Plus, Valve engineer Alex Vlachos will share VR design lessons Valve learned from getting a headstart on head-mounted display game development in his "Advanced VR Rendering" talk. Vlachos says Valve gamed a ton of VR-specific rendering knowledge "that we'd like to share with developers who are actively working on VR or plan to in the near future," and that's exactly what he intends to do during the hour-long session.
Also, a number of GDC 2015 Summit sessions will address VR game development from some intriguing angles.
The "Written On Your Eyeballs: Game Narrative in VR" session of the Game Narrative Summit will feature Rob Morgan (a lauded writer and narrative designer who's worked on a variety of AR/VR projects, including Gunner for Gear VR (pictured) and collaborating with J.K. Rowling on the narrative design of Wonderbook augmented reality games in the Harry Potter franchise) exploring how common game mechanics and storytelling techniques can be adapted to virtual reality.
As part of the Smartphone & Tablet Games Summit, Robot Invader chief taskmaster Chris Pruett will discuss the challenges and benefits of targeting mobile VR platforms, and discuss in detail how mobile developers can approach this new platform, in a talk entitled "Designing for Mobile VR in Dead Secret."
Plus, a bunch of forward-thinking indie game makers will share what they've learned about making VR games in a panel session of the Indie Games Summit titled "VR For Indies."
Finally, a few notable sponsored sessions are worth making time for to hear VR design advice from the people building the hardware.
In "Beyond Immersion - Project Morpheus and PlayStation" a trio of Sony Computer Entertainment engineers and designers will share new information about creative opportunities when designing VR experiences for PS4, including: updated game design information, the use of PlayStation peripherals in VR, and the unique social experiences possible with Project Morpheus.
Nvidia engineer Nathan Reed will demonstrate how developers can use NVIDIA GPUs and VR Direct to improve the gaming experience on the Oculus Rift (and other VR headsets) in "VR Direct: How Nvidia Technology is Improving the VR Experience."
AMD will also have a sponsored session on VR development titled "Low Latency and Stutter-Free Rendering in VR and Graphics Applications" led by AMD's Layla Mah, who will provide a detailed explanation with before/after metrics of several mechanisms by which graphics engine developers can dramatically reduce both actual and perceived latency and "stuttering" in graphics and virtual reality applications running on modern GPUs.
Further details on these and many more announced talks are available now in the online GDC 2015 Session Scheduler, where you can begin to plan out your conference week and later export it to the up-to-the-minute GDC Mobile App, coming soon.
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