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VR devs need to unlearn unspoken game dev rules, says Oculus exec

VR devs need to unlearn unspoken game dev rules, says Oculus exec

December 6, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon

December 6, 2017 | By Alissa McAloon
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More: VR, Design

"Sometimes people don’t understand how specific an IP is to the hardware it’s been made for."

- Jason Rubin explains how developing with specific platforms in mind can benefit game development.

While established game franchises and familiar brands could have a lot of potential on virtual reality platforms, Oculus VR of Content Jason Rubin argues that those prevalent series need an extra level of developer awareness to perform well in VR.

Speaking to VR Focus, Rubin explained that the biggest obstacle standing in the way of big franchises looking to make the VR jump can be their own established mechanics. Though his comments were made on the topic of large game franchises, there's wisdom in his words for game developers that might be moving into VR development for the first time as well.

He notes that some games, like Elite Dangerous or EVE Valkyrie, have been able to translate non-VR mechanics over to virtual reality with some success, but Rubin says these titles are the exception, not the rule. Instead, VR developers, especially those involved in established franchises, need to fight their instincts in a way and develop VR games entirely from the ground up to best embrace VR. 

"If you’re taking a third person character action game let’s say, or you’re even taking a first-person character action game… the way that you build those titles and the things you do in those titles are a rule set that’s been developed over decades in the game industry," says Rubin. "We don’t think about it, but it’s actually a language we use to speak to the gamer, they’re very fixed. You can’t translate that language into VR very easily. If you take a Call of Duty and just put it in VR it won’t work very well. People won’t feel comfortable with the locomotion. It just doesn’t work.”

Rubin offers up Crash Bandicoot as an example. He says that, unbeknownst to many, several of the most iconic parts of that game are owed to the unique limitations of the platform it first launched on. Similarly, he says that VR developers need to be aware of the platform they're developing for, and that the best way to do so is by building the platform's leading titles to be "something built from the ground up for VR."

Catch more from Rubin on the topic of VR development in the full story on VRFocus

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