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The Top 25 Things We Learned At VRWC

The Top 25 Things We Learned At VRWC

VR World Congress returned to Bristol, UK between the 11th and 13th of April – and we were there from start to finish, furiously taking notes to share with you, loyal reader.

We learned many things in our three days on Bristol’s waterside, from the implications of social VR and how Hollywood actors see VR, to profitability strategies for indie devs and one way to minimise motion sickness.

We’ll follow up with longer articles over the next few days, but for now we present the Top 25 things we learned at VRWC...

Delegates queuing to get started at VRWC 2017.

Click here to view the list »
  • 1 Locomotion

    Cooperative Innovations’ Director, Simon Barratt, revealed that the team worked on 22 different locomotion systems during the development of their forthcoming social VR game, Raiders of Erda.

    Cooperative Innovations’ Director, Simon Barrett at VRWC.
     

  • 2 Personal Space Harassment

    Personal space harassment will be a concern in social VR, requiring new solutions, according to Simon Barratt. Options could include a ‘personal bubble’, muting options, and different trust settings for friends and strangers.


  • 3 Assassins Creed Experience

    In his day one keynote, AMD’s Corporate VP, Roy Taylor, revealed that the Assassins Creed Experience tour of last December gave 20,000 people in six locations a taste of VR.

    2,318 of them said they would pay for such an experience.

    AMD’s Corporate VP, Roy Taylor, at VRWC 2017.

  • 4 Ghost In The Shell

    Solomon Rogers shared the anecdote that when star Scarlett Johansson tried Ghost In The Shell in VR, she said that she felt like she was back on set. REWIND is now creating 'longform' VR content.

    REWIND's Solomon Rogers at VRWC 2017.

  • 5 HoloLens

    Mike Taulty and Peter Daukintis of Microsoft described HoloLens as a Universal Windows Platform saying, “it's a Windows 10 PC”.

    Mike Taulty and Peter Daukintis of Microsoft at VRWC 2017.

  • 6 Free Hololens Emulator

    The free Hololens emulator means you can develop without the expensive hardware. There are also free video tutorials and Holo toolkit software at the Holographic Academy


  • 7 Vive Is More Than A Headset

    HTC’s product lead for VR in Europe, Graham Breen, said that, “Vive is more than a headset; it's a marketplace, content and accelerator.”

    HTC’s product lead for VR in Europe, Graham Breen at VRWC 2017.

  • 8 Viveport

    HTC doesn’t view Viveport as a competitor to Steam. Breen said that it, “Stands for what's outside of gaming... Steam is already the home of the PC gamer.”


  • 9 AAA VR Games

    AAA VR games are on the way, according to HTC Vive's Breen.


  • 10 ViveX For Europe

    HTC confirms it is 'looking into' extending its ViveX accelerator scheme to Europe, joining established programs in Asia and San Francisco.


  • 11 Narrative In VR

    360 video storyteller, Sarah Jones, said of narrative in VR, “We need to be magicians and put our faith in the audience. Allow them to explore the space. Be a spacemaker.”


  • 12 AR and VR Allow Us To Be Gods

    Being a magician wasn’t enough for Ed Miller of Scape AR who said, “If technology allows us to be magicians, AR and VR allows us to be gods.”

    Ed Miller of Scape AR at VRWC.

  • 13 Go Multiplatform

    The key to profitability for VR indie devs is to go multi-platform, according to Daniel Kihlgren Kallander of SVRVIVE Studios. Their next project will be available on Vive, Rift and PS VR.

    Daniel Kihlgren Kallander of SVRVIVE Studios at VRWC.

  • 14 Ethics In VR

    Michael Madary, co-author of The First Code of Conduct for Research and Consumer Use of Virtual Reality, predicts new ethical quandaries ahead for VR. With research showing that experiences in VR can have a lasting effect on behaviour, what are the psychological effects of body swapping, interacting with avatars of the deceased, virtual sex and violence?

    He says, “It is time to focus on ethical innovation.”


  • 15 WebVR

    Amir-Esmaeil Bozorgzadeh, co-founder at Virtuleap, said that WebVR could become an extension of the internet. He believes this is where VR will go mainstream saying, “Forget walled gardens. Embrace the forest. Start where there's billions of users.”


  • 16 WebVR On A Flatscreen

    The WebVR panel echoed Bozorgzadeh’s predictions for a broader audience, as depending on your definition of VR, WebVR can be accessed on a flatscreen. So your ‘potential audience is anyone with a smartphone’.

    The WebVR panel at VRWC.

  • 17 Fantastic Beasts Before Daydream

    Resh Sidhu of Framestore spoke about the development of their movie tie-in, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. The studio started work on the Daydream exclusive before the hardware was available, so they did prototyping using Google Cardboard and a second handset as a controller.

    Resh Sidhu of Framestore at VRWC.

  • 18 Fantastic Beasts Models

    The creatures featured in Fantastic Beasts VR used simplified models from the film, customised for VR as pre-rendered video cards placed in 360 environments. 


  • 19 Eddie Redmayne On Fantastic Beasts

    When Eddie Redmayne first used Fantastic Beasts in VR he said, "I'll have to get myself one of these!” Filming was done using green screen technology, so Redmayne simply had to imagine the creatures he shared screen time with. After encountering them in VR he said, “This is the first time I've seen them and I feel like I've been with them."

    Sidhu added, “We've brought the audience closer to these beasts than the actors have been”. 


  • 20 User First

    Where should developers start when creating for VR? According to Sidhu, “Put the user first, not your brand message and not what you think would be cool”.


  • 21 Start Again

    In the panel on Survival Tips For VR Studios And Devs, James Valls from British veteran game developers, Rebellion, advised games devs getting into VR should, “Take everything away that you think you know about making games and start again.”

    The Survival Tips panel at VRWC.

  • 22 Working Out Ways Of Engaging

    Liz Biggs of filmmakers Alchemy VR picked up on Valls’ comment, saying that holds true for media in VR beyond games. She, “Had to throw away everything I've learned about making films and work out ways of engaging that doesn't feel like a second rate film.”


  • 23 Prioritise Frame Rates

    Valls also shared the insight that the development cycle for VR at Rebellion turned their workflow upside-down saying, “We would normally get the game developed, then spend a couple of months optimising frame rates, but it's almost the opposite in VR.”


  • 24 Motion Sickness Solutions

    One potential cure for the ever-present spectre of motion sickness in VR is a fixed horizon. Valls revealed that for Battlezone, Rebellion, “Spent a long time struggling with a tilting horizon as you move. It was only when we locked the horizon that it made sense”.

    Psytec’s Jon Hibbins concurred, adding that their multi-platform game Windlands has no horizon at all.


  • 25 VR's Definitely Going Somewhere

    Biggs summed up the enthusiasm shared by many working in VR today when she said, “It's not clear where the industry's going, but it's definitely going somewhere”.

    Valls added that, “For creators, it's the most exciting new medium in years.”


Editor

Steve has been a games journalist on and off since the first PlayStation made games ‘cool’, but he’s never forgotten the thrill of finding a Space Invaders machine in the wild. Neuromancer is one of his favourite books and The Matrix is one of his favourite movies, so he’s been ready for VR all his life.

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