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Explore virtual and augmented reality in game development including design, production, programming, and visual art. Gain inspiration from exciting, current work in game VR and skills to build your own.

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2017 HIGHLIGHTED SESSIONS

Sources of Inspiration for Approaching Accessibility in VR
Hannah Gillis (ILMxLAB)
Ben Peck (ILMxLAB)
The focus of this talk is to have a conversation within the VR development community regarding accessibility and openly share lessons learned, and areas for improvement. Novel challenges to accessibility in VR projects are introduced, using the public demonstration of 'Trials on Tatooine' at the Star Wars Celebration 2016 convention as a real-world example. Attendees are given a survey of architecture, theme park design, and film set design, outlining their conceptual approach to accessibility and universal design, along with examples of what this means in practice, providing them with new resources for inspiration and insights.
Spatial Storytelling Lessons from 'Job Simulator' and 'Rick and Morty VR'
Alex Schwartz (Owlchemy Labs)
Devin Reimer (Owlchemy Labs)
Telling stories and interacting with characters in VR is a deep challenge with little precedent and many ways to ruin the illusion for players. Characters need to be able to interrupt one another seamlessly, avoid staring and awkward expressions, and character interactions need to work properly for players of any height, to name just a few. Owlchemy Labs shares tips to avoid uncanny valley, increase empathy with character interactions, and cover gobs of actionable lessons learned through the development of VR titles 'Job Simulator' and 'Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality'.
The Sound Design of 'Star Wars: Battlefront VR'
Jay Steen (Criterion Games)
The 'Star Wars: Battlefront Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission' puts the player right at the center of the sound of Star Wars, and this talk shows how Criterion Games approached adapting the sound of Battlefront to VR. It covers giving the player a self-voice, creating a sense of scale and wonder, enhancing presence and interactivity in an X-Wing cockpit, how fully spatialized sound can make combat feel tangible and dangerous, using iconic music in VR, and how Criterion stayed true to the sound of 'Battlefront' whilst adapting it to a new medium.
Creating Mixed Reality Trailers and Livestreams
Kert Gartner (kertgartner.com)
Colin Northway (Northway Games)
You've said it yourself: "you have to try VR to understand it". Being in VR is so different that it's hard to communicate the experience with traditional media. Translating the feeling of being in a fully interactive virtual environment into a compelling 2D video people watch on their phone is a complicated problem. Mixed reality shows a player inside your game and is the best way to convey what it's like to be inside VR. Learn how Kert and Colin created the mixed reality livestreams and trailers for Fantastic Contraption and how they solved many VR specific post-production problems along the way.

GAME VR/AR TRACK ADVISORS

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Robin Hunicke
Funomena
 
Robin Hunicke is a Game Designer & Co-Founder at Funomena - an independent game studio making unique VR, AR & console games in the heart of San Francisco (Luna, WOORLD & Wattam). A computer scientist by training, she has been designing & making games for over 12 years (Journey, Boom Blox, MySims, TheSims2). She is co-curator of the annual GDC Experimental Gameplay Workshop, a member of the VRDC advisory board, and the PlaySFMOMA advisory board.

Robin teaches the MDA theory of game design at UC Santa Cruz, where she is an Associate Professor in the Digital Arts & New Media MFA program, and Director of the Art, Games & Playable Media BA program. Through her creative, entrepreneurial and academic work, she strives to expand the diversity of practices & participants within our community.
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Alex Schwartz
Owlchemy Labs
 
Alex Schwartz is the CEO and Janitor of VR studio Owlchemy Labs, creators of the HTC Vive, Oculus Touch, and PlayStation VR triple-platform launch title 'Job Simulator' and 'Rick and Morty VR'. As one of the first studios to dive head-first into the VR space, Owlchemy Labs' efforts have resulted in some of the top played VR content in the world, earning them a Sundance Nomination for Job Simulator as well as the opportunity to ship inside the box with the HTC Vive. As co-founder of the VR Austin group, Alex plays an active role in the gaming and VR community by speaking around the world, organizing events, and smoking various exotic meats down in Austin, TX.
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Dan Hurd
Playful Corp
 
A crude homunculus, stitched together from assorted debris, Dan Hurd pantomimes his designs (with gnarled driftwood hands) for the Lucky's Tale and Creativerse teams. They pretend to know what he's saying and nod out of horror more than anything else. Dan has previously worked on several With Friends games, notably Hanging, Matching, and Gems, but he only designed the cool parts that you like, and none of the bad parts. <3
Colin Northway
Northway Games
 
Colin Northway makes games with his wife Sarah. They spent the previous five years traveling full-time while making games. While on the road they made Incredipede, Deep Under the Sky and the Rebuild series. They are currently living in Vancouver and working on Fantastic Contraption for VR with Radial Games.