However, there's still lots of interesting VR stuff going on at GDC 2017 proper. Today, conference organizers want to quickly remind you about the bumper crop of sessions focused on VR games and tech that are taking place at GDC 2017 and thus still accessible to most GDC passholders.
As of right now there are over 50 VR-focused sessions scheduled for the GDC Main Conference, Summits, Tutorials and Bootcamps. That means you can purchase a GDC All Access Pass and check out cutting-edge VR talks like:
- 'Job Simulator' Postmortem: VR Design, Tech, and Business Lessons Learned - In which the developers of the HTC Vive / PlayStation VR / Oculus Touch launch title Job Simulator will analyze the challenges of building, sharing, shipping, and sustaining cross-platform VR content, with examples showing both successful and less-than-successful design prototypes and how iteration led to the final product.
Additionally, the team will touch on designing, prototyping and iterating on game design, sharing content (YouTube, Twitch, etc), shipping games under significant budget constraints, and overall lessons learned from a tech, design, and production perspective.
- VR Market 2017: Data and Insights - After a long road of hype and false starts, 2016 was the year high-quality consumer VR became a reality. In this talk, EEDAR's Patrick Walker, presents data and insights from the first 12 months of consumer VR and the launch of multiple major VR platforms.
Talk attendees will leave the talk with valuable consumer data and insights that will help them make better business decisions when designing, marketing, and distributing their next project. The data and insights presented will be valuable whether the attendee is an indie developer or an executive at a large publisher.
- 2 Immersive 4 VR: Reinventing 'Rock Band' - Developers have spared no processing power in search of immersive "presence", that white whale of VR. However, Harmonix's experience in working on Rock Band VR shows that the immersive flow state induced by action gameplay can actually inhibit "presence"; how can a player feel present in the moment if they're hyper-focused on responding to visually-oriented, millisecond-sensitive gameplay challenges originally designed for flat screens?
Thus far, most VR experiences have avoided this paradox by eschewing mechanical depth, but Harmonix believes there are other options. This talk provides a framework for evaluating the trade-offs between mechanical depth and presence while discussing how Harmonix reinvented the classic Rock Band franchise in order to resolve this implicit tension in VR by utilizing other sensory channels and somatic cognitive processes.
- Higher Res Without Sacrificing Quality, plus Other Lessons from 'PlayStation VR Worlds' - Rendering for VR puts a premium on efficiency and reliability, as failure to render each eye's image in 8.3 milliseconds causes stuttering and risks nausea for the player. This talk goes into detail on the numerous low-level and high-level optimizations implemented to achieve this for PlayStation VR Worlds, a title that targeted state of the art graphical techniques and VR-leading visuals.
Although the work targeted VR on PlayStation, most of the findings are relevant to non-VR games and indeed other platforms. As the graphics team was small (3 programmers), the team needed to minimize the time spent on crashes, glitches and performance issues. The talk will also describe some of the low-level tricks used to limit this wasted time, using run-time validation, CPU-side shader debugging and performance profiling.
For more details on these and other great talks taking place at GDC 2017, head over to the conference Session Scheduler!