IamA Oculus Rift (Virtual Reality) Game Developer AMA!
My short bio: Jon Hibbins has over 25 years of experience designing and writing games and enterprise business software. His first published game “Squigs” appeared in the Amiga Power Magazine on the September 1993 coverdisk which has also recently been updated and released on the IOS platform. He released one of the first ever HTML editors, Enhanced HTML, has developed a successful and growing bucket list social network, PopClogs, and is CTO for iVPlatform, a world leading digital voucher company. He is now excited to be working on the cutting edge of virtual reality design projects. My Proof: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crystalrift/crystal-rift-grid-based-dungeon-crawler If you have a Steam account please upvote our Game at Steam Greenlight : http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/stats/327390946
VR needs cash to make it happen, i was happy to see them receive money, I also think having a big brother/sister will be good in many way's, we are lucky enough to have visited Oculus at Facebook they have employed great people. After trying a few 'virtual chat rooms' I am convinced it's the next Skype/IM/DM but it's not quite ready yet, I hope we see many bigger company's committing to VR to help make great content because Facebook are backing it.
How much did you pay Southpark?
My favourite line was "It's pretty cool, but the Graphics Suck", it's great exposure for VR all be it tongue in cheek
Just my TV licence fee
Two Questions. One, have you ever read "Ready Player One" by Cline?
Two, have you played Fallout New Vegas (Or 1, 2, or 3)?
Yes I have read "Ready Player One", and no not played Fallout series, should I?
Ok then, i'll check it out
Fallout is the best game series I've ever played in my life. If you like point and click, play 1 and 2, if you prefer first person, play 3 and new vegas. In my opinion, NV is better than 3, but you should still play 3 first, because it sets up a lot of gameplay aspects that improve in new vegas.
What did you think of Ready Player One? Did you read it before making oculus? That book is what made me interested in your project in the first place.
Fallout is on my list now, I will play it, I really Enjoyed "Ready Player One", I didn't make the Oculus (just games for it), I started it after I had received my development kit and think it's wonderful
Is it possible that VR could turn into a cat burglar's dream when it comes to casing a joint?
Yes, but no worse than camera's are today
Do you think Oculus Rift - virtual reality gaming- will be the future of gaming or be a short lived trend?
I am convinced gaming in VR is WAY better than 2D, I have had the headset for many months now and am a gamer, I can't play Elite Dangerous in 2D, it's miles away from being in the cockpit in full 3D, same for racing car games, other games are a bit hit and miss, First Person Shooters (twitch based stuff) are too fast for VR, it's like running at 70mph, but they will evolve, with Console VR on the way, I imaging most games will have first person (GTA V as an example with it's new 1st person mode), Short answer is VR blows 2D out of the water for me, there is no going back
What do you mean when you say that twitch based games are too fast for VR?
Anything that requires very fast speed with running and aiming (Twitch is a term for thumb movement in games like COD etc)
Sorry, I didn't phrase my question properly, what I meant is why do you say that twitch based games are too fast for VR?
Any movement that your head does not believe can induce sickness, I believe your body feels as though it's being poisoned and begins to defend it's self, so extreme turning and speeds left to right/up down (not so much forwards because of perspective) induce sickness, also anything that takes over your body without you feeling rooted to something such as a cockpit also make your body react, all of these issues are well known, so design and hardware can compensate
Thanks! Any proposed solutions?
Faster GPU's, auto adjusting IPD, better headsets, true light ray support, VR direct support in GPU's, more research and well coded experiences
I also want to know this. Will we be playing Elder Scrolls 7 through infinity in first person or will this have a Rock Band shelf-life?
VR is, at last, here, how could we possibly go back to a world without VR, I had the same feeling when I first used the internet (through a bulletin board when web browsers didn't have image support! and searches were done with the Gopher protocol), it's here, it's staying, it's early, but it will mature every day from here on in, all current screen tech will become legacy hardware as useful as a tape cassette or punch card, after all the internet's not that old
I want to believe. I haven't got to use a Rift yet, but I dream of it.
Other developers demo all the time, find a demo near you on Meetup or an Events calendar or major show and try one, you are likely to be blown away, most people are, even after months putting on the headset and entering a new worlds dose not lose its wow
What other uses can Oculus be used aside from gaming? Looking for ideas for my thesis. Anyways what's your comfort food?
Just imagine anything and it is likely to happen, want to make out with an Alien - Check, Toilet Simulator - Check (the list is too big), gaming is cool, but so is a 100foot cinema screen, a lesson on the universe and a drive round a track at 150mph... on the serious side here's a quick list, Shopping, Chat Rooms, Experiences, Virtual Tours, Skype, Movies, Programming, Web Browsing, Fitness, Psychology, Space Trips, Rehabilitation, Teaching, Reading, Business Training, Driving Lessons, Simulators, Theatre, TV.
My comfort food is Macaroons
how long did you have an Oculus Rift before you saw a naked VR lady on it?
Was waiting for this question, I have not watched any naked stuff, I'm very happily married, I fear it would be quite real and too close to Infidelity for my comfort
Can you give me a Devkit?
I can offer demo's i'm at VR Brighton UK, VR in a Bar and EGX Rezed 2015
So now an actual question. Are you seeing a trend towards games being VR compatible?
Yes, I am, but VR last worries me, games should be built with VR in mind all the way through their development to work well in VR, VR Requires a significant change in design philosophy
What did you think of the Virtual-Boy?
Poor, too many issues to list, most have been addressed with faster GPU/CPU's very low latency and Mobile technology driving costs and technology smaller
How do you feel about the godfather of 3d shooters, John Carmack, is now essentially a Facebook employee?
John Carmack is obviously a legend and I love that he continues to give, it's his choice where he work's i'm sure
What do you think of the Samsung Gear VR?
It's far better than I imagined, it's screen is nice, it offers great movement freedom and it runs really well, I really expected to be disappointed but i'm not
I've seen the demo for OR and it's unbelievable. I really felt like I was inside your digitally created world and it actually made me view reality in a different way - or rather the SAME way but with better graphics.
That being said, the morning I used OR was after a heavy night of drinking and was a precursor to a 90 minute car ride. The OR proved to be surprisingly disorienting for almost an hour after use and, to say the least, did nothing to improve my hangover.
My question is If OR becomes widely used, what kind of health warnings will you be required to issue, if any? And are these different than if you weren't required to put out anything?
TL;DR Oculus Rift is amazing but does not mix with alcohol.
A good lesson for us all I think
Have you read the book "Ready Player One"? It's a book based in the near future mostly set in a virtual reality video game world, seems like something right up your alley.
Yes I have, one of the most enjoyable books i've read (I do read), probably because I was born in 75, knew all the references and it's about a world where VR is most peoples pass time
Have you ever gotten motion sick while developing?
Yes, i'm afraid so, in fact while developing I sometimes make performance issues which cause nausea, I mitigate this by just holding up to my eyes for small amounts of time to test things
What sort of programming languages do you utilize for creating software on the occulus rift?
C# for Unity, Oculus supply a C++ API kit if you wish to code directly or UE4 is another option
What would you say is the biggest challenge you've had while using a language such as C#? C++ is a whole other story in itself xD
understanding methods in C# (or C++/Objective C) is the easy bit, learning design patterns and using them well is the challenge, books that teach a language in 24 hours do not teach you many years worth of lessons you need to learn, and OO coding is all about plugging it all together well.
What would you say took the longest to "click" for you in regards to C#/OOP in general?
I'm just wondering as I'm beginning a career in OOP (C# for the web) and want to see what someone in the industry thinks of it.
A little off topic, but I would not recommend C# for the web, go the PHP route (I have done both and many years of each), both are good but C# is a steeper learning curve to start and PHP has a better web adoption, I think that good developers can swap languages very quickly
I know that this is currently fiction but,do you think it would be possible for people to actually get inside the game by inserting a micro chip in their brains or something like that ?
At some point we or our inventions (neural computers or something similar) will understand brain messages well enough to emulate them, so of course this may be possible, it's likely to start with Haptic feedback before vision P.S I know someone with an NFC chip in their hand, that's strange but cool.
At that point we get into the philosophy of reality. (Matrix, vindaloop, inception) poses a lot of interesting questions...
We should start that debate now, we are on a path to it sooner than you think, with the internet, having a headset on and spending all day jumping in and out of content is very close to being real, worlds can already be streamed, it's just the next step
How is that facebook dough rolling in?
I believe the deal was $400m in cash plus 23.1m Facebook shares, sounds a-lot unless you plan to build the world's leading VR headset and launch globally, i'm sure they will need it
How long do you think it will be until Oculus is more commercially available and the price drops?
How long can we expect it to be before Oculus will ever have less powerful system requirements?
I hope for CV1 (commercial release) in Sumer 2015, Oculus are not committing and i'm happy with that, i'd rather it's an amazing product than rush it and fail to get mass adoption
I think the system requirements will remain high and get higher, simply having faster hardware makes more detail (as it has for years in 2D) essentially your video card does double the work (2 eyes) so it's performance is cut in half, we also need a PERFECT (not even 1 frame drop) 75hz performance, so if you can run in good settings at 150 fps with out ever dropping a frame, your all good, unless they move to 90hz (180+) or the idea of 120hz in 4k (240 fps in 4k) ... etc, VR will push Video cards much further in the next decade
Thanks for all your great Questions, I really enjoyed answering them and hope I have shed some light on Virtual Reality and how it will change our world.
If you have a Steam account please upvote our Game at Steam Greenlight (Your Awesome Thank You!) : http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/stats/327390946
If your interested in backing the game (Crystal Rift) we are currently running a Kickstarter and pledges start from a few Dollars : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crystalrift/crystal-rift-grid-based-dungeon-crawler
You all Rock !!!,
P.S i'll keep an eye on this post and answer when I can
Is there an advantage of being physically fit when it comes to VR gaming?
Most people play and will play sat down in a chair, I personally thing waving Wii U remotes around is a pain and too much physical energy will be a put off, but others feel different (fitter people?), almost all games and demo's I've played work great, and the headset is already light enough and will get lighter, it's no worse than a good headset, games are likely to be anything and everything, so I imaging running, extreme sports, bicycling etc are all going to be great fun (I have played and seen these), VR will be a great way to hike a mountain and bike a route without being their, I imagine fitness machines will evolve to have data sent to personal VR headsets
I personally think VR will revolutionize health clubs and profits on memberships will be exponential, until it's cheap enough to have the full setup at home, which is what I plan to do.
Agree, health club VR is a good use at some point, training simulators will be great
Have programs been made to simulate Surgery's for doctors in training?
I have used Surgeon Simulator with it (and said hello at their offices) but joking aside, people are of course studying this use, it will be a great way todo robot surgery at some point i'm sure.
Love the OR, I've used it before and its awesome!
My question: Do you talk about yourself in 3rd person? :P
All the time, VR can mess you up a-little, it's amazing how it can play with your perspective, it's defiantly added value to my life
Do you think PT (Silent Hills teaser) was developed with Oculus Rift or VR in mind?
VR can be terrifying, I played Alien Isolation a few times and it's too scary for me (I have watch lots of horror movies without any effects) my heartbeat increases, hairs on end, and I experienced frozen terror, I haven't played it since. p.s if I ever was killed by an Alien, i'd crouch cover my face and wait to die.
I don't want a heart attack
One day this will be in the news i'm sure, but people sadly have heat attacks in lot's of situations, VR is just another
answered above in flatcap_monty post, it's all good with me
A bit late here, but I'll take my chances :) I can't see too many questions about your game, but that's what I'm curious about, here goes.
How will the actual editor work, will it have several modes so it can be used both on a screen/monitor in a top-down kind of way as well as directly in VR? Why I ask is that... while editing in VR sounds fabulous I imagine myself getting lost quite quickly, and if nothing else it would be nice to kind of set up the general structure with a better overview :P
The editor works in VR really well as it does in 2D you simply look where you want to change the block and press a key, we plan a map for editing too, but that's not in yet, you can turn on a Ghost mode to walk through walls and it's easy to choose colours, speeds and other properties, it's 100% functional and it's improving any day, we are running a Kickstarter with an Early Access to the Editor if your interested in testing this sooner than later : https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crystalrift/crystal-rift-grid-based-dungeon-crawler
So, random enough, I'm having dinner (me and 20 other students) with Brendan Irebe tomorrow at the University of Maryland. I've never met him before. What's he like?
Say Hi from the Crystal Rift dev's in the UK, Brendan seems a great guy
Do you think the Rift is fated to be a niche device, or do you hope it has potential to be used widely in mainstream gaming?
I really hope it will be mainstream I think devices such as Gear VR will lead this
How much will an Oculus Rift cost?
It's $350 plus shipping today, sub $400 is my guess
When do you see Oculus Rift becoming a more commonplace gaming device?
I tried one at a Farm equipment technology show that was mounted on a moving grader and I felt almost instantly sick to my stomach, the more you use it does this seem to disipate?
Thanks for the AMA
It's not quite ready yet, because of things like VR sickness, but it's getting closer every day, you will see more and more people buying headsets and and some point it will tip and be the device you have to have, it will be gaming for most, but for others it will be Skype/Chat, movies, experiance, business, fitness or just to play with as the costs are low enough.
Sickness is common, however it's not strait forward in 1000's of demos, only a few get sick quick, and some never do, most are in between, games and demo's need to be coded to work well and this is the single biggest factor other than hardware improvements, maybe it was a bad demo or setup wrong for you, but the good news is I can already spend a few hours in VR without issue on well coded games, it's currently a right of passage for VR to get your legs, I hope that will not be the case with future hardware.
but the good news is I can already spend a few hours in VR without issue on well coded games, it's currently a right of passage for VR to get your legs
people these days play lots more than "a few hours". sounds like we're actually far off from having something that everyone can enjoy to the extent that's it's safe for the amount of hours games get played
True, and hopefully by release you will be able to, the DK2 (the kit I develop for) is behind Oculus's current internal kit, the old stuff will still work, some games are being emulated in VR, such as VR Arcade and Pixel Rift that you can play older games inside VR, it works really well
Gear VR is the mobile version of the Oculus Rift headset, you can pre order in Dec 2014 and it requires a Galaxy Note 4 Mobile to run it.
Mr Carmack is working on inside out tracking I believe, the headset is for screen and soon sound, AR (Augmented reality) will take some more technical improvements, photon latency to receiver is too high at the moment I believe.
Your questions are good questions, and yes the Porn industry is already producing content, but as I answered else where I've not looked at it
Do you think you will ever incorporate 3D sound in your games for extra immersion?
Yes, we have already been working with 3D sound
What do you think of the South Park episode involving the Rift?
It's great exposure, they had a number of really good in-jokes and I really enjoyed it, I watch Southwark Sometimes so i'm used to the humour.
When is consumer version coming?
I'm not Oculus, but last I heard was Months not Years
I like gaming but have never got that much into because it's so sedentary. I can't wait for the Oculus Rift to come out so I can buy it and play physically with a platform like the Virtuix Omni. My only question is HOW MUCH LONGER WILL I HAVE TO WAIT!?!
Sorry for yelling. I'm just so excited. I will have a room in my house dedicated to this.
I like many others think 2015 could be the year of VR
Could you give me a season at least? This Spring? Summer? lol.
Edit: Never mind, I see you said Summer elsewhere.
Summer 2015 is my bet, but who knows???
Excited for any future games that are development?
GTA V's first person mode, Loving Elite Dangerous, All the Racing Car games I can get my hands on, WOW in VR, lot's are in the works that are not yet ready to announce.
do you see this being just a PC gaming decide or will it come to console gaming in the relative near future?
Console is an obvious place for VR, it's in the living room and it's hardware controlled making it ideal, Sony are currently working on Morpheus
What kind of black market uses do you think the Oculus Rift will have? How will criminals use this.
Good Question, not being Criminal minded I have not given it any thought, here goes: dunno, only things I can think of is cyber stalking and learning bad things, Bad Criminal... STOP it right now!
What other games are you really excited to see on the Oculus Rift?
Star Citizen, World of Warcraft, Starcraft (any RTS games), GTA, The Elder Scrolls, Far Cry and Dota
Not sure if you'll respond. But have you heard of this one virtual reality device in which a player is placed inside a ball and is able to walk around etc? Thoughts?
Its called virtusphere. http://www.virtusphere.com
I see this being an arcade thing long before or makes it to homes... If ever
I'm yet to be impressed by any input device, I know lots of people are trying, but i'm not convinced (yet)
My only concern for playing the Oculus Rift would be getting nauseous. Is there any indication this might occur (more or less then the standard FPS)?
More i'm afraid, but Oculus are doing everything they can to remove nausea
Do you expect the price of the Occulus Rift and other VR devices to rise or fall? Also, what about the quality? I've been considering getting an Occulus rift but I don't know if it's worth waiting for the price to drop or if it's high enough quality to pay for now.
I expect cheep 'cardboard' VR and premium 'VR' rigs and everywhere in between, I think $400 dollars is worth every penny for the ticket to ride but 2nd gen will reduce the cost of 1st gem and onwards, but I realise that you need a good CPU and GPU to ride too, supply and demand will show this in time.
When do you think virtual reality will reach the level of things like SAO(Sword Art Online is an anime about virtual reality games), where you plug into a device and are actually able to feel the virtual environment?
Haptic feedback already exists, it will be years before it's really really good, but VR is the reason it will progress quickly now
Is ist possible to make some smell stuff?
Is that required to enjoy something ?
Not really. I just want to know the possibility of this stuff
Sure sounds like an interesting concept, would love to try a demo one day, but just as in watching a movie, the lack of smell does not effect your enjoyment
It is for the realism effect
VR is not just for realism, it's for unreal too, I'm not that interested in true realism, I think that's one step into scary land, Matrix, Oasis and Meterverse too much too far??
I've seen some articles that suggest 3d systems designed for men may not work well for women, since men tend to detect 3d more by movement and depth perception while women rely more on shading and color perception. Have you tested your device on women and do they have any performance complaints compared to men?
I have demoed to many women now, wife and wife's friends included, I have noticed no difference, in both cases the experience is a wow factor, no complaints
What is the most time/effort-consuming part of developing games for VR?
Optimisation, each draw call and model needs to be very optimised, it's lot's more work than traditional games
With the advancement of technology and the introduction of VR and other concepts to the world of gaming, what do you find most challenging when trying to adapt to utilize these innovations for your game(s) that will cause positive impact rather than hindering it?
Thanks for the AMA.
It's all positive, in VR you can lean to look round corners and peer over ledges to see the pit's bellow, you need to add lots of detail's that would never be seen in 2D, cobwebs, water, height's, dust, positional sound etc, lot's of challenges to make a realistic world, we also have to optimise the code very well to maintain high levels of performance, it's interesting that in VR you have to add so much that 2D looks amazing too, because all the tiny details add up
What are some online courses you recommend which deal with VR Video making and Game development?
I highly recommend learning Unity as a step into VR, it's C# based and many demo's and walkthroughs exist, a-lot of training is free, just google and youtube unity tutorials and download the excellent unity free
So, when will I own one? And do they come in a pack with Star Citizen?
You could go get one now and pre-order the Gear VR in December 2014, and if your that eager then just do it, but waiting will pay off, better hardware is on it's way and more content will be available if you wait, Elite is amazing if you like Star Citizen, i play on an X52 Pro it's mind blowing
I bought the SDK 2 and it is arriving in mail. I purchased UE4 platform as well so would you say that is how I should apporach game dev for Oculus and Samsung's Gear VR or should I just do Unity? I have had multiple C# courses in university so if Unity is where the long run game dev will be then I don't mind doing that but my current apporach was the UE4 platform. What would you recommend? Thank you in advance.
I know a number of developers on both sides, i'm a unity man but UE4 is great, unity 5 begins to match UE4's shader power, I attend LUUG in the UK, performance for VR is still better (and they are quicker to implement SDK's) than UE4 so i'm happy with my choice today. I don't think it matters 100%, user both at first and decided later, I have known people jump both ways, so both have good and bad points.
When is this actually slated to come out? I've heard about it forever now and have yet to see any official release dates. Is it still in some sort of beta?
Yes it's in beta, hopefully Summer 2015, in the short term, we and many others do take our games on the road, I will be at EGX Rezed London, VR in a Bar and other VR meetups
What was your reaction to the sale of Oculus Rift to Facebook? And do you think that this change in ownership will affect the types of games we will see released for the Oculus Rift?
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