Virtual Reality (VR) is quickly moving from a futuristic technology to a mainstream product. During a GDC Europe event, Palmer Luckey and Nate Mitchell, the co-founders of Oculus took the stage to talk about the biggest challenges that VR game developers face.
The future of VR
Luckey started by describing VR and it enhances everything about the games we play. As he put it, “It enhances immersion and removes abstraction… what gets between us and the world.”
Luckey believes that touchscreen and motion sensors are just the beginning. In the future, VR games would have no limitations. He believes that it will take years to make a great VR game. He also hopes to see and do more with R games.
VR Game Challenges
Here’s a little big breakdown of the three main challenges in making a VR game – user interface, simulator sickness, and latency.
At this stage of developing a VR game, a VR developer has to consider stereoscopy (depth and convergence), position relative to the field of view (FOV), and integration with the virtual world. These concerns are on how the game will look from the gamer’s point and how the game appears on different platforms.
On a shooting VR game, the reticle of some games does not always work as expected. When the player focuses on the reticle, the reticle suddenly divides into two parts. As for the FOV, it can be different for each platform. In gaming consoles, you can have an 80-degree FOV while for the PCs, the FOV decreases to 50 or 60 degrees.
Lastly, developers are challenged on how to present everything on the interface – gamer’s health, ammo, the gun being used, etc.
As a result, VR developers must continue researching and looking for inspirations in order to create a better VR game concept.
It is about dealing with a moving world when your physical body is in a constant position. VR developers issue relies on making lateral and backward movement through the virtual world. There are also challenges in making quick movements and stepping up and down stairs.
A small movement such as up and down can cause dizziness. To avoid such challenges, developers can take advantage of elevators. Still, there are VR games that might need stairs for some reasons, so this is not a fix solution.
One of the worst enemies of VR developers is latency.
In VR, a very short movement, around 16ms needs a frame of 60 fps at least. To avoid latency, developers must aim for 90 to 12 frame per second. This is to make the vsync working. In such cases, one of the solutions would be to increase the frame rate and sacrifice visual fidelity while focusing on the game engine. This will produce a better VR game.
Virtual reality has been a hot topic in the video game industry for a while now. Virtual reality is not just for play, though, this technology will change the way you work in a major way. This is especially true for developers or other technical specialists, but the evolution of the VR will have an impact on every industry.