As I've already written about, I had the pleasure of trying out the Oculus Rift for the first time last night at IGDA-TC. I spent about 3-5 minutes in the so-called Tuscany Demo of 90 year old grandmother tries the Rift fame. I found the experience very inspirational. I thought I'd share some of the ideas and aspirations for VR that sprung to mind through my experience. If you'd like, you can also check out my post about my first impressions of the Rift itself.
The obvious application of the Oculus Rift is 3d first person style environments. There will be an endless supply of first person shooter "hardcore" video games for the Rift, and that really is its self proclaimed target market and audience. It is so obvious that it is not even particularly interesting to me, perhaps compounded by the fact that my once love of FPS and "hardcore" games steadily fades away. I think there will be some good first person, immersive exploration and puzzle games that I would enjoy on the Rift. I also think some of the racing/simulation games could be really fun.
But none of those games are why I am excited about the Oculus Rift. To me, the experience of immersion when you've put on the Rift is itself the most compelling part of the product. It is an experience you fundamentally cannot get anywhere else, and it will be truly new to almost all of us. I now believe that even a fixed 2d television-like display experience that completely fills your field of view like the Oculus would be a novel and interesting product itself. However, when you add in the 3d view and nearly perfect head tracking of the Rift, the immersion becomes complete and you've got something special. It is the difference between an omnitheater movie about the Amazon, and actually standing in the Amazon yourself. Well... if the Amazon were pixelated, and without smells or anything you could touch, but still. Let's remember this is a very early product, and technology moves fast...
I had the pleasure of trying out the Oculus Rift for the first time last night at IGDA-TC. I spent about 3-5 minutes in the so-called Tuscany Demo of 90 year old grandmother tries the Rift fame. The experience was significant enough that I felt like I should record some thoughts on it for myself, and I figured I might as well share them. I also found the experience very inspirational. I've written up some of the ideas and directions that sprung to mind in a separate post, Oculus Rift: First Inspirations.
I was actually sitting in a chair at a bar when I put the Rift on. My big glasses got in the way a little bit, and made what I'm otherwise convinced would be a remarkably light and comfortable headset put some pressure on my face. This is easily fixed with contacts, smaller glasses, or cheap plastic lens inserts that pre-bend the light for my correction. Anyway, a new world instantly came into focus. The 3d effect was instantaneous and completely transparent to the experience, and the immersion was total. Your entire field of view is filled with the environment. It's not like watching a 3d movie at all. It's like being inside a 3d game, but with better 3d. The head tracking was for my purposes flawless. I immediately and quite naturally found myself turning my head to look around this new world I was in. I looked straight down... no feet! I guess for some people it is quite unsettling to be missing their body. For me, it just made me aware again that I was sitting in a chair looking at a simulation. It broke the illusion for a split second.
The display isn't very high resolution, but this is a dev version and the consumer version will be better. You can see the pixels, well really the lines between the pixels, which is sometimes called the screen door effect. My awareness of the pixels and this grid would come and go as I looked around and moved around the environment. It was pretty easy to forget it was there, but I definitely look forward to much higher resolutions in the future.
It was very hard not to lose yourself in the experience. I kept forgetting myself and where I was. I wouldn't quite say that this other place I found myself in felt real, but I also wouldn't say that it felt not real. And I felt like I wasn't exactly sitting in a chair in a bar anymore...
Operation Party is a realtime multiplayer party game, inspired heavily by our collective admiration of the incredibly fun game Space Team. Our game was built in HTML5 with reasonable support across desktop, iOS, and Android making it pretty accessible for a large group to play together in a room. The server is written with Node.js, and the networking is done with Socket.IO (a wrapper for WebSockets.)
Will and I focused on the game engine and networking, and Scott put together some really silly and fun interactive widgets (that play best on a touch screen). Barry helped a ton by cranking out the artwork for us. Not too shabby for a weekend's work!
The code is available on GitHub.
Ludum Dare is the thrice annual competition to make a game by yourself from scratch in 48 hours. The December 2012 theme was: "You are the Villain." I made a game that plays like Pipe Dream, but you lay down train tracks trying to maximize the number of goats tied to train tracks that you can run over. Why goats? Well, for the first time LD had a special silly bonus theme modifier, and it was goats.
Anyway, why don't you play my game and let me know what you think!
And here are some more Ludum Dare 25 games to check out, also made by people from Minnesota: