Final thoughts on GDC

Posted Mar 21st, 2014

Today I visited with Technical Illusions to try out the CastAR. They have a room with three different prototypes running three different demos, all highlighting different aspects of the AR experience. I was so engrossed in what I saw that I completely forgot to ask about the VR clip-on and where they are with that. In any case, their HD prototype is stunning, and I was pleased to realize that even if the 3D world you're looking at extends past the physical surface with the retroreflective material, there's no conflict because the retroreflective material doesn't have any detailed features to focus on. So, I'm thankful they took the time to demo it for me and I'm quite glad that I backed it. Plus, the pins they were giving out are covered with retroreflective material, how cool is that? :)

Same deal with PrioVR. It's one thing to watch videos of people using the system, but when you're the one donning a Rift and PrioVR harness, it's pretty magical. There's a full body harness and an upper body harness. I tried the upper body one, which of course is more aligned with the seated VR experience that Oculus is targeting. It initially felt odd that you can move your upper body and arms as you would in reality, and yet you're confined to using a controller for your leg movements and walking around. After this demo, I would say that the upper body harness will absolutely shine for social VR experiences where you're seated in the game too. Tabletop RPGs, Couch Knights style social games, cockpit simulations, etc.

I sat down with the lead developer of The Gallery: Six Elements, and he walked me through the controls (it's using the Razer Hydra for now). I have to say, this was extremely well done. The developer obviously is putting a lot of thought and care into the experience, and pushing the envelope with interactions in VR. I especially enjoyed the "VR Comfort Mode", which I'm convinced is going to be yet another thing that all VR experiences are eventually going to have to support as a "simsickness management" setting.

And finally, I ended up going back for several more demos of the Oculus DK2. Twice for EVE:V, and four times for Couch Knights (still awesome). My apologies to the probably-exhausted Oculus staff for taking up more of their time than I should have. I actually had a blast on my 2nd go with EVE: V. This time around, the Oculus staff explained the controls to four of us and made it clear we were going to be having a 2 vs 2 multiplayer experience -- I had no idea this was the case the first time around! Lots of fun and was able to look past the scaling issue etc, and just have fun. Cannot wait to be able to play these kinds of games from the comfort of my home.

That is all. :-)