Don’t miss out on all the fantastic VR/AR/MR talks at XRDC next week!

XRDC kicks off next Monday in San Francisco, so now is the perfect time for attendees to finalize their schedules in order to ensure the best possible experience at this premier AR/VR/MR innovation event.

Today organizers would like to quickly highlight a sample of the show’s many exciting talks, and encourage you to take advantage of the free XRDC 2018 Session Scheduler to plan out what you’d like to attend and ensure you don’t miss anything the show has to offer.

Sprint Vector developer Survios will be there next week to show you how they revamped the competitive virtual reality game for professional eSports play, for example, in an XRDC Games & Entertainment track talk on “Sprint Vector: Evolving VR for the Esports Scene“.

Registration is still open, so you’ll want to look over XRDC passes and prices and register before the event to get the best deal!

Make time in your schedule to attend this talk, because senior game designer Andrew Abedian aims to reveal the grassroots evolution of Survios‘ early speed-running prototype into a pioneer multiplayer title in VR eSports. You can expect to learn all about the specific steps Survios undertook to transform their original Sprint Vector concept into a successful VR eSports title, from creating competitive gameplay mechanics to overcoming technological hurdles to encouraging community-driven events.

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Study how VR can help raise awareness about real issues at XRDC

This is it folks: XRDC kicks off next week in San Francisco! It’s going to be a two-day smorgasbord of exciting and intriguing encounters with AR/VR/MR experts from around the world, and while you’re there you won’t want to miss out on an innovative look at how people are using VR to try and make the world a better place.

In their Innovation track talk on “Making the Invisible, Visible: Immersive VR and Fostering Environmental Awareness in the Global Oil Industry“, Fair Worlds’ Erik Horn and the Environmental Defense Fund’s Isabel Mogstatd will talk through the six-month process that brought Methane Ch4llenge, an experience that takes users into a digitally-simulated oil wellsite to show the ease and efficiency of controlling key sources of methane emissions, to life.

The pair will also show you how the project was viewed by a US senator, and how one of the largest publicly-traded oil and gas companies is exploring the integration of the experience into their VR lab. This is a significant talk, especially if you’re at all curious in how VR design and development skills can make a real difference in the world, so don’t skip it!

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XRDC Diamond Partner Q&A: Viveport’s Rikard Steiber has tips for VR devs

This year, the XRDC team is thrilled to be sponsored by Viveport, the leading global platform and app store driven by the HTC Vive VR headset. To make the most out of our partnership with Viveport, we reached out to company president Rikard Steiber to discuss the current state of the VR business under his keen watch.

For your pleasure, read on to learn about what Steiber thinks developers need to know about the VR Arcade market, and how they can take advantage of new headsets like the Vive Focus!

Attend XRDC 2018 to learn about AR/VR/MR for games, entertainment, healthcare, enterprise training, education, automotive, and innovative use cases across industries.

1. Could you please introduce yourself to our attendees, and what your role at Viveport is?

My name is Rikard Steiber and I am the president of Viveport. Viveport is HTC Vive’s global platform and app store operating in over 60 countries and is home to the world’s first of its kind VR subscription service.

2. What do you think is the best advantage for developers when adding games to the subscription-based Viveport vs individual purchasing platforms for selling their VR products?

Viveport Subscription offers numerous benefits and support that helps developers gain more awareness and downloads than just through pay and download alone. To start, Viveport’s paying customers have grown 4x in the last year and the majority of these transactions are through Subscription. In fact, subscribers are 15% more likely to purchase a title than any other customer on Viveport. Subscription can also be viewed as a second-act for titles, allowing developers to find new users to try their content after their initial round of paid downloads begin to slow.

In addition, Viveport provides robust marketing support for titles in Subscription, featuring them in our channels like store home page, social, email and more to get their titles in front of VR users. With Oculus Rift now compatible with Viveport and Viveport Subscription, these developers have the potential to reach 2x the audience through Subscription and Viveport’s marketing channels.

3. What do developers need to know about the growth of the VR Arcade business in Western markets?

Because of the accessibility and social aspect of the experience, location-based VR experiences are growing in popularity and will continue to be an important factor to the growth of the VR industry. Immersive location-based VR experiences, like Mario Kart VR and Dave & Busters’ Jurassic World VR activation, are crucial to VR success by offering a way to connect with the public and provide an opportunity for them try VR for the first time.

At Viveport, we offer developers an easy path to deploy their content to hundreds of operators through the Viveport Arcade platform. By distributing their content to arcades, developers gain a new way to monetize their content while acquiring additional exposure and awareness of their title and studio.

4. Are there any new kinds of VR Hardware you expect to grow in popularity in the near future that developers can take advantage of?

We see standalone headsets, such as the Vive Focus, becoming increasingly popular and key to the evolution to the industry for their portability and the lower barrier to entry. Standalone, all-in-one devices have already started to become prevalent with enterprise and commercial consumers and we will see this trend continue.

With Vive Wave, our open platform and toolset that enables easy mobile VR content development and high-performance device optimization, Viveport developers gain a device base extending well beyond Vive hardware. We created Wave to help developers do three important things: reach a broad range of users through multiple devices, create on one platform and deploy broadly for ease and convenience, and explore different ways to help developers monetize their content.

Since launch, 15 partners have announced their support with five partner products already running Vive Wave today. Vive Wave offers developers the most options for deploying and monetizing their standalone content.

5. What’s one key metric you think VR developers need to keep an eye on when working with Viveport?

Realistic expectations are key and developers should think about working with all platforms and stores. We want to partner and work with VR developers to build sustainable businesses and we know Viveport can help them build engaged communities and ultimately earn more revenue.

Viveport prides itself on offering both Vive and Oculus Rift developers the most avenues for monetization. In addition to the Viveport store, we offer monetization opportunities through Subscription, Arcade, our partnership with one of the largest e-commerce stores in the world – Amazon, and access to the China market. This key mission of Viveport differentiates our store and the value that’s added when developers bring their content to Viveport.

XRDC is the premier conference for augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality innovation, produced by organizers of the Game Developers Conference. Subscribe to regular XRDC updates via emailTwitter and Facebook.

Learn the ins and outs of FDA approval for VR/AR games at XRDC!

Games can be a force for good, and XRDC organizers are excited to announce that game industry veteran Noah Falstein will be at the event in San Francisco next month to share the latest on how the FDA is trialing games for pharmaceutical use.

In his XRDC 2018 Healthcare track talk on “Games as Medicine: FDA Clearance Tradeoffs“, Falstein will speak to the specific challenges of FDA approval that VR and AR game devs should know about, as well as more general issues facing studios, individuals, and patients who are helping to create the latest generation of games for health.

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XRDC Q&A: Owlchemy Labs’ Andrew Eiche and Devin Reimer explore VR interactions

At XRDC 2018, Owlchemy Labs Chief Executive Owl Devin Reimer and Chief Technology Owl Andrew Eiche will be taking the stage to share the freshest ideas in interaction design for VR. Since Owlchemy Labs has been at the forefront of room-scale VR experiences, we wanted to pick their brains on your behalf about what VR developers should be thinking about when creating Holodeck-like experience.

Thankfully, Reimer and Eiche were kind enough to answer our questions, which you can now read down below!

Attend XRDC 2018 to learn about AR/VR/MR for games, entertainment, healthcare, enterprise training, education, automotive, and innovative use cases across industries.

Tell us about yourself and your work in VR/AR/MR.

Devin: I’m the Chief Executive Owl at Owlchemy Labs, a VR game studio based in Austin, Texas. We’re the developers behind multi-platform titles ‘Job Simulator’, ‘Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality’, and the upcoming ‘Vacation Simulator’. With a background in Flash and Unity, I’ve worked on numerous 2D and 3D game projects, both before Owlchemy and while the studio was still making non-VR games. Now, I’m all in on VR. When we started Job Simulator, we decided to make games exclusively for VR, and we haven’t looked back. VR is the future!

Andrew: I’m the Chief Technology Owl and Cable Wrangler at Owlchemy Labs. When I joined, I was the production lead on ‘Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality’, a VR title we made with Adult Swim Games (recently nominated for an Emmy Award!). Throughout my career, I’ve developed games for indies, board game companies, commercial clients, and government agencies. Fun Fact: I made an app for the IRS. I also used to wear a suit and tie to work. Things are better now. It’s pretty wild, to help pave the way for the future of VR.

Without spoiling it too much, tell us what you’ll be talking about at XRDC.

Devin + Andrew: We’re going to be discussing our philosophy on various VR design concepts and best practices we’ve identified since the launch of consumer VR. Before the launch of consumer head- and hand-tracked VR (i.e. Vive, Oculus Touch, PSVR), we’ve given talks about the fundamentals of what makes for good interaction design in VR. Think— concepts like “tomato presence”, tracking occlusion strategies, objects breaking out of your hand, et cetera.

It’s been two years since we’ve discussed these base-level interactions, and a lot has changed. We figure now is a good time to reopen the topic and share what we’ve learned about interaction in VR, what has changed since the dawn of consumer VR, and how we’ve built on previously established paradigms and charted new territory to take interactions to the next level.

What excites you most about AR/VR/MR?

Devin: The idea of exploring uncharted territory has always interested me in my work. At Owlchemy, we’re really committed to constantly pushing the envelope and exploring what’s possible with this new medium. Nothing is set in stone, and the time is now to try new things. There’s a pretty potent awareness among the VR community that we’re in a special moment in time— a time to experiment and pioneer things for the future.

Andrew: There is still so much to learn in VR, and we’re discovering new things every day. We’re still building the “design language” of VR. Paradigms are constantly evolving. Developers are learning more about building great experiences, and users are becoming more advanced in the ways they interact with our worlds. It’s electric to be part of a medium that is trying to learn how to walk.

Who would you like to meet at XRDC?

Devin + Andrew: The thing that’s great about XRDC is that it gathers together the huge, diverse range of people who are working in VR now. When we started building Job Simulator, people thought we were crazy to be betting so much on a new technology. Now, its value is clear— whether you’re working in games, narrative content, education, enterprise, or beyond. We’re so early in VR that it’s essential we share our knowledge to elevate the industry as a whole, and there’s a lot we can learn across disciplines. I’m looking forward to chatting with developers from every different vertical in VR/AR/XR about their projects.

What kind of interactions or objects have you worked with in VR that didn’t quite make the cut in your games, and how do you think they could be properly integrated?

Andrew: To anyone curious about the depth of our experimentation at Owlchemy, I would recommend checking out the GDC/XRDC postmortems for both ‘Job Simulator’ and ‘Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality’. We’re constantly revisiting old ideas with new knowledge. I’m particularly interested in how we evolve our character reactions to be more realistic— whether a player is throwing objects, swatting, or generally being a nuisance to them.

Currently, character interaction is an affordance nightmare. If a character reacts to one thing, they have to react to everything, and in almost all situations. We did great work on this in ‘Virtual Rick-ality’ with characters that react and talk to you. In ‘Vacation Simulator’, we’re also really proud of how intuitive it feels interacting with Bots by waving at them. Even so, there’s a lot of room to grow! There are a lot of interactions we cut, and others that we didn’t, but still think we could improve in the future.

I think in order to have a comprehensive character interaction system in VR, we will need to see further advances in AI (e.g. machine learning) to allow for procedural reaction generation. Either that, or an incredible number of development hours. We’ll see which comes first. After all, we do have a reputation of picking the deepest technical rabbit holes!— Eg. 30,000+ first-order combinations in Virtual Rick-ality’s Combinator or; 850+ hours on Job Simulator’s fluid tech.

Devin: The list of things we create during development that doesn’t work is far greater than what does. To us, this is a success— we consider failure to be a win state. It means we are truly exploring what’s possible in the space, and only keeping the best. This mindset is why we find it so important to share our knowledge, and specifically the things that didn’t work for us.

Something Andrew mentioned is that we often revisit old ideas with new knowledge. For example, we really wanted to make sandwiches for the Kitchen Job in ‘Job Simulator’. This was no small feat in VR, and we encountered huge technical and design affordance challenges.  What we settled on was this spike mounted on the counter that you could stack sandwiches on.

Fast forward to our upcoming game— ‘Vacation Simulator’. We revisited the infamous sandwich problem with the burger stand in our Beach demo. After writing (and re-writing) new systems and tech, you can now freely build a burgers in your hands, no special machine needed!

Even if we’ve ‘solved’ a problem before, that doesn’t mean it’s off limits. There’s always room to experiment, and try something new.

XRDC is the premier conference for augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality innovation, produced by organizers of the Game Developers Conference. Subscribe to regular XRDC updates via emailTwitter and Facebook.

Facebook sponsors cutting-edge XRDC talks on VR art and AR design

San Francisco will play host to XRDC later this month, and as you prepare to attend this premier AR/VR/MR innovation event we want to quickly highlight some standout sessions sponsored by Facebook on the XRDC Partners track!

Attend XRDC 2018 to learn about AR/VR/MR for games, entertainment, healthcare, enterprise training, education, automotive, and innovative use cases across industries.

Specifically, you should know that there are two intriguing and unique Facebook-sponsored talks at XRDC later this month, one dedicated to the company’s Spark AR augmented reality camera platform and the other to its Quill VR illustration and animation tool.

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XRDC speaker Q&A: Thomas Jon Caruso on the power of VR therapy

Over at Stanford, the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital has begun utilizing virtual reality as part of an anxiety therapy program known as “CHARIOT.” At XRDC 2018, program director Thomas Jon Caruso (with his colleague Samuel Rodriguez) will be giving a talk about how other VR developers can create software that helps patients in hospitals for both younger and older patients.

For a quick look at Caruso’s talk, we reached out to him for a Q&A on the state of medical VR, which you can now read below!

Attend XRDC 2018 to learn about AR/VR/MR for games, entertainment, healthcare, enterprise training, education, automotive, and innovative use cases across industries.

Tell us about yourself and your work in VR/AR/MR.

I help direct the CHARIOT Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.  The program is quite unique in scope, as we not only integrate VR into different hospital environments, but also design custom software and modify existing hardware to fit the needs of a pediatric hospital.

Without spoiling it too much, tell us what you’ll be talking about at XRDC.

We will be discussing best practices around the integration and design of VR in our pediatric hospital.

What excites you most about AR/VR/MR?

We are excited for the discovery of novel ways to further optimize VR therapy in the hospital.  As software becomes easier to design and hardware becomes more affordable and customize for the hospital environment, the clinical possibilities are endless.

Since VR technology is generally advised to be for older users, how have you best been able to use them with children while keeping their safety in mind? 

Every patient is unique.  We have a dedicated and well-trained team, including amazing Child Life Specialists, that help identify patients who may benefit from VR.  After a patient is identified, the medical professionals interview the patient and family to introduce the concept of VR and its potential risks and benefits.  Only after patient assent and family consent do we proceed, assuming the patient has no contraindications.

XRDC is the premier conference for augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality innovation, produced by organizers of the Game Developers Conference. Subscribe to regular XRDC updates via emailTwitter and Facebook.

Get tips on making better VR games straight from Viveport at XRDC

Don’t finalize your plans for XRDC in San Francisco later this month until you’ve looked over some of the standout sessions in the XRDC Partners track — especially the trio of intriguing talks presented by XRDC sponsor Viveport!

Attend XRDC 2018 to learn about AR/VR/MR for games, entertainment, healthcare, enterprise training, education, automotive, and innovative use cases across industries.

You’ll want to see these talks if you’re at all curious about the state and future of the VR market, as Viveport is HTC’s VR app store and one of the premier markets for VR games and entertainment. At XRDC, Viveport reps will be sharing what they’ve learned from Viveport, and offering insight into how you can apply those learnings to your next project.

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GDC 2019 is now open for registration!

Today’s the big day, because starting today you can register to attend the 2019 Game Developers Conference!

This is your opportunity to meet up with the global game development community for an incomparable week of education, inspiration and networking in San Francisco at the 33rd edition of GDC.

Now that registration is officially open, you’ll want to take a look at your GDC 2019 pass options and register early to get the best price. Plus, some passes have limited quantities — so if you’re interested, don’t wait!

GDC 2019 will take place March 18th through the 22nd at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. As always, GDC Conference tracks span all major facets of game development – from in-depth business strategy to hardcore design and programming sessions.

To give you a taste of what’s in store, we’re excited to announce the first pair of standout GDC 2019 sessions, each of which features an in-depth exploration of a contemporary hit!

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See how to improve your mixed reality apps with Microsoft’s Azure at XRDC!

We’re counting down the days until XRDC arrives in San Francisco, and with it a premier array of innovative and intriguing experts sharing their learnings in augmented reality,  virtual reality, and mixed realiy experience development.

You can find quite a few of them speaking as part of the XRDC Partners track of talks, and today we wanted to quickly highlight one particular sponsored session from XRDC partner Microsoft that you’ll want to see if you’re at all curious about how cloud computing can help supercharge your work.

Attend XRDC 2018 to learn about AR/VR/MR for games, entertainment, healthcare, enterprise training, education, automotive, and innovative use cases across industries.

Specifically, the XRDC sponsored session on “Empowering Mixed Reality Users by Leveraging Azure Cloud Services” will see Microsoft program manager Jesse McCulloch taking the stage to give you a friendly overview of how Microsoft can help you empower your audience by leveraging Azure Cloud Services to strengthen your mixed reality experiences.

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