Electronic Arts subsidiary DICE is putting together a small Sweden-based team to evolve its Frostbite game engine for VR. The toolset for creating games joins engines from Epic Games, Unity, Valve and Crytek in evolving to be used in the creation of VR experiences.
So far Unity has been used by the vast majority of software developers creating experiences available in the Oculus store on Gear VR, though Gunjack from Iceland-based CCP Games used the Unreal Engine from Epic Games to create the most graphically rich mobile VR game yet. Those two toolsets were the most easily accessible to developers over the last few years and have been evolving to make it easier to create a VR experience rather than just a game. As an onslaught of console and PC-based VR games are prepared for consumer launch in 2016, Valve’s Source 2 Engine, Crytek’s Cry Engine and now Frostbite from EA are likely to be vying for attention as more developers dive into VR content creation.
Details surrounding the differences between the engines are hard to come by because the toolsets are constantly changing and it’s rare for a single developer to have used all of the above. In addition, with VR still emerging and the HTC Vive, PlayStation VR and Rift not yet shipping, it’s hard to draw comparisons in how experiences look and feel when created with the different toolsets. As suggested previously, Unity is extremely popular because it was early to adopt VR and makes it easy for developers to create experiences for multiple platforms. Other developers may have different priorities for their projects though, like creating a visually rich world that is heavily tailored for a specific device.
We’ll keep following this topic as more VR experiences are revealed that were made with the various game engines. If you have experience creating VR with an engine other than Unreal or Unity, shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.