Creating more believable virtual characters will play an essential role in further immersing us in single-player VR experiences in the future, and Sony intends to demonstrate that on PlayStation VR (PSVR) this GDC.
The company’s headset traditionally has a big showing at the event, having been revealed there in 2014, but this is the first iteration of the show in which the device is already on the market. Instead of focusing on tech specs and release details, then, the company is showing more to do with VR development. One big part of its showcase will be a new VR tech demo from PlayStation Magic Lab, the division of the company that’s worked on the headset for the past few years.
This demo will focus on “simple 3D prodcedural spatial behaviors for VR characters.” That roughly translates to virtual characters that understand the spaces they’re standing in and their position in relation to the VR user. According to Sony they “imbue a sense of shared space”, reacting to both sound and motion created either within the area or by the player. They can also register the direction in which a user is looking and adjust their eyes, head and body in response.
These characters will only react to things they see inside their own field of view, and also blink and breathe in response to your actions. Attendees will be able to switch the feature on and off to compare it with more traditional non-playable characters that we see in games today and get a sense of what a difference it makes.
While it doesn’t look like Sony is revealing any big new VR games next week (they’ll likely save that for E3), the company will also debut VR Trace, a new tool designed to fix common issues that spring up in multiple VR applications. There are scheduled Unreal Engine 4 and Unity Engine PSVR demonstrations too. They’ll also be showing off the upcoming PSVR Aim Controller in conjunction with its first game, Farpoint. A new talk based on the controller has been scheduled too.
GDC is, as usual, going to be a massive event for VR. We’ll be there all of next week to bring you the latest from the show.