Developers from around the world will have the rare chance to step inside Valve’s offices next week when Steam Dev Days gets underway in Bellevue, Washington. But what can VR studios expect from the event?
Thanks to the launch of the full schedule through the Guidebook app, we now know. A total of eight VR talks and panels are being planned for the show, which takes place on October 12th and 13th. It will feature in-depth presentations from numerous members of Valve, as well as a handful of developers and even Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney.
Think of this as more of a mini VR developer conference than a consumer-focused show, though. It’s possible that we may get some VR-relevant announcements, but the main aim is to share knowledge between the development community.
If you want to take a quick glance and what’s there, we’ve listed each talk below. All times are in PT.
Philosphy of VR, with Joe Ludwig from Valve
10:45 am, 12th October
Ludwig has been working on VR at Valve for around three years now, so he’s more than capable of talking about the philosophy of VR. He’ll make a case for developing on high-end systems to give people a full VR experience, so this might be one for those currently working in mobile VR to take note of.
The Future of VR and PC Games, with Tim Sweeney from Epic Games
11:15 am, 12th October
Epic Games is heavily invested in VR thanks to deep integration with its Unreal Engine 4 and its own tech demos like Bullet Train. With this knowledge in-hand, company CEO Tim Seeney will discuss “leading-edge” directions in VR such a digital humans, social interaction, user-created content, photorealistic graphic and the barriers between genres. Definitely something any VR developer should watch.
SteamVR Tracking Hardware
1:30 pm, 12th October
Interestingly, this is a talk more aimed at hardware developers than software creators, though both are welcome. There’s no assigned speaker yet, but this session will detail how to integrate devices with the SteamVR tracking systems that we’ve come to know and love through the HTC Vive. Some of the headsets of tomorrow will be born from this tech.
Developing The Lab, with Valve
10:00 am, 13th October
An army of Valve developers are going to be on hand to discuss the creation of its popular VR experience collection. Expect a detailed rundown of how the team went about creating the set of mini-games. Given that The Lab is still one of the best-received VR experiences, there’s bound to be tips and tricks shared here that will be useful to just about anybody working with the tech.
Unity Development for VR, with Corey Johnson from Unity
11:15 am, 13th October
It wouldn’t be a VR developer conference without talks from the two leading engine providers. Johnson will detail how to get your VR project started with Unity and then how to optimize it to make sure it performs as well as possible. If you haven’t already seen similar talks elsewhere, this will be essential for Unity devs.
Delivering Great VR With Simple Graphics, with Nat Brown from Valve
1:45 pm, 13th October
Running VR games is an intensive process. The simpler your graphics, the easier you’ll make it on the PCs, consoles and phones powering them. But that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice important factors like immersion. That’s what Valve VR engineer Nat Brown will talk about in this session.
Shipping A VR Game With Unreal Engine 4, with CloudGate Studio And Epic Games
3:00 pm, 13th October
After Unity has had its time in the spotlight Epic Games will step up to the stage with the help of Island 359 developers CloudGate Studio. Spread across two parts, Epic’s Wes Bunn will first provide an in-depth overview of combining Unreal Engine 4 with VR. Following that, CloudGate’s Jeremy Chapman and Steve Bowler will discuss how to make VR games with a small team in a short time frame.
VR Content Panel, with Valve, Northway Games, Stress Level Zero, Audiosurf, and I-Illusions
16:15, 13th October
Rounding out Dev Days’ VR sessions, a host of developers will take to the stage to talk about lessons learned from building VR titles. Expect plenty of helpful tips that will give you advice on making successful VR games and developers that have already done so. They’ll be moderated by Valve’s Chet Faliszek.
Developers have plenty to look forward to next week, then. The rest of us, meanwhile can anticipate the better games and experiences that will come from it.