Give it up for Cosmo, Jonnie, John, Jessica, Dean and the rest of the wonderful volunteers for putting together such an important event in Los Angeles. As said by Roy Taylor of AMD, “VRLA is like the homebrew computer club of the modern world. We can expect to find the next Steve Wozniak at one of these events, and when we do, it’s going to be game changing.”
Running from 1-7pm last Saturday, with a VIP session 90 minutes prior to general admission, VRLA #4 featured nine panel discussions, nearly 30 speakers, and a tremendous variety of demos from the industry’s finest. House of Moves, one of LA’s premier motion capture and animation studios, hosted the event. Their space proved to be an ideal setup with two main studio areas, one for the exhibitors and the other for isolated panel discussions. The massive camera covered trusses that lined the walls served as truly magnificent ambiance.
The demo area featured some phenomenal new experiences. Reel FX, or RFX as some call it, and Dan Ferguson hit it home with their Book Of Life experience that takes you on a wild ride through a magical land of winding roads, castles, and strange men on horseback. It was one of the best story telling pieces I’ve seen to-date. RFX also delivered the goods with their Pacific Rim demo, which will be shipping with all Gear VR’s. Three One Zero, a game development studio in Santa Monica, took me to outer space with their new game ADR1FT. The UNREAL built experience was stunning. After a short stint of zero gravity floating through the cabin of a space ship, the outer doors opened and my astronaut body was released into space. I was surrounded by space station debris, fellow astronauts, and the earth at a scale that was truly breathtaking. Despite the high energy of the event around me, I felt utterly tranquil. When CV1 hits, this will be one of the first experiences I seek out. The last experience I will mention is the new High Fidelity demo with Faceshift integration. During the demo, I was interacting with a member of the HF team, whose facial expressions were being rendered and mapped onto an avatar in real time. During my conversation with the avatar, I found myself avoiding a break in eye contact as if he could see me in the real world. Cheers to Doug Griffin and the Faceshift team for successfully making me feel as though I was speaking to an object with consciousness.
One of the most exciting and memorable moments of the event was the announcement of Visionary VR, a groundbreaking movie making software created by many of the core minds behind VRLA. Visionary VR was very impressive for a prototype and is set to help define the way movies are made in virtual reality. I know I can speak for the UPLOAD crew in saying that we are excited to see the magic Visionary VR creates once they receive their first and future rounds of funding.
Overall, #4 was a stellar event and well worth the trip down from San Francisco. I’m not sure how the folks at VRLA are going to top this one with VRLA #5, but like they always do, I’m sure they’ll find a way.