Virtual reality has been gaining a lot of mainstream attention already this year, with big splashes at both CES and Sundance, and it looks like it will be one of the main focuses of this year’s Game Developer’s Conference as well.
As of the time of the reporting, it looks like each of the main booths at this year’s GDC will have some sort of VR edge to them. Oculus obviously highlights the center of the room, and we will likely be seeing Crescent Bay demos from them, although at the time of reporting it is unsure if they will showcase any demos from Oculus’ new Story Studio, which premiered at Sundance last month.
Below them is Sony, who will almost assuredly be showcasing some updates to the elusive Morpheus HMD which was debuted at last year’s conference. Sony has a headlining session planned for the conference’s opening day titled, “Beyond Immersion – Project Morpheus and PlayStation,” which promises to “focus on updates since last year’s… presentation.” The session will highlight a number of important developments, including implementation of Playstation peripherals as input devices in VR as well as “unique social experiences possible only with Project Morpheus.”
NVIDIA will be following up that presentation with one of their own in which they will be showcasing VR Direct, “a set of hardware and software technologies designed to cut down graphics latency and accelerate stereo rendering performance.” The talk looks to offer developers some best practices in developing VR games and should be fairly informative. NVIDIA’s main competitor, AMD, will also be delivering a talk about graphical performance in VR. AMD’s talk will offer developers an in-depth look at ways in which they can reduce “perceived latency,” and will showcase some “real world examples of optimized AAA content.”
To Oculus’ left, Unreal has already made a number of bets in the VR space and is trying to position itself as the premiere engine for VR development. They will be showcasing some VR demos running on UE4 (as will Oculus if they go with their CES reel). Unity will also be showcasing its user friendly engine and likely will have a few choice VR demos as well. Additionally, as we mentioned last week, Crytek is planning to showcase a VR demo and word is that it is very impressive.
Another company that has had a number of ties to the recent resurgence of VR (including giving Brendan Iribe his first non-nauseating VR experience) is Valve. The company will be delivering a talk about advanced VR rendering based on their extensive experience in the field. The talk will offer developers a number of helpful tips, and will focus on the idea of “taking a step back and rethinking many aspects of rendering.” As of reporting, there is no word as to whether Valve will be showing off any hardware, but we have reached out to them for comment and will update you when that information is available.
Outside of some of the bigger names in gaming, VR is going to be all over the rest of the floor as well with companies like Virtuix, Nod, Mixamo, zSpace, and Perception Neuron all making appearances at the show. Perception Neuron intends to host their launch party during the event, so it is safe to say we will be hearing a lot more from them in the coming weeks. A number of the bigger game studios, like Riot Games, are keeping their cards close to their chest about VR involvement, but with Valve having already implemented VR in DOTA 2 internally it wouldn’t be a surprise to start hearing mumblings from the League of Legends publisher at GDC, but at this time that remains pure speculation.
There are sure to be a number of big surprises and updates coming out of GDC this year, and rest assured UploadVR will be on top of them all. So be sure to stay tuned for more updates.