One of my favorite events last year was the first ever Consumer Virtual Reality convention in Vancouver, BC. I’m a little discouraged by all the conventions I miss out on in LA and San Francisco, so I was overjoyed to be able to attend one in my own town (why are ‘virtual’ virtual reality conventions a thing yet). This year I bought tickets as soon as they appeared, but a year ago I never even imagined that I would be helping run a booth at the event with the Vancouver VR Community.
The Vancouver VR Community is a recent organization designed to connect and showcase the amazing work that’s being done by local developers. Since joining, I’ve been surprised to find out that some of my favorite VR games were made on Victoria island, or in leaky condos and basement rentals in town. It’s really cool to be able talk with all these passionate people that are shaping the future of so many industries.
When I wasn’t at the booth waving around a foam-board cut-out of our deer logo, I was on the floor looking for the latest software and tools. The event organizers did a great job in bringing a huge variety of experiences and applications to the show floor, but unsurprisingly I gravitated to the games.
I got to try out ‘Edge of Atlantis,’ which is a rogue-like/diablo style action RPG which is currently running a kickstarter campaign, as well as ‘Kung Fu Shadow Fist,’ which is a first person Streets of Rage game in which you are pretty much always punching distance from something if you so choose. I also got to be a Tiger and fight my friend (also a Tiger) in ‘Tooth and Claw’ and solve clever physics based puzzles in ‘Awaken’. I got to check out ‘Manastorm,’ which is a card-based combat game that satisfies the imagination of any MTG, Yugioh or Hearthstone player. To my surprise, ‘Chroma Lab’ and ‘Chocolate’ were on the floor being represented by TH-er, whom seem to have amazing plans to bring what is basically an art gallery of wondrous exhibits that would be impossible to experience in real life.
I’m sad I didn’t get to try out all the titles (‘Vindicta’ looks like a ton of fun) but the convention definitely put a ton of great work on my radar. It is so fulfilling to see these developers showcase their work, get feedback, and ultimately bring people into the worlds they have been crafting for months. I really enjoyed seeing all the children gush with enthusiasm about ‘LlamaZOO’s’ app on canine anatomy or about the staggering variety of creature mutations in ‘Mutato Match.’ Overall, this is the kind of thing the industry needs more of: putting the future into the hands of everyone, and enriching their lives with experiences they could not have in real life. Here’s looking forward to 2018!
I have some really exciting news. Over 9000 level exciting. For me, at least. If you’ve been following this blog since its beginnings as well as my Twitter, you might have noticed various callouts for getting together my Vancouver VR Events calendar which is currently living here.
Starting at the end of this month, I will be moving it to the Vancouver VR Community (short form: VR Vancouver) website!
I teamed up with the folks who run the Vancouver VR Community on Facebook (pssst join us!) to create a really awesome web presence. We’ve got a “soft launch” coming up next week, and then we’ll hopefully be live and running for the end of the month. I’m extremely passionate about all this, starting to create small merch like buttons and stickers to hand out at CVR 2017.
Another resource that will be leaving this blog will be the gamedev resources. We are also looking at helping others learn how to create for virtual reality from our community website. Kial’s gamedev blogs about learning Unity dev will still live here, but our resource links will be leaving at the end of this month, replaced with a link to the website!
I’m also really proud of the logo we’ve created together. It’s crazy that my ugly conceptual art would look so beautiful as an end product! I wrote a blog post on the community website (it’s sort of the only thing that’s up right now, haha) and I am really looking forward to writing more blogs, and photographing our meetups.
I’ll be posting more details closer to the date, but if you live in Vancouver, or if you are interested in the local happenings here in the VR space, please get at me! Truth is that I have big dreams, and I hope to help and support others’ big dreams too.
On a busy weekend, I attended the Full Indie Summit in Vancouver. I was looking forward most to Kayla’s presentation but being up working on a cosplay (yeah, I’m THAT person) until 3AM unfortunately got to me and I only got to her Q&A.
— VRMY of DARKNESS (@VRmyofDarkness) October 22, 2016
I’m really glad I got to see her Q&A because I think she touched on something that I somehow always had trouble admitting: looking forward (and yet not looking forward) to multiplayer experiences in virtual reality. I can’t help but want to share so much virtual reality with others concurrently, but at the same time, being misgendered to a lower registering vocal tone is disheartening and it makes me not want to speak to anyone in VR.
Immediately all I could think of was the (unfortunately fictional) customer service voice altering technology in Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One”. I know the book has been relentless beaten to death by VR enthusiasts, but it did scrape the surface on things/dreams like this.
I also extremely enjoyed Kert Gartner’s presentation on mixed reality trailers because a lot of what he spoke of lingered in my mind when I did a brainstorm on how to stream virtual reality on Twitch. He mentioned that one of the trailers after the dual square headset mirror view (tragically unappealing to consumers), was Sony’s announcement trailer for Playstation VR:
Now what makes this trailer so different is that it allows viewers to “emotionally connect” because you can see someone’s eyes. I thought about this a lot when creating a VR stream – what makes streams so enjoyable? Being able to connect with the streamer? I think for the most part, that’s it. When your eyes are covered, you feel like you don’t have that connection. I thought to have multiple people commanding a VR stream but I’ve yet to figure it out. If I do, well, I’ll stream it!
Loved the nod to altgames by Claris Cyarron. I think alternative experiences (non-conventional games) is perfect content for virtual reality. Creating the abstract into something with presence is what I look forward to most! Imagine this in VR:
Steve Swink’s talk covered some elements of game and puzzle design where you create your own components of why something works and how to improve your workflow. I wish I was more conscious for his talk but it was fantastic.
To close things off, Ryan Clark gave a presentation on how to make an indie hit. It came down to analyzing trends (which he streams live on his Twitch channel), finding a niche, and proper marketing. An extremely relevant talk – and easier said than done. Ryan has been analyzing trends for over a decade so it’s interesting hearing his expertise on game trends in the last few years.
It was my first Full Indie Summit and it was pretty fun! I just wish I had some more sleep, haha. (But at least I finished my cosplay… Right?)