The long road to VR

Have a little time to decompress today, as I made some major breakthroughs on the VR front.  Real quick some side-notes:

  • I'll put up some new demos shortly, I've heard that they aren't working for some people
  • we go into early access on May 14th, two weeks before official launch
  • for those of you waiting on some fixes to Dungeon Crawlers SD on iOS, my apologies, our latest submission was rejected, but a new build is on the way.
  • I've finally fixed the last major save bug, having to do with doors not always reacting the right way, so i will have saving for the challenge maps enabled for PC launch

Now, back to VR.

First off, I had my first VR experience (well, technically my first VR experience was in san francisco playing Duke Nukem 3D, but it was a joke compared to what we're talking about now) last September at Unite.  Instead of playing some mind-blowing first person demo, the Oculus folks were showing off what a platformer looked like in VR, and I was mega impressed.  I should mention, for those of you who don't own the Oculus DevKit, that really, we're not talking about anything much different from a 3D TV or a Nintendo 3DS.  Because you put on a giant helmet and can't see anything around you, it is by far the most immersive virtual experience I've ever witnessed, but if you're wondering what Oculus VR looks like, well, it looks like the things i mentioned before.  I believe VR and AR (in particular the HoloLens) are of immense importance as the video game landscape continues to mature and grow.

Today was the first day i could say i have a legit VR demo on my hands.  When you look around the cursor moves with you, you have a full 360 degree view of the playing field, controllable with the controller.  It's the only version of the game that lets you look at the game as if it were a 3rd-person adventure, instead of the board-game style presentation it has now.

But, the Oculus SDK is not without its drawbacks.  First off - it crashes, A LOT.  The builds seem to be stable, but Unity must've crashed on me 50+ times on my way to making that build.  Second - UI in Oculus is giant, nasty, pain in my ball sac.  

There are two main issues with UI's in VR:
1. The documentation is poor, and its very difficult to get a UI up and running.  Basically it relies on 'tricks'.  You render the UI camera to a texture, then draw that texture to a plane, then attach that plane to the VR camera.  It's stupid.  They should add native UI support and thats that. and
2. You have to rethink your UI strategy, because text at the top and bottom of the screen on a monitor doesn't fly in VR.  Think about it - the UI moves where you move, so when you tilt your head down to look at the UI, its still lower than you can visibly read it.  it's very tricky indeed.

but hey, its working, and about 3 days ago i wouldn't have thought i'd get this far this fast.