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Oculus And Epic Team Up On VR Content

Introduction

Last month I wrote a story about the premier of a short animated VR film, Henry, produced by Oculus Story Studio, which is an internal content division of Oculus started by former Pixar and Dreamworks animators and producers. In that story, I gave some of my impressions of this VR “movie” experience, and wondered aloud whether we were heading toward a new creative outcome that was difficult for us mere mortals to predict or imagine, given years of ingrained notions about movie-going, story telling, and game playing.

The article sparked a delightfully erudite discussion among Tom’s Hardware community members who seemed to push each other to think about how VR story telling might veer off the beaten path.

Coincidentally, a couple new developments arose the following week around VR content; and simultaneously, I conducted some quick email interviews with Ray Davis, GM of Epic Unreal Engine (which was used in the making of Henry), and Edward Saatchi, producer of Oculus Story Studio. I want to call out (tease?) in particular a comment that Saatchi made in response to a question about whether immersion will remove some of the community nature of watching films on a big screen. I find his answer, which you can read further into this piece, eye-opening and further proof that VR film making will take us in a much different direction than 3D filmmaking has.

I will tick off some of the news around VR content in a bullet list below, and finish this up with a verbatim replay of my interviews. First, though, I wanted to cherry-pick a few of the more interesting insights from our readers, because I think this sets the stage well for the ensuing conversations:

Now onto a few of the tidbits I found of interest:

  • A VR agency called Kaleidoscope announced that it was kicking off a traveling VR film festival from August 22 - October 14. It will visit 10 cities: Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, San Francisco, LA, Denver, Montreal, Toronto, New York City and Austin. Kaleidoscope is newly formed, by Rene Pinnell and former Industrial Light & Magic technical director Michael Breymann. The LA event on September 23 seems to coincide with the annual Oculus Connect developer conference, which is also in LA.
  • On the virtual eve of the expected release of the HTC-Valve project, Vive, Lionsgate announced it would launch a virtual reality game based on the film John Wick. The first person shooter is being developed by game developer and publisher Starbreeze, which will also be working with WEVR, which created theBlue: Encounter, a title that HTC used to introduce Vive, and Grab, another VR studio.

Before we begin the interviews, some readers may wonder why I've chosen to write about this on Tom's Hardware, and aside from the obvious VR tie-in (a platform upon which the next evolution of gaming has undoubtedly started to form, and one which demands some pretty serious hardware), one of the main things all of this points to, if you couldn't tell, is the potential convergence of game and film, albeit in a way that will have to play out over the next few years.

  • Eggz
    Can't wait to try Oculus next week! Buddy has one at work. This article makes me super stoked about it :)
    Reply
  • loki1944
    No thank you. Surround is way better imo.
    Reply
  • hixbot
    I'd like to hear how developers plan on making first person shooters. How they'll dissociate the aim of your gun from the head tracking view. I don't want to aim the gun with my head.
    Reply
  • jkflipflop98
    I'd like to hear how developers plan on making first person shooters. How they'll dissociate the aim of your gun from the head tracking view. I don't want to aim the gun with my head.

    You ever played ARMA? There's your answer. You can turn your head and look around independent of where your gun is firing. In TF2 in VR, you can lock down a hallway with the heavy weapons guy and while still firing you can look back over your shoulder to make sure there's no spies coming up on you.

    No thank you. Surround is way better imo.
    In no universe will that ever be true. You should try out an HMD once before making up your mind.
    Reply
  • loki1944
    16580718 said:
    I'd like to hear how developers plan on making first person shooters. How they'll dissociate the aim of your gun from the head tracking view. I don't want to aim the gun with my head.

    You ever played ARMA? There's your answer. You can turn your head and look around independent of where your gun is firing. In TF2 in VR, you can lock down a hallway with the heavy weapons guy and while still firing you can look back over your shoulder to make sure there's no spies coming up on you.

    No thank you. Surround is way better imo.
    In no universe will that ever be true. You should try out an HMD once before making up your mind.

    I had a DK2 and I have surround with 3xROG Swift monitors; surround wins imo.
    Reply
  • mr2shim
    16580718 said:
    I'd like to hear how developers plan on making first person shooters. How they'll dissociate the aim of your gun from the head tracking view. I don't want to aim the gun with my head.

    You ever played ARMA? There's your answer. You can turn your head and look around independent of where your gun is firing. In TF2 in VR, you can lock down a hallway with the heavy weapons guy and while still firing you can look back over your shoulder to make sure there's no spies coming up on you.

    No thank you. Surround is way better imo.
    In no universe will that ever be true. You should try out an HMD once before making up your mind.

    I had a DK2 and I have surround with 3xROG Swift monitors; surround wins imo.

    If you're being realistic you'd realize most people don't have the space, funds or care to have triple monitor setups. Besides, why are you comparing development hardware to consumer hardware? Save your doubts for consumer VR.
    Reply
  • loki1944
    16592429 said:
    16580718 said:
    I'd like to hear how developers plan on making first person shooters. How they'll dissociate the aim of your gun from the head tracking view. I don't want to aim the gun with my head.

    You ever played ARMA? There's your answer. You can turn your head and look around independent of where your gun is firing. In TF2 in VR, you can lock down a hallway with the heavy weapons guy and while still firing you can look back over your shoulder to make sure there's no spies coming up on you.

    No thank you. Surround is way better imo.
    In no universe will that ever be true. You should try out an HMD once before making up your mind.

    I had a DK2 and I have surround with 3xROG Swift monitors; surround wins imo.

    If you're being realistic you'd realize most people don't have the space, funds or care to have triple monitor setups. Besides, why are you comparing development hardware to consumer hardware? Save your doubts for consumer VR.

    Yes, I have played the series since Operation Flashpoint came out in 2001, the severe FPS drops of the Arma 2/Arma 3 and DayZ engines make them some of the worst games to use with VR. Consumer version will not overcome the nausea/de-realization/dizziness issues already found in DK1 and DK2; better tracking, higher refresh and resolution can only do so much and cannot eliminate the problem completely from FPS games. If you were realistic you'd realize that most people don't have the hardware to even drive a VR unit (take a look at the steam hardware survey).
    Reply
  • mr2shim
    16593235 said:
    Yes, I have played the series since Operation Flashpoint came out in 2001, the severe FPS drops of the Arma 2/Arma 3 and DayZ engines make them some of the worst games to use with VR. Consumer version will not overcome the nausea/de-realization/dizziness issues already found in DK1 and DK2; better tracking, higher refresh and resolution can only do so much and cannot eliminate the problem completely from FPS games. If you were realistic you'd realize that most people don't have the hardware to even drive a VR unit (take a look at the steam hardware survey).

    Most people don't have the hardware right now today. Will that change over time? Obviously it will. Most people have computers that can run Crysis maxed out. When the game was released did most people have computers with that kind of computing power? No. You're being illogical. DK2 was a massive improvement over DK1 in terms of motion sickness. There will always be naysayers, so your opinion really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

    In 3 years when you and your buddies are fapping to VR porn. Remember this..

    told ya so
    Reply
  • loki1944
    16594249 said:
    I had a DK2 and I have surround with 3xROG Swift monitors; surround wins imo.

    I doubt you've ever tried an HMD. Even with three monitors you're still only taking up a small amount of your field of view and they're fixed. Wearing an HMD is like having a big monitor all around you in 1:1 3D. You have to try one before you understand what is going on.

    Here's evidence: http://s1068.photobucket.com/user/loki1944/media/DK2_zpsdostn9ue.jpg.html Try again.
    Reply
  • loki1944
    16595551 said:
    16593235 said:
    Yes, I have played the series since Operation Flashpoint came out in 2001, the severe FPS drops of the Arma 2/Arma 3 and DayZ engines make them some of the worst games to use with VR. Consumer version will not overcome the nausea/de-realization/dizziness issues already found in DK1 and DK2; better tracking, higher refresh and resolution can only do so much and cannot eliminate the problem completely from FPS games. If you were realistic you'd realize that most people don't have the hardware to even drive a VR unit (take a look at the steam hardware survey).

    Most people don't have the hardware right now today. Will that change over time? Obviously it will. Most people have computers that can run Crysis maxed out. When the game was released did most people have computers with that kind of computing power? No. You're being illogical. DK2 was a massive improvement over DK1 in terms of motion sickness. There will always be naysayers, so your opinion really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

    In 3 years when you and your buddies are fapping to VR porn. Remember this..

    told ya so

    DK2 is still pretty terrible, resolution is not great, honeycomb effect still there, PITA to get working with games; still causes dizziness/nausea/de-realization depending on the person etc. I'm not arguing there will be a niche as with 3D Vision, but that will be it. Also your porn comment is crass and unwarranted.
    Reply