As a kid, I always wanted to be able to be able to live a video game. To this day, I still think this would be a really cool experience. Although, this is not something that is completely fictional anymore. We are now starting to see the true dawn of virtual reality technology and it will continue to be improved on as the years go by. There are endless applications for this technology but one of the coolest things, in my opinion, will be all of the incredible video game experiences you will be able to play. Being able to experience video games from a true first person perspective is something that you can’t really comprehend until you’ve tried it out yourself. If you haven’t had the opportunity to try out a VR headset in these past couple years, there are mainly three well known headsets that are getting all of the recognition. These include the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and the PS VR. All of these are very neat headsets and each play very similar games but they do have their differences. When it comes to making these games, Unity3D is a great way to go about that. Unity not only supports the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive but already has quick sample code you can use to implement into your games. Although just making your game work with VR is the first step to making a quality VR experience.
A game’s art and assets are a very important component to what makes a VR game a bad VR game. If the resolution is not high enough or textures are not detailed enough it will ruin the immersion and the game will become less enjoyable. This is not too difficult to avoid by making sure to upgrade the quality of all your art assets by using higher poly models and higher resolution textures but it is more time and effort. In a game studio this may be too much additional time and money to put into a game that already plays fine on a console or PC. This results in the only VR games that come out are either through experimentation or games that were specifically built with VR in mind. There are games that exist already that fit into each of the categories. One such game that is honestly insane to play is EVE: Valkyrie. It is a game where you man a spacecraft and take part in some crazy space battles. It’s easily an experience that you can get a little sick during because you’re spinning around and going upside down in all sorts of directions. All of this happens while you are sitting in the cockpit of your spaceship. You can even look around the cockpit as you are flying around. It feels incredibly immersive and is a great example of how to create a good experience for virtual reality. You can check out a gameplay video below.
While art assets do need to be higher resolution to work well in virtual reality, this does not mean they have to be photo realistic. It is true, a photo realistic game will seem more immersive and real to a player but a highly stylized cartoon world can also have a similar feeling. Just because it’s in VR doesn’t mean it has to reflect reality. In fact, that’s quite the opposite way of thinking when it comes to games in VR. We want to be taken to a world we have never seen before. This is where cel shaded worlds and other different creative styles will truly come to life because we will be able to experience them as if we were there. Unlike regular video games, virtual reality is still a very new medium for video games to be played in so there is still a lot to be done. If you are into virtual reality and are wanting to make games, there is no better time to get involved in the industry than now. Many of the current games are more like demos and are nothing too impactful. So get out there and experience virtual reality!
If you are wanting to get involved in making VR games I am going to post a link to some of Untiy3d’s VR API and also a video on how to implement a basic virtual reality camera into your game.
And below is the first video of video series to get you started with using virtual reality into your Unity projects. It is made by Unity3D themselves so it is definitely the most a good method of implementation. Have fun creating your own VR games!