Monday, July 22, 2013

Blips: Virtual Reality, Real Headaches

Source: Falling, flying, and headaches: the physical and unique demands of development in virtual reality
Author: Ben Kuchera
Site: Penny Arcade Report

No one said developing games to use the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset would be easy, but turns out it's a bit more physically taxing than standard flatscreen monitor development. In a report by Ben Kuchera that made me slightly nauseous just by reading it, he speaks with the team behind AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome, which is easiest to understand as a first-person skydiving game. You fall through the air and maneuver yourself through various targets as you go to score points.

Now imagine having to fine tune that experience to minimize the amount of cases where players feel ill playing the game. This means that developers have to undergo all of those headache-inducing bugs and design flaws themselves. Just thinking about a bug where you're falling and then one of your eye-views just begins spinning uncontrollably is enough to make me never want to play a VR game before it's finished lest I find myself strapped inside some Clockwork Orange reeducation machine. Luckily the developers of AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome are taking precautions and take days off from working on the VR when the physical demands of the task become too much. Why do I feel like crunch time at big studios is about to get a whole lot more stressful?

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