As our fifth annual Oculus Launch Pad program has come to a close, we’re thrilled to announce our 2020 Oculus Launch Pad grant recipients and open the applications for Oculus Launch Pad 2021 through 4:59pm PT on July 30, 2021.
When we launched Oculus Launch Pad in 2016, our goal was to support a diverse group of promising VR content creators with hands-on training and resources. In the past five years, that goal has only grown. VR is for everyone, and the best way to grow a vibrant content ecosystem is to incorporate the full range of unique perspectives from our developer community.
Last year, we welcomed 100 new developers to join us for three days of virtual learning, sharing best practices, unique perspectives, and inspiring ideas to help every program member define their creation goals. We invited them to continue that momentum through Facebook Connect and guided them throughout the remainder of 2020 as they created new VR experiences.
Launch Pad attendees then had four months to build a prototype that could be submitted for consideration as part of our Launch Pad Scholarship program. Ten teams were selected for scholarship after review of the projects created during the full Launch Pad program. These recipients will receive additional support, guidance, and a combined $250,000 USD worth of funds from Oculus, as we work directly with each team to help bring their projects to the next level.
Today, we’re excited to introduce the 2020 Launch Pad grant recipients and their VR projects that are helping to push the industry in exciting new directions.
Applications are now open for the 2021 Launch Pad program! Those interested in participating can apply now through 4:59pm PT on July 30, 2021.
App descriptions provided by grant recipients.
Supersonic Rhyme Chamber Quest
Juan Morales-Rocha, Project Lead/Game UI/UX Designer
Hesiquio Mendez Alejo, Technical Designer
Bryan Dilligard, Narrative Designer/Composer
Jonathan Morales-Rocha, Technical Artist
Jonathan Jennings, Software Engineer
What is the Supersonic Rhyme Chamber? That’s a great question! Some know it as an ethereal dimension that you are transported to when you engage in a rap battle. Others recognize it as the centennial tournament where the greatest rappers from around the multiverse gather to compete for the chance to be crowned the Supersonic Rhyme Champion!
Supersonic Rhyme Chamber (aka SRC) is a VR rap & rhythm game where you are dropped into a world that is ruled by rhyme and flow, and you must learn the ways of hip-hop to make your way back home! Rap battle your way through colorful lands as you encounter strong rivals and the dopest of friends. As you improve your skills and collect all the keys, will you be able to become a legendary MC?
Tinker VR Quest
Lou Ward, Director
Avril Martinez, Audio Engineer
Christopher David, Developer
Roberto Tan, Developer
Neil Realubit, Developer
Tinker VR is an interactive performance that utilizes real-time VR interactions to provide each individual with a unique narrative experience—one of purpose, one that endeavors to convey the profound mental effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Over the course of five vignettes, the participant witnesses the grandfather’s gradual cognitive deterioration; moreover, this descent is underlined through interactions with meaningful objects. These interactions change dramatically as the narrative progresses alongside the grandfather’s own decline.
Red Giants Rift S
Matt Hoffman, Producer/Lead Developer/Composer
Gabriella Hoffman, UX Design/Writer
Walking in space is a fanciful idea for most of us, but becomes an unreachable goal for you, when you sit in the wheelchair of a twelve-year-old boy and discover that you must navigate the very solid surface of Earth without your feet touching the ground. Are your dreams of space travel to be crushed? Or will you find the path you seek in a way you would have never imagined?
Red Giants is an interactive narrative—storytelling at its best. As the hero of the story, you are challenged to step out of your shoes, face up to your physical limitations, and dare to explore your potential in areas you have previously failed to consider. Learn to operate a manual wheelchair with ease and interact with the world around you from this novel perspective. Expand your knowledge of stars and star systems and gain appreciation for the magnitude of the universe. Travel back in time to witness the multicultural origin-stories of constellations, then try your hands at creating some. Mingle with celestial bodies in a cosmic space populated by familiar faces and mythical creatures. Give wings to your imagination in a virtual space where music is an essential element of your stellar journey.
Our America Rift S
Bryant Young, Engineer/Creative Director
Lukas Shwarzer, Artist
Macy Mils, Engineer/Artist
Leon Pao, Engineer
Krystal Dawn, Writer
Our America is a branching narrative VR experience about being Black in America. The experience is from the point of view of a Black father who is taking his son, Malcolm, to school. Along the story, the audience must navigate through different forms of racism in many interactions. This story ultimately comes to a climax when the audience must interact with an officer during a traffic stop.
Noro & the Cosmic Coast Rift S
Cody Kicklighter, Director/Developer
What if the well-being of all things was connected? What a puzzle that would be…
Noro & the Cosmic Coast is an adventure-puzzle game in which players follow the Traveler on his journey to the edge of the cosmos as he searches for a cure that will save his little girl, Noro. To get there he will need help from creatures he meets along the way, who have their own stories and struggles. These creatures live on puzzle-planets that the player must take apart and rebuild so that everyone’s needs are taken care of. Players will eventually connect the resources and skills of planets and creatures all across the cosmos in order to create a perfect universe and ultimately save Noro.
UNDR H2O Rift S
Tyler Blust, Game Director/Developer/Writer
Anthony Mikicic, Game Director/Lead Artist/Audio
Elliot Vian, UI + UX Lead
James Gartland, Developer
Marc Nie, Animator
UNDR H2O is a narrative based, action-adventure, room defense game. It takes place in the City of Cloudy Day, where a plumbing disaster that killed thousands of citizens led to the rise of the Plumber Heroes: five extraordinary superhero plumbers who saved the city and continue to protect it to this day. They do so with the help of Plumber Co., a corporation they founded to help with the difficult task. 13 years after the disaster, step into the shoes of Marco, an aspiring teenager whose dream is to become the greatest Plumber Hero the city has ever seen! There’s just one problem. His late father was the mastermind behind the disaster, the most infamous supervillain the Plumber Heroes ever faced!
The core game will be following Marco’s journey to becoming a Plumber Hero, working with zany AI companions, joining secret organizations, and protecting the city. UNDR H2O will be filled with tons of 1:1 interactions and real-world based tools with a VR twist. The most unique part of our game is instead of your character having a health bar, the room is your health bar! Each main level of the story will also be turned into an endless mode level with upgrades, tool skins, and more!
AfterNow Prez Quest
Jeffrey Breugelmans, Lead Developer
AfterNow Prez can best be described as "PowerPoint meets Zoom inside XR."
As the world grows increasingly interconnected, people keep finding new ways to share their unique perspectives and ideas. These connections tend to be limited to audio and/or 2D visuals, however. At AfterNow, we empower storytellers to deliver more immersive and impactful experiences by taking communication to the next level—no coding or 3D modeling experience needed!
AfterNow Prez caters specifically to XR presentations. We developed the platform with trainers and educators in mind, by sticking to familiar concepts such as assets, slides, animations, and transitions. It is this singular focus on effective presentation delivery, alongside well-defined user roles, that distinguishes Prez from more general collaboration-oriented apps. The presenter sets their stage and remains in full control of the content and progress.
Hey Pops! Quest
Gerardo Hernandez, Director/Developer
Megan Scott, Director/Developer
Your grandfather, a world-renowned magician, mysteriously vanished—the world suspects it’s tied to shady business dealings. You and your sibling are determined to prove his innocence, so you set off in search of truth. With a touch of magic, a top hat, and friendship, dive into a world of fantasy that’s tied to your enigmatic grandfather’s origins and unveil what really happened.
Hey Pops! allows you to jump into the story first-hand to become your grandpa’s greatest apprentices. Phase into fragmented memories, working together while you use your wands to build and break elements. Your top hat holds everything you might hope to keep. Solve puzzles and piece together who your grandfather really was, why he disappeared, and discover the meaning of your lineage.
Told with the stages of grief, this three-act intergenerational story follows Harlee and Ryland as they work through the complex emotions of loss and letting go, all while learning about the challenges that grandpa faced as one of the few Black magicians of his time.
This story shines a light on an underrepresented community while engaging players in a compelling cooperative narrative experience.
Jacqueline Assar, Producer
Emily Pascual, Product Management
Jack Jeworski, Business Development
Cody Bennett, Lead Developer
Kat Schneider, Lead Designer
Embark on a social cooking adventure around the world! In Potluck, players are greeted with a delightful and realistic cooking experience. Practice each recipe as the chef guides you step-by-step. Take cooking lessons with friends or loved ones, or participate in a live event with a chef.
Potluck gives chefs a platform to become the protagonists of their own uniquely human stories. Each chef’s cooking lesson tells food stories about who they are, what matters to them, and their culture. Players experience culturally enriching content in our kitchens and social spaces. These environments are customized with each cuisine in mind, including culturally specific cooking tools, design elements, and art.
Our vision is to create a global potluck—an exchange of different viewpoints and traditions. Consider how a potluck works: People come together to share a dish of theirs and enjoy the dishes of others. Similarly, in our app, users bring with them their own experiences and leave having engaged with the diverse experiences of others. By learning about a wide array of culinary and cultural backgrounds, people can expand their worldview and their understanding of food. That, we believe, is a good thing.
The Potluck team is happy to announce our first cooking lesson with Japanese chef Yohei Kamiya.
Vernacular Rift S
Lara Bucarey, Designer
Joshua Angeley, Software Engineer
William Cram, Animation
Christopher Toppino, World Building
Krishan Rajaratnam, UI/UX Engineer
Vernacular is an immersive language learning experience that transports travelers to cities across the world. Converse with virtual characters, engage in practical scenarios, and explore a new culture through this quest-driven landscape. Fusing neuroscience research with game design, Vernacular promises to not only be a fun but effective new way to learn a new language! In this module, learn how to order a drink in Japanese from inside a virtual cat cafe.
As we welcome the 2020 Launch Pad grant recipients, we hope to guide them to building VR projects that consider different perspectives and abilities, focus on inclusivity, and create simple controls and settings that are easy to understand, and are clear about the implications of that choice. We couldn’t be more thrilled to continue working with our newest grant recipients and can’t wait to welcome a new class of VR developers into Launch Pad.
Oculus Launch Pad 2021 applications are now open! Click here to apply now.