Oculus at GDC 2018: In Booth Schedule

Oculus Developer Blog
Posted by Oculus VR
March 15, 2018

We’re less than one week away from GDC, and we’ve got a great selection of lightning talks, Q&As, and more in the Oculus booth! Today, we’re excited to announce the latest lineup of in-booth sessions, as well as a few suggested talks from the Oculus community to check out on the show floor.

We’ll kick off next week with Oculus Office hours at VRDC, and the Oculus booth (#401, South Hall) will open up on the expo floor on March 21. For developer news and updates from the conference, be sure to follow our developer Facebook and Twitter channels.

Here’s our current schedule:

Featured Session:

Inside Oculus 2018
Ross O'Dwyer Director of Engineering, Oculus, Jason Rubin VP Content, Oculus, Chris Pruett Head of Development Engineering, Oculus, Ruth Bram Producer, Oculus Studios
Wednesday, March 21 9:30 - 10:30 am PT
Location: Room 3001, West Hall
VR is about to take another leap forward in 2018, and Oculus continues to break new ground bringing cutting-edge hardware, software, and content to people around the world. Join for an inside look at what's coming across the Oculus ecosystem in 2018, from Rift, mobile and new standalone devices to the advancements, services, and tools helping developers define the next wave of immersive gaming.

In Booth Sessions

Wednesday, March 21

Developing Brass Tactics from the Ground Up
Hidden Path Entertainment Chief Creative Officer Michael Austin, Art Director Patrick Moynihan, Technical Director Steve Messick, and CEO Jeff Pobst
11:00 – 11:30 am PT
The development effort to create the VR RTS game Brass Tactics had several challenging goals: bringing familiar RTS gameplay to VR; using the Oculus Touch controllers to define a physical interface; placing the game in a visually appealing, clockwork-based play space; maximizing comfort for the audience; and making it easy for new players to pick up and play the game. The Hidden Path Entertainment team will talk about how they researched different VR techniques and approaches and put them all together in order to bring these goals to life in Brass Tactics

An Authoritative Client-Server Workflow for Small Teams
Stephane Intissar, OZWE Games CEO
11:30 am – 12:00 pm PT
This talk introduces the custom workflow OZWE developed to create an upcoming title: Programming server-side logic within their own engine, without disturbing the Unity-based workflow we’re all familiar with. This workflow lets programmers used to client-side Unity development jump into authoritative server programming, without leaving their familiar development environment.

Performance Features on Oculus Go: Mobile Power Management
Rémi Palandri, Oculus Software Engineer
12:00 – 12:30 pm PT
Learn how to leverage Oculus Go’s unique performance improvements: dynamic frequency and voltage scaling, tiled multi-resolution rendering, Vulkan, and dynamic display frequency switching.
*Talk will be livestreamed

Developing for Santa Cruz
Gabor Szauer, Oculus Developer Relations Engineer; Rade Stojsavljevic, Oculus Head of Content Strategy; and Ryan Rutherford, Oculus Software Engineer
12:30 – 1:30 pm PT

Standalone represents an exciting new category for game development and an approachable first VR platform for developers new to immersive design. Members of the Oculus Engineering and Content teams will discuss the key differences between Santa Cruz and other headsets—and offer practical insights on design and development considerations for the future of VR.

Relationships Matter: Maximizing Retention in VR Games
Isabel Tewes, Oculus Developer Relations Specialist
1:30 – 2:00 pm PT

What kind of impression do you want to leave on your players? Answer this question thoughtfully, and they’ll never forget you. Learn some of the best ways to build memorable human impact into your game so people will come back to experience the magic again and again. We’ll cover some best practices and also lean into how to make a great first impression with players, show off the personality of your game, and create a lasting connection both in and out of your experience.

No More Stalled Submissions: Virtual Reality Checks Guidelines and Developer Tools
Leon Liu, Oculus Software Engineer
2:00 – 2:30 pm PT
You’ve spent time prepping for launch—and Oculus tools can help ensure you get there. This session will introduce Oculus Virtual Reality Check (VRC) and discuss how developer tools can support you while you’re developing, debugging, and submitting an app. Learn more about the app submission workflow, Oculus technical reviews, common pitfalls, and best practices to ensure a successful VR app submission.
*Talk will be livestreamed

Release Channels: Feedback to Help Refine Your Application from Start to Finish
Patrick Flautt, Oculus Community Support Engineer

2:30 – 3:00 pm PT
Feedback is a gift—and it’s surprisingly easy to source. Using release channels on the Oculus Platform can help you find the right feedback and positively contribute to your application’s success. Release channels can be easily incorporated into your project’s unique development flow and are a vital tool for helping you dial in the purpose and viability of your application in VR. We’ll cover the two most important release channels for your application, Alpha and Beta.

Rift UI: Dash Integration and Optimization
Jian Zhang, Software Engineer

3:00 - 3:30pm
Controlling your system from within VR presents unique challenges. We’ve learned so much from building VR interfaces, especially Dash. Hear best practices directly from the Oculus PC VR team and learn more about getting your app Dash-compatible.

Aim to Win: Common Success Secrets of VR
Deborah Guzman Barrios, Oculus Developer Strategist
3:30 – 4:00 pm PT
In the nearly two years since Rift’s launch, hundreds of titles have shipped in the Oculus Store on our PC and Mobile platforms. In that time, it’s become clear that successful titles often have traits in common—and offer real insight for tricks you can easily apply to your own development. Join us as we take a closer look and chat more about the stories behind those titles, what they’ve delivered, and what’s resonated with their communities before, during, and post-launch.
*Talk will be livestreamed

Ready for Takeoff!
Phil Greenspan, Oculus Developer Strategist
4:00 – 4:30 pm PT
We’ve seen a lot of titles come to the Oculus Platform and have identified a set of steps you can take to support a successful launch. No two games are the same, so we’ll cover how to develop and optimize your own personal launch playbook, from prototyping and pricing to marketing and continuing momentum.

Thursday, March 22

Designing Social Play in Virtual Reality: Catan VR
Geoffrey Zatkin, Experiment 7 Co-Founder & Creative Director
10:30 – 11:00 am PT
Join us for a tour de force romp through the ins and outs of designing social play for the international sensation that is Catan. This talk covers the design goals and challenges of Catan VR and delves into specific design, social, visualization, and UI lessons learned during production.

New Oculus Avatars: Under the Hood
John Bartkiw, Oculus Platform Engineering Manager
11:00 – 11:30 am PT
Oculus Avatars are our building blocks for engaging social experiences. And soon, they’ll have a new look with improved performance thanks to changes in textures, meshes, and rendering. With drastically reduced compute, Avatars are even easier to use across Rift and mobile. We’ll walk through the new features and packages, plus provide tips for easy integration.

Profiling and Optimizing for Mobile
Gabor Szauer, Oculus Developer Relations Engineer
11:30 am – 12:00 pm PT
This session will explore strategies for profiling and optimizing mobile VR experiences. The tools Oculus provides to help identify and fix missed frames will be covered in depth. Common optimization techniques specific to mobile VR will also be covered. The session is mostly engine agnostic; however, a few examples specific to Unity will be given.

Live AMA with Chris Pruett
Chris Pruett, Oculus Head of Development Relations Engineering
12:00 – 1:00 pm PT
Join our own Chris Pruett—himself an indie dev, as founder of Robot Invader—for an open discussion around developing for the Oculus Platform. From design best practices to common performance pitfalls, come for the tips, and stay for the chatter.
This session will be livestreamed!

Getting the Most out of the Rift SDK
Volga Aksoy, Oculus Software Engineer
1:00 – 1:30 pm PT

Learn about some of the latest graphics features, improvements, tips, and tricks developers can use in the Rift SDK. Topics will include optimizations for performance and visual fidelity as well as an overview of the developer tools provided alongside the Rift runtime.

Locomotion Samples and Best Practices
Tom Heath, Oculus Software Engineer
1:30 – 2:00 pm PT
Whether you’re a veteran VR developer or a total newcomer, join us for a rapid run-through of best practices for locomotion and the samples available from Oculus that illustrate such practices and research.

Aim to Win: Common Success Secrets of VR
Deborah Guzman Barrios, Oculus Developer Strategist
2:00 – 2:30 pm PT
In the nearly two years since Rift’s launch, hundreds of titles have shipped in the Oculus Store on our PC and Mobile platforms. In that time, it’s become clear that successful titles often have traits in common—and offer real insight for tricks you can easily apply to your own development. Join us as we take a closer look and chat more about the stories behind those titles, what they’ve delivered, and what’s resonated with their communities before, during, and post-launch.
*Talk will be livestreamed

Unity Scriptable Render Pipeline: Our Future for Rendering
Dave Shreiner, Unity XR Graphics Lead
2:30 – 3:00 pm PT
Scriptable Render Pipelines (SRPs) represent the future of how Unity renders, ceding control of rendering from our internal drawing loop to a user-defined, scriptable interface. This talk will introduce the SRP concept, discussing the fundamental building blocks used to construct an SRP, and describe our current collection of predefined pipelines.

VR Storytelling: Learnings from the Frontlines
Dorian Dargan, Oculus Producer
3:00 – 3:30 pm PT
Storytelling in VR navigates an inherent tension between narrative and interactivity. As games and experiences increasingly converge in VR, there is a lot to learn and apply. This session will touch on the importance of things like character development and voice design, and provide practical tips to minimize friction and avoid breaking immersion.

Behind the Scenes of Coatsink’s Upcoming Title
Jon Davies, Coatsink Narrative Designer
3:30 – 4:00 pm PT
Hear the latest from Coatsink on the design of their unreleased VR title.
*Talk will be livestreamed

Only the Essentials: Optimizing with Unreal’s Profiler
Sam Deiter, Epic Games Senior Technical Writer
4:00 – 4:30 pm PT

Between assets, meshes, materials, lighting, and physics, there’s a lot that can go wrong to prevent your VR project from hitting performance. Identifying these blockers one-by-one doesn’t have to be tedious process. Join us for a hands-on demo of the Unreal Profiler to learn how real-time diagnostics can help you identify exactly which elements are holding you back from running at frame rate. Relevant for PC and mobile devs.

Creating a Storybook VR Look for Legend of Crow
Larry Cutler, CTO and co-founder, Baobab

4:30 - 5:00pm
Capturing stunning light effects in Unity is possible - just ask Baobab. Join their CTO for a closer look at the making of their next release “Legend of Crow” and the techniques used to create its distinct art style, including theatrical lighting and soft dithering.

In addition to our lightning talks within the Oculus booth, we recommend checking out the following sessions to hear more from the Oculus community at GDC:

Sunday, March 18

Amplifying New Voices
Once again, Oculus is supporting Amplifying New Voices, a one day workshop held in conjunction with the Game Developer's Conference. This program, now in its second year, provides hands-on training and coaching for applicants who demonstrate high-potential as new voices, with the goal of creating outstanding, activated role models for under-represented groups of perspectives. Applications are now closed, but if you're not already attending — consider for next year!

Monday, March 19

Explorations in XR Creation Tools
Featuring Agatha Yu, Oculus Systems Product Designer

10:00 – 11:00 am PT
Location: Room 25, North Hall
This panel presents lessons in UX design from a series of in-XR tools for creating virtual worlds, games, and apps. These insights are drawn from Unity Labs’ EditorXR, Google’s Tilt Brush, Oculus VR’s Home 2.0, and other XR authoring projects. This talk covers interface, interaction, and several tech and production techniques for using immersive tools to give people creation superpowers.

Tuesday, March 20

Producer Bootcamp: Be the Best Producer for Your Team
Ruth Tomandl, Oculus Technical Program Manager
10:00 – 11:00 am PT
Location: Room 2010, West Hall
A producer’s job is to make sure the game gets done. But what works to get things done on one team might not be effective on another, and a producer who is phenomenal on one team may struggle on another. This talk will review core skills that all producers need and outline three producer specializations and their strengths. In this lecture, Ruth Tomandl will discuss different types of teams, what they each need from their producers, and how producers can identify and build new strengths that will help their team succeed.

Audio Bootcamp XVII: Lunchtime Surgeries
Featuring Scott Selfon, Oculus Audio Experiences Lead
12:20 – 1:50 pm PT

Location: Room 3004, West Hall
An opportunity for deeper conversations with Audio Bootcamp speakers over lunch in a smaller scale setting. Grab some food and then come back to sit at tables in the round with the day’s speakers on the topics that are top of mind for you about the industry, the day’s topics, and the questions at the top of attendee minds.

Wednesday, March 21

What’s Next? A Game Audio Microtalk Series
Featuring Scott Selfon, Oculus Audio Experiences Lead
9:30 – 10:30 am PT
Location: Room 3006, West Hall

Inspired by the perennial refrain from The West Wing’s President Bartlet, game audio asks “What’s Next?” Ten different stories from 10 different game audio professionals, from voice actors to audio directors to composers to VR hardware designers, all chiming in with five minutes and 20 seconds to tell stories addressing the question, “What’s Next?”

Thursday, March 22

Embodying Identity through Immersive Design
Featuring Ruth Bram Producer, Oculus Studios, Jenny Huang Sr. Development Director, Sanzaru, Jessa Brezinski Product Manager, Harmonix, Chloe Skew Producer, Turtle Rock Studios
11:30 - 12:30 pm PT
Location: Room 3014, West Hall
VR has introduced an entirely new design paradigm where players don’t just connect with protagonists, they embody them. In turn, game designers now have a vastly expressive sandbox where sound, environments, and characters are defined by their own boundless creativity. VR’s physicality demands diverse perspectives to ensure immersive worlds resonate with the unique individuals experiencing them--it’s complex. Leaders behind top Oculus Studios Gear VR and Rift titles will discuss best practices, common pitfalls, and the key principles to winning immersive design, the next frontier for game creation.

Friday, March 23

Indie After College: Surviving the Transition
Featuring Ted DiNola, Oculus Development Engineer
1:30 – 2:00 pm PT
Location: Room 3007, West Hall

Going indie immediately after school can be fantastic, but it can also leave you in the poorhouse with bills to pay! This lecture can’t help with that part, but it can give you testimonials from three people who succeeded after (and during) college in different ways, with nods to their failures as well. Ted DiNola (Oculus, Funomena), Asher Vollmer (Threes, Puzzlejuice), and Jenny Jiao Hsia (Beglitched) will share with you how they managed to make the transition.