Oculus at GDC 2019: Event Recap

Oculus Developer Blog
Posted by Oculus VR
March 25, 2019

Game Developer Conference 2019 is a wrap and if you attended, you probably have the added knowledge, new friends and maybe a bit of swag to show for it. If you were unable to make it, or (like most) you were simply in meetings 24/7, we will be providing a series of articles to help catch you up, so be sure to return throughout this week for more information on the many learnings, talks, and presentations around VR development at this year's GDC.


Rift S Available Spring, 2019
On the Wednesday of GDC, we were excited to announce Rift S, our latest 6DOF HMD that will feature improved optics, inside-out tracking via Oculus Insight, Passthrough+ our latest true-stereo passthrough feature, and many more features you can review on the announcement blog post.

Beat Saber Coming to Quest
To go along with our latest hardware news, earlier in the week we kicked up the energy by announcing that Beat Saber will be an initial launch title on the Oculus Quest. If you're interested in learning more about the history of the wildly successful rhythm game, check out the announcement blog post which includes an interview with Michaela Dvorak of Beat Games.

Even More Quest + Rift S Game News
As if new hardware and Beat Saber announcements weren't enough, we also provided our VR community with the following VR game news at GDC:

For even more information on the game-focused announcements above, feel free to read this Oculus Gaming News Post.

Panels and Presentations

While GDC mainly consists of back-to-back-to-back meetings for many in attendance, the numerous talks presented throughout the event are wildly insightful, and inspiring, we could only wish there was more time in the day to attend them all. See below for a few highlights, while we will also be posting more presentation insights later this week.

6DOF Sculpting and Simulation
David Farrell, Software Engineer, Oculus Medium

In this talk, David shared how 6DOF controllers (such as the Oculus Touch) can be used to guide a simulation of elastic materials in VR. Using his experience developing Oculus Medium, he explained how 6DOF controllers can be used to represent an affine transformation, how that can be used with a physically based simulation based on Kelvinlets, and several practical tips and tricks learned in development. Obviously this talk went quite deep, but thankfully you can visit the following link for sample code, as well as the full presentation coming soon: 6DOF Sculpting and Simulation Sample Code.

Engaging VR Storytelling: A 'Moss' Postmortem
Corinne Scrivens, Principle Artist, Polyarc

While Quill from Moss is arguably one of the most beloved characters in VR, this talk provided an insightful presentation on how the character and her world were created/developed. Although early on the team at Polyarc pondered the main character as a giant, children's toy, or a playful alien, they decided on animals with armor after much debate on what would work best for VR. With only an 18-month dev cycle and a team of 15, the team got to work. The principles they used during development were organized into the following DEER acronym:

  • Define what is needed
  • Embrace constraints and strengths
  • Experiment and explore
  • Review via playtesting

Throughout the presentation, Corinne outlined the many learnings and processes the Polyarc team used per each of the line items above, making for an insightful talk about the storytelling process, and the value of a truly beloved character.

We recommend keeping an eye on the GDC Youtube Channel, and GDC Vault for videos of the two presentations above, and be sure to keep an eye out on this blog for more VR presentation recaps + learnings throughout this week.

Happy Hours, Mixers and Other Social Events

The MIX: SF Indie Showcase
Our friends at the Media Indie Exchange through yet another stellar after-hours event offering the best in indie game demos, conversation and socializing. Just a snapshot of the VR games included:

We're always happy to support our indie community and we look forward to sponsoring even more upcoming indie activities at events like PAX West 2019.

Oculus Developer Event
During the middle of the week, we hosted an Oculus Developer-focused event, enabling our dev community to talk shop, grab a bite and check out games like Vacation Simulator, Asgard's Wrath and Dead and Buried 2. While Wednesday is the busiest of days for post-event productivity (socializing), we believe everyone was excited to connect and try the latest Oculus demos, prior to calling it a night (...or going out for some late night karaoke).

Alt-Ctrl Party
Two things this editor learned from GDC 2019: This community loves their Karaoke and Alt-Ctrl is an absolute must see.

If you have not checked it out, Alt-Ctrl is an annual opportunity for developers across the globe to show off their creativity by creating games where the controllers are...alternative. Ranging from a 1v1 guitar hero meets pong concept, to a puppet show where you're the puppet, GDC is constantly buzzing with excitement around what they will find next in this booth. We had the pleasure of sponsoring their end-of-week party which included a sampling of their alt-ctrl games, as well as a bit of live math music to ring in the close of this year's marathon of a conference.

Thank you to all of our partners, developers, friends, volunteers, and everyone that makes GDC the massively fun and informative experience it is. Be sure to keep an eye on this blog for more info from this year's event and we'll see you next year!

- The Oculus Team