EEVR V saw two awesome game industry events EEVR and IGDA Mixer join forces to bring a fun evening dedicated to games, virtual reality and making new connections. Although the meetup was held in Tallinn, at the Saku Suurhall convention center on august 8th, the event was a chilled out meeting of 27 like-minded enthusiasts.
First we heard from Ott Jeeser and his borderline-VR experimentation “Puppet Master” that allows you to control a game character that is an actual human walking around in the room. The Master has the controls, while the Puppet sees nothing but a smartphone display that occasionally lights up with instructions. Ott and his team have cooked up some great mini-games that people can try out, like sending your Puppet for a walk, playing soccer against other Puppets or engage in a cardboard box fight. This experiment is great for inducing the feeling of telepathy, when you see your thought being carried out in complete silence. Try it for free here – http://puppetmaster.ee/.
Ott also revealed his 360-degree videos and drawings that everyone fell in love with instantly. The videos were shot with a custom cardboard rig and with only one camera. This worked great with rather still scenes. But shooting every angle separately produced some interesting effects in moving shots – depending on where you would look, you’d see a different storyline. His workflow to create immersive drawings is to first capture the scene in reality, then print it out as a cube map, draw over it and then scan and merge all the pieces again. The results were looking incredible and we can’t wait to try them once they appear online.
Next we had Rene Rebane, presenting Rikai Games’ “Bit by Bit”, a game teaching the fundamental mindset of programming to children. Although not directly relater to VR, the presentation was still useful to many. His project was a great example of how to create something beautiful with only free weekends at your disposal. We also learned about extensive prototyping and playtesting, choosing the universal communication language (tip: avoid words) and the best distribution platform. With visual scripting making it’s way to many game engines, Bit by Bit should interest anyone who wants to get their programming concepts down. For more info check here.
Last on stage was Madis Vasser, a regular at EEVR, this time venturing into Open Source VR. Madis and his Virtual Neuroscience Lab recently became a partner with OSVR so it was only appropriate to shed some light on the whole open source vibe in VR. He began with a bit of history and some commercial software that promise to unite many different VR platforms under a single Unity plugin. When it comes to 2015, we have two big keywords: Valve’s OpenVR (that is not open source) and OSVR (that is not released). In theory one open master-platform would be good for the consumers and the developers. However Madis had concerns if maybe it is still too early to find a single standard for every headset, as this format war has not even properly begun yet. Before the event there was a chance of actually getting some Razer Hacker Developer Kits on the show floor, but sadly they didn’t make it this time around.
The evening was rounded up with the legendary demo sessions. In one corner we had the impressively detailed Displacement Theory, where the player must try to escape a sinking U-boat. The task is made difficult by the overwhelming amount of knobs and cranks to pull, and the claustrophobic environment is not exactly helping either. Get the demo from here.
Madis showed his prize-winning Nuclear Juggle, where players must use their hands via Leap Motion to catch falling plutonium rods from a overhanging refrigerator. People quickly adapted to the limits of the current Leap Motion sensor and worked out ways to save the innocent people working below. Get the game from here.
We also had Ats Kurvet, who amazed everyone with his many small Unreal Engine demos, ranging from motion capture experiments to controlling a tiny character exploring a dungeon or a wobbly box sliding down a deadly hill and mostly crashing into pieces. Expect great things from this talented developer!
Be sure to check out all the pictures from the event here