My First Virtual Reality Film Festival!
About two weeks ago I attended the Kaleidoscope 2015 Virtual Reality Film Festival in Seattle. I actually found out about it from an email that hit my inbox the day of the event, made a quick decision that I couldn't miss this, and bought a ticket. After work I grabbed a quick bite to eat and then took the Link down to Metropolist in SODO. The scene I walked into upon entering the venue was very cool, and definitely blew away my expectations. A few dozen people sat in chairs at different stations, GearVR headsets on, all enjoying their own worlds, isolated and oblivious to the other attendees sitting just inches away from them. The rest of the crowd was standing in line or talking about the VR short films they'd just watched. It was a fascinating thing to see.
I enjoyed a few different short films during the festival and there was an entertaining panel with four of the VR film creators, who talked about what brought them to the medium and the various challenges in creating immersive content. Both live action 360 degree videos and animated immersive experiences made appearances at the show and got me thinking about how the VR entertainment industry might evolve. With both 360 video and drone technology progressing as they are, creating interesting (or not at all interesting) immersive videos will be dead easy compared to creating content from scratch in a game engine. Personally, I'm still more interested in the latter, but it's no small task to make it. Compare tossing a camera laden drone into the air to modeling, texturing, animating, coding, etc. for a game and you can see why I think we will have a lot more live action videos than we will have games for VR.
My favorite part of the festival was chatting with the people working on bringing immersive content to the world. Everyone I have met has been friendly, insightful, and enthusiastic about VR. The Seattle VR community is still small, but it's vibrant and growing fast. I feel so glad to be part of it and definitely glad I decided to go to the festival.
You can see all of the short films shown at the festival at the Kaleidoscope website: http://www.kvrff.com/
Where've I Been?!
Since my last post, reality (i.e. work, preparing for the wedding, having the apartment painted, etc) has been rather distracting from virtual reality, but I have still been slowly chipping away at my first immersive videogame! I've simplified the idea down tremendously (I was a bit ambitious in thinking I could model and animate multiple human characters). Even still, with very little game development experience I find myself spending a lot of time deliberating over design decisions and creative decisions that would probably be a lot easier for me otherwise. I recently decided to switch over to developing in Unity instead of Unreal Engine as well, so a lot of the progress I made in Unreal needs to be re-done. Fortunately, I'm finding that I can build things a bit faster in Unity. I'll make sure to post more updates about the game as I make more progress.