Game Developer’s Conference!

Originally published on March 6, 2017 at

Thanks to the generosity of Oculus, I attended my first Game Developer’s Conference last week, or GDC. It was inspiring and creatively invigorating to meet top developers from around the world at one location. I constantly felt pulled between the rich networking opportunities and making sure to save time continue my own project developments. The surplus of creative energy in the air definitely helped with the latter!

A major highlight was definitely catching up with my fellow talented cohorts from Oculus Launchpad; Jewel Lim, above, has successfully shipped her VR experience FOUND to great reviews, and others like Evie Powell, are attracting long lines at test sessions of her newest game, Snowball Fight VR, soon to be released. Congratulations, ladies!

Dinner with Launchpaddians

Conferences are great places to take the temperature of the industry. From my conversations, it seems that expectations around the world for VR have been running high, that hardware and software is going through its grand shakeout, but that content has been disappointingly slow to follow. For example, the big question of “how do we create narrative VR content?” continues to plague developers and VCs, as evidenced in my discussions with folks as far ranging as an innovative fund from China looking to the US in their search.

Of course no GDC would be complete without test-driving some new demos and experiences! I tried out VVR and Battle Planet, though I was really hankering for some 360 video experiences. Unfortunately, Youtube was down when I visited the Google Daydream booth. I also made sure to try the much talked about and scary Paranormal, though found it difficult to navigate the tight spaces in Vive and therefore did not find the experience as affecting as I was expecting it to be.

Attending Oculus’ Game Day, there were quite a few shoot-em-up VR experiences that had long lines, but one simple but very effective game that impressed me was TERMINAL, created for Gear VR. It’s a game in which you need to infiltrate offices and hack terminals. What was most unique was its use of shifting POVs from 1st person to 3rd person (you watch yourself over CCTV during certain moments). Though this was a game, I thought this shift was used to great effect to create a sense of drama and tension as you dodge security robots and infrared sensors ready to swoop in on you and catch you red-handed at any moment.

The last day, I made sure to visit with some audio solutions, like WWise and OSSIC. I’d been big fans of OSSIC since previous VR meetups and this time they have created a new and very impressive audio demo, where you literally pick up audio objects in space and sense them aurally change as you manipulate their position around your ears. Sound hard to believe? Find them at their next VR demo to hear it for yourself!

The only woman on this panel is also a former Launchpad member!