I Think I'm No Longer a VR Developer

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

I recently realized that I haven't updated my blog in like 9 months. I haven't really talked with anyone from the VR community for about half of that. So among the few that might even wonder what happened to me, none would know. I want to try to fill things in now, but I know I'll easily go off on rants. So I'm going to try to keep things shorter and more informational.

I've lost interest in VR. I've been reluctant to declare that I've given up on it completely, but I'm as close to that as I can be. The "Why" isn't a simple answer, as I guess that it involves several factors.

First is my failure to become a part of the VRChat team. While I did eventually get an offer to join, it was to little to late. By that time I was forced to convince myself that I didn't really want it, and I'd need to find my own path to a future in VR. At the root of that is that like many, yes, I want a future in VR development.

Next is from the view of me as a VR consumer. While I've been deving for 2 years, I've been a waiting consumer for 3-4 years. But in that time I can't think of a single game that has been announced as being developed for VR that I remotely care about. My interest in normal gaming faded with each generation past the 16bit era. Why games interested me less and less each generation is a complicated answer, but the short is that the types of games I liked before were, in my view, adapted poorly to 3D polygonal graphics, and games like FPS's emerged out of nowhere to represent the standard of gaming, while I don't care for those at all. VR was a chance to start over. But instead of just FPS after FPS, it seemed like space sim after space sim. And beyond that little else. I'd love to see a good RPG, high fantasy story based game, interesting puzzle game or appealing platformer. But I just haven't. Granted, I haven't looked into VR games in 5 months, but I doubt there's anything, And if there was now, its to late. Why? That brings me on to the next issue.

This issue is both as a consumer and dev. WTF! The prices for the Rift/Vive are absolutely, without a doubt, utter fucking horrible! When I first saw the Rift announced as being priced at $600, well my initial thought was "Yay! They smartened up and decided to get the Touch controls done early and bundled with the Rift after all! Its still a $100 to expensive, but I guess I can see it as reasonable for 1st gen hardware". That was of course followed by the realization that no, they just doubled the price and you still get just the head set (besides a remote and gamepad you don't want). The price is an absolute insult and slap in the face to anyone whos been waiting for VR for these years. A huge part of why the idea of VR took off with the Rift KS years ago was the price range. I was willing to pay a little more then $300. I didn't like it, but I could understand. I was going to be fine with $400. I might have come around to $450. $500 if the Touch was included. But no. Oculus seemed to have no interest in targeting a reasonable price range to appeal to people beyond a niche audience. As a consumer, that's just WAY to freaking much! Even if there was a decent line up of interesting games. As a dev, why would I want to make a VR game that has a audience that is so small due to such an absurd price barrier? I gave up on Oculus and waited till the Vive price was announced, but that disappointed me too. Both are $200-$300 to expensive. Sonys VR sounds closer to reasonable, but it's still garbage that requires a console. Might even have lower specs too. I forget. If so, the price is probably equally terrible. Oculus lowered the bar, and the others didn't care to put it back up where it should be.

Finally, I've been struggling to find a project to work on to one day have financial success with in VR. I have several ideas, but none seem to pan out for whatever reason. I know what types of things I'd like to make, but those are beyond my skills/means. So I try to think of projects that are closer to reality for me right now. But those are hard to remain passionate about. Even harder when considering the 3 issues I've mentioned above. When my overall interest in VR is so low, its just hard for me to be excited about such projects.

So thats were I'm at. I'm tinkering with different projects and ideas, but if they are for VR is no longer a given. I've had to shift my desire to develop towards 2D screen games. That's something I never had much of a interest in before. It's financially more viable as there's more of a audience. But it lacks the resonance that VR once had for me. Some of my ideas are just developing assets for the unity store. I was working on one last year which is now on the shelve as it was VR centric. Instead I have some that are a bit more generalized. But asset store content would be little more then a step. Not a career.

This may as well serve as a goodbye to the VR community, as I'm not sure if I'll ever be active there again. I met tons of great people in my 3-4 years among them and I guess I feel they deserve that. So if I don't come back, there you go. But for now, I don't know where I am, let alone where I'm going to declare anything with any certainty. =/


Unknown said...

Argh don't say it's so.. :(
I was looking forward to reliving your creations and future projects in the CV1!

This grieves me.

DarkAkuma said...

For a long time now I've been thinking about just releasing what I've had done for Project Ocarina. It would take less time then to do it how I originally wanted, but would still take some time though. Which is why I haven't. Generally if I have time to spend on such thing, I more want to put into something that helps build towards my future.

So I'm left in a position where I don't want to declare that project done, but I don't ever seem to move forward on it. Maybe someday.

For that, about the only scenario I can see atm would be if Oculus/HTC drop the hardware prices by a more reasonable -$200. Then I might buy one, and want to see PJO in that new hardware myself. And in the process of updating it get it done to a bear minimum to release.

As far as future project go. Well, I'm polishing up some assets I was working on last year for a VR Asset pack, and releasing them 1 by 1 on the Unity asset store. So maybe you will start seeing some of my work on other peoples project, even if you don't know it.

And the past few weeks I've been hyping up the idea of pursuing a kind of dream of mine. Making a RPG. I've wanted to make a 2D RPG, but in addition to knowing its a huge task, my life was VR and that just didn't mix. That idea has recently gain more traction with me, and I'm now even strongly considering a 2.5D isometric RPG. That opens the door for VR. If you ever saw a demo put together by gerad you can get the idea. He basically downloading a Top Down asset pack from the Unity store, drop a OVR camera in it, and compiled. It was enough for me to know I would love to play a RPG like that.

My RPG would draw a lot of inspiration from my favorite 16 bit era RPGs. It would be a lot of work, but a lot of fun!

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