Connect was Oculus VR’s inaugural event dedicated solely to virtual reality. It was a huge success in terms of bringing like minded developers together in one space but was also home to some fascinating keynotes and presentations on virtual reality. Luckily, especially as attendance capacity was limited, Oculus filmed them all and as promised has now released all of them online so that those who couldn’t make it can view for themselves.
Pioneering Talks from Industry Leaders
Oculus Connect played host to some pretty incredible presentations in its short, 2 day duration. The keynotes were required viewing for anyone with a passing interest in VR, in particular Oculus CTO John Carmack’s revealing and candid discussion of his first year developing for Samsung’s Gear VR headset and Chief Scientist Michael Abrash’s enlightening thoughts on the state and future of VR as he saw it.
- John Carmack’s Brilliant Oculus Connect Keynote Goes ‘off Message from the Standard PR Plan’
- Michael Abrash: “If Palmer Luckey Hadn’t Prototyped the Rift, VR Wouldn’t Be on the Verge of Taking Off”
Oculus have now made available both video recordings of all the event’s talks and digital versions of the accompanying presentations, something that anyone working on development in the VR space will be extremely interested to check out. We’ve embedded all except the keynotes below with links to the accompanying presentations.
Introduction to Audio in VR – [Brian Hook, Audio Engineer] – Presentation Here
Connect was the first time Oculus really focussed on highlighting the importance of Audio in virtual reality. Brian Hook here dives into an exploration on how we perceive audio and how important it is to enhancing the feeling of presence in VR.
Getting Started with Gear VR – [Max Cohen, Head of Mobile and Ryan Rutherford, Software Engineer] – Presentation Here
Gear VR is a mobile VR headset that was formed as part of a collaboration between mobile giant Samsung and Oculus. It’s the first VR headset with an Oculus badge to be made commercially available (rumour has it launching in December of this year) and has made a big impression since it was announced at the beginning of September. Cohen gives a brief high-level introduction into the device while Rutherford dives a little deeper into the technical capabilities of Gear VR and how developers might approach producing content for it—in particular, how to optimise applications for the low power requirements. Mostly Unity based, Rutherford uses four example prototypes to give developers an overview of different development approaches.
Mastering the Oculus SDK – [Volga Aksoy, Software Engineer and Michael Antonov, Chief Software Architect] – Presentation Here
A session focussing on programming with C++ utilising the Oculus SDK, covering technical details and tips on working with some newer DK2 specific SDK features and future advancements such as Timewarp improvements.
Integrating the Oculus Rift into Unreal Engine 4 – [Nick Whiting, Lead Programmer and Nick Donaldson, Senior Designer – both from Epic Games] – Presentation Here
Unreal Engine 4 has been part of the Oculus story almost from the beginning. With every new hardware iteration comes another UE4 powered demo, so it’s fitting that Epic Games were present at Oculus Connect. Here Donaldson and Whiting dive into details on who best to utilise the Unreal Engine toolset and some of the technical challenges of rendering in stereo and optical distortion.
Film and Storytelling in VR – Panel – Presentation Here
Oculus Director of Film and Media, Eugene Chung, moderates a panel about film and storytelling in VR with Robert Stromberg, John Gaeta, Saschka Unseld, and Kim Liberi at Oculus Connect. An impressive roster of hollywood luminaries with credits from ‘creator of bullet time’ and ‘fastest grossing movie’ discuss the history of storytelling in film and what creative challenges film and content creators in virtual reality face while pioneering this new movie medium.
Learning from Lucky’s Tale – [Dan Hurd, Design Director and Paul Bettner, CEO both from Playful] – Presentation Here
Playful are a Texas based development studio who are working on a 3rd person platformer called Lucky’s Tale which debuted at GDC this year. They talk about the gestation of Lucky’s Tale and the development process that culminated in what people played at GDC.
The Human Visual System and the Rift – [Richard Yao, Research Scientist] – Presentation Here
Richard Yao, a Perceptual Psychologist at Oculus, discusses how we as humans perceive virtual worlds presented to us.
The Value of VR for Professional Applications – [Sebastian Kuntz, CEO MiddleVR] – Presentation Here
Sebastien Kuntz shares some thoughts on applications based in VR for the professional market. CEO of MiddleVR, he specialises in tools that make building VR applications quicker and easier.
Developing VR Experiences with the Oculus Rift – [Tom Forsythe, Software Architect] – Presentation Here
Tom Forsythe gives a presentation on the subtleties of developing for virtual reality: the higher level aspects specific to VR applications that when handled correctly lead to comfortable and compelling VR experiences.
Elevating Your VR – [Tom Heath, Software Engineer] – Presentation Here
Tom Heath discusses what he’s learned about elements of a VR demo or application that elevate it from merely good to great.
Building the First Rift Development Kit – [Nirav Patel, Engineer] – Presentation Here
Nirav Patel is an engineer that some may remember was employed early on by Oculus after developing an impressive new tracking IMU. Nirav discusses the process of making Oculus’ first ever development kit, the DK1.
360 Degree Filmmaking for VR – [Panel] – Presentation Here
Kamal Sinclair, Chris Milk, Paul Raphaël, and Ikrima Elhassen discuss the emerging world of 360-degree Filmmaking for VR headsets. It’s one aspect of the new VR industry in which we’ve seen enormous growth already.