Halsey Minor, the founder of CNET, today announced at Oculus Connect the launch of Voxelus, an ‘end-to-end’ virtual reality content creation platform for PC and Mac that lets anyone easily create VR games, experiences, and places without the need of code.
Voxelus is sort of a simplified game engine, which uses a UI that is very ‘drag and drop’ oriented, allowing you to plonk down game assets as if they were blocks in Minecraft. This can be a big plus for users who think standard game engine UIs, like those found in Unity or Unreal Engine, are a bit overwhelming in scope.
In addition to the world builder, Voxelus plans to publish a stand-alone VR player app that displays the content to both Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. This would allow you to explore the scene you created in the world editor, and share it with up to 8 people at a time in VR.
The beta program already comes complete with a large number of free assets, from scenery to characters so that you can use to build your world. The program is also said to be compatible with existing formats such as OBJ and FBX, which may allow content creators to scan, or create and sell their own assets from other programs such as Blender or Zbrush.
Voxelus also has a marketplace that the team says will be available in Q1 of 2016, and features it’s own currency (VoxCoins) that you can both earn in-game or purchase directly from the company.
“This solves, for the first time, the chicken and egg problem faced by the nascent multi-billion-dollar VR industry,” said Halsey Minor, chairman. “Most of the content for these wonderful new hardware devices has been produced at great expense to test the platforms, but one can run through all the content in the world in a couple of days. Voxelus will allow content producers worldwide to envision and create 3D games, virtual worlds and immersive experiences, and our viewing platform will allow millions of users around the globe to experience their finished product immediately after it has been created.”
My time with Voxelus was brief, but much less brief than with Unity and Unreal Engine respectively. The scheme was immediately recognizable, and looks like something that a kid who enjoys Minecraft could really wrap their heads around. Dynamic lighting, triggers, and skybox editing are all a part of the Voxelus toolbox, and if anything offers those of us who haven’t spent much time with a game engine a little less intimidating way to get into world building.
Since the program is currently in beta, and the VR viewer isn’t available just yet, we weren’t able to give it a full review. We’ll be keeping our eye out for the Gear VR app once it exits the Gear VR store review, we’ll update with our full impressions of the VR creation platform.