I love using distort in different situations as with the right approach it is possible to achieve the effect of additional volume due to the refraction of other particles and the liquid effect, which helped me when I was working on plasma and the related effects. You should know that you don’t need to add distort to the muzzle flash as it will make your players feel dizzy.

Even if it seems to look safe, the headset might give a different feeling.

And here are some examples of non-aggressive distortion, comfortable in VR.

VR Effects in Practice

Now that we’ve sorted out some weapon stuff, I’d like to share my experience of using effects in different situations with a little explanation for each.

It’s not a good idea to take control of player’s camera in VR, since this always leads to unavoidable motion sickness and separation from the world inside the headset. Neither is the camera shake, which might seem like a good idea for a robot landing. But it turns out that using two vertical cross movements (for example, the stones falling from top to bottom and a cloud of dust from the floor to the ceiling) while the player in the center, is a nice way to fake this effect, without shaking the player’s camera. You just use the world around the player, without using static floor and ceiling.

Let’s talk about performance. The ability to reuse the content is a necessity, since any extra texture will damage the frame rate. All the effects of steam in this room (below) used the same static texture, but with different post-processing. The most important thing is to understand the nature of the behavior of the effect, speed, inertia and then with conventional tools like rotation, motion, alpha channel and color curve, you can get anything, both beautiful and cheap for the engine.

I want to show another example, where there is a completely static room, but due to quite simple effects, again, and correct light, you can get a sense of dynamics, which in general is cheaper than animating individual objects. It is clear that the animation would be much better, but it would take the lion’s share of the available resources.

Talking about the effects, it’s hard not to discuss the software part. Since I’ve worked on some movie projects, I love Houdini, Maya and even 3ds Max. Unfortunately we do not use Houdini. Just look at the 16th version and you’ll understand how everything can be done now with ease when it comes to game development and I’m very happy about how the tool evolves, becoming absolutely universal. I use it because of an old habit (I just love the nodes), the usual free version, making some references. For example, I had to show the animator what kind of animation I would like to get from a robot charging through a wall and instead of using a thousand words it was easier to use a flipbook from Houdini.

The VR makes it extremely interesting to study small details, play with physics and much much more, so do not forget about this opportunity when creating your own worlds!

Continued on Page 3: The Art of Faking and Optimizing »


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  • Very very interesting article… loved it

  • Dan VR

    Can’t wait to experience Arktika.1!

  • Ryan DeLuca

    Great tips! Best practices are slowly emerging and they are not always obvious to designers that are used to traditional displays. The game looks amazing.

  • Lucidfeuer

    Super interesting.

  • Raphael

    Best practice of releasing games only for octopus rift even though they sell non-vr games on steam.