The Game Art course at Escape Studios always works hard to stay at the forefront of technology and industry standard practices, an important aspect of this is making sure that the students get their hands on a wide range of different real time formats. Virtual Reality is an important part of that landscape, especially with the release of the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S. Affordable commercially available VR with extensive libraries of games.
To give our 3rd year students experience in VR development we have a 12-week group project, this project is mentored by industry artists and so far students have created stunning award winning environments in VR. A previous post outlines how artists from Playstation Sony in London provided the needed feedback during the project. The post can be found here:
Escape Studios Game Art courses focus on game art for environments and FX, not design or programming, for that to be possible I designed a VR Toolkit, a baseline of standard interactions and locomotion techniques to be able to create escape rooms quickly.
Creating a VR Toolkit comes with a whole host of fun and brain breaking challenges. It gives you an insight of how difficult the replication of real life interactions can be when transferred to the digital world. Grabbing an object two handed seems very intuitive and straightforward, but the tech behind it can be quite complicated!
The more subtle the effects, the more dynamic it becomes. One of the most satisfying additions in my opinion to the VR Toolkit are the Dynamic Finger Positions. When grabbing an object I added some logic that tries to solve the fingers to be placed around the grabbed geometry.
The Toolkit is designed in such a way that the art can be quickly added and instantly be interacted with in the scene. With the first iteration of the VR Toolkit the 3rd year students were able to create some stunning scenes and easy puzzles. Listening to the feedback I added a lot of new features. One of the simplest but most exciting is a climbing mechanic. Allowing for some awesome vertically to be used in upcoming environments.
Escape often hosts game jams and contribute to the wider games community, hopefully in the future we can release the VR Toolkit on the Unreal Marketplace (for Free of course). I would love to see what other people will be able to do with the VR Toolkit and push VR content even further. More videos and GIFS from the toolkit can be found on my personal ArtStation: https://www.artstation.com/juriaan/albums/1514629