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Darknet Dev: No Such Thing as ‘too much optimisation’ for Mobile VR

Running virtual reality (VR) experiences is an intensive process. That much was proved last month when Oculus VR revealed the recommended PC specifications for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD). The same goes for mobile VR experiences, which run on the latest Android and iOS smartphones. However, even the most advanced handsets fall well short of what’s possible on PC, demanding that developers pay careful attention to getting the best performance. As Darknet developer E McNeill puts it, ”there’s no such thing as too much optimisation”.

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McNeill said as much speaking to Gamasutra in a recent article about making mobile VR titles. He explained that developers working with the technology would likely have to rely on ‘trial and error’ to get the best results. “And trust me, the error part is no fun,” he stated. McNeill speaks from experience; Darknet was one of the first tiles to release on Samsung’s Gear VR mobile HMD back in 2014 and the creator has since been working on his own entry into the system’s official Mobile VR Jam in the form of a table-top strategy title named Tactera.

The developer’s comments were also backed up by Chris Pruett, the co-founder of Dead Secret developer, Robot Invader. “When we start to render below 60 frames per second for more than a moment or two, our testers start to feel uncomfortable almost immediately,” Pruett he said. “Frame rate seems, in our tests, to be the vector for motion sickness that is most common. The other factors change from person to person, but a low frame rate seems to feel bad to almost everybody.” Dead Secret itself is due out on Gear VR in the near future.

Of course, as phones increase in power, developers will find it easier to get their experiences running at an acceptable level. VRFocus will continue to follow the latest in mobile VR, reporting back with any further updates.