GDC Europe Speaker Sessions: Full VR Line-Up Detailed

GDC Europe is set to take place in one week, and today VRFocus can bring you full lowdown on the virtual reality (VR) speaker sessions set to be hosted at the event. A precursor to Gamescom, Cologne, GDC Europe will run 3rd – 4th August 2015.

This year sees sessions from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe (SCEE), Microsoft, Valve and Avalanche Studios, amongst others. The schedule below includes the local time of each session – in chronological order – as well as the full details of each session. VRFocus will be attending GDC Europe and will bring you all the latest details from each VR session at the event.

GDC Europe Logo

Monday, 3rd August 2015

13:15 – 14:15: About VR: Designing for Believability

The most important goal for VR is to have the player forget they are in a simulated world and act on their instincts. Whether we call this presence, immersion, or believability – why is it important, and what steps can we take to ensure a strong sense of immersion is maintained at all times? How can maintaining immersion make the role of a developer easier, and what new challenges must be overcome?

In this talk John Foster, Senior Designer at SCEE, hopes to answer these questions and others, using the lessons learned through developing The Deep, VR Luge and The London Heist for the PlayStation 4’s Project Morpheus at Sony’s London Studio.

13:30 – 14:30: One game across PC, Phone, Xbox, and HoloLens (Presented by Microsoft)

The Windows 10 universal app platform is designed to enable developers to create high performance videogames that can target the broadest range of devices with a single code base. Whether you’re planning the next AAA blockbuster, or building a mobile mini-game in your basement, Windows provides the flexibility and power that you need. This session will introduce Microsoft’s latest game development tools, platform, services and ecosystem and give you a chance to see them in action.

Hosted by Jaime Rodriguez, Games Evangelist at Microsoft, this session will discuss both programming and design for a multitude of formats including Microsoft’s forthcoming HoloLens.

15:45 – 16:45: Designing to Minimize Simulation Sickness in VR Games

Simulation sickness, when a player feels sick after playing a videogame, has recently received more attention due to the promotion of VR head-mounted displays (HMDs). VR is notorious for producing simulation sickness, but some players can experience simulation sickness in a wide range of videogames, with or without VR. This talk will cover basic design guidelines, based on research that can be followed by developers to reduce the risk of simulation sickness, both in VR and as a general aid to making their game more accessible to a wide range of players.

Hosted by Ben Lewis-Evans, Games User Researcher at Player Research, attendees will be provided with clear, actionable, guidelines for how they can design their game to minimise the risk of simulation sickness. The focus will be on VR, but these tips also apply to non-VR games.


Tuesday, 4th August 2015

11:15 – 12:15: Interaction Design in VR: The Rules Have Changed (Again)

The first generation of full presence VR systems available to consumers will provide two handed 6 degree of freedom input systems designed specifically for VR, thanks to the HTC Vive. These devices demand non-traditional approaches to human-computer interaction by extension, gameplay experiences. This talk will cover interaction design topics explored by the VR team at Valve, as well as some explored by 3rd party developers using the HTC Vive Developer Edition. In particular, it will focus on the idiosyncrasies of motion control and areas where traditional rules of interaction significantly change or no longer apply.

Yasser Malaika, Designer and Developer at Valve, will offer the audience a chance to learn aspects of VR interaction that the Valve VR team has explored and gain a deeper understanding of how they might apply them to their own VR projects.

13:15 – 14:15: Tobii Eye Tracking in Games & Avalanche Studios infinite screen implementation (Presented by Tobii Tech)

Join Oscar Werner from Tobii and Dan Thronström, Senior Producer at Avalanche Studios to discuss “Infinite Screen” integration and the power of eye tracking in videogames. With the launch of the Tobii powered SteelSeries Sentry, the world’s first gaming-focused eye tracker, and a partnership announcement with MSI, developers have access to brand new ways to create immersive and engaging experiences for gamers. Create an Infinite Screen by using the player’s gaze to rotate the viewport, build AI that reacts more naturally to the player, or create new gameplay mechanics that utilize the player’s eyes like never before. Dan will discuss the specific implementation of eye tracking in The Hunter: Primal, and we will elaborate on designing and implementing features that make smart use of Tobii’s EyeX Engine to immerse players in a whole new way.

13:15 – 14:15: PowerVR Graphics – Latest Developments and Future Plans (Presented by Imagination Technologies)

In this session, Joe Davis, Developer Support Lead at PowerVR Graphics, Imagination Technologies, will give an overview of Imagination’s hardware and software roadmaps for PowerVR graphics and PowerVR ray tracing technologies. Davis will explain the key features of the PowerVR Series7 GPU family, plans for the Wizard ray tracing hardware and detail the APIs and extensions we will be supporting in the near future, such as the Khronos group’s yet to be released Vulkan API. Additionally, Davis will discuss the major features added to the latest SDK and development tools.