Yesterday concluded VRFocus‘ first ever game jam, The VR Challenge, and you certainly would have known it if you were following the VRFocus Twitter account. Over the course of 24 hours there was a lot to be experienced, learnt, and admired as virtual reality (VR) fanatics of all kinds came together to create some unique projects using HTC Vives, and computers running on NVIDIA GeForce GTC 1080 graphics cards.
First things first: the winners. The announcement of who won was live streamed on our newly made Periscope account, where Team Catastrophe claimed the prizes of the three HTC Vives. The team is made up of Mark Bailey, Mat Burri, Jan Kaniewski, and their interpretation of “a safe pair of hands” was something that caused both laughter and pangs of pain to the heart. Using the motion controllers, players must bat raining cats to baskets that are either side of the platform they are standing on. If you batted the cats too far out, then you would receive negative points, and if you let the cats land on your platform then it would destroy it and expose churning blades that you could fall in to.
The other teams produced just as fantastically interpreted projects. Virtually Done, made up of Anna Stoilova, Morgan Page, Sean Gorman created a multiplayer game that requires only one HTC Vive, where one player is in control of creating paths with the motion controllers and the headset wearer has to jump across to where the path is layed out.
Supraliminal, which was comprised of Billy Mansell, David Matthewson, Josh Saunders, created a cross between a tower defense title and a smash ’em up with ultra powerful destructive hands, and Group FD (formally known as Group D – or Team Deadly), made up by Jing Tan, Daniel Poulsen, Omar Mohamed Ali Mudhir, created essentially Lemmings in VR.
Each of the developers have expressed that they would love to carry on making each of their titles, and so VRFocus will keep up with them to see how they get along. A couple – such as Catastrophe and Supraliminal – have shared that they will soon be putting their titles online for anyone to have a try.
As a result of this VR game jam, there was plenty all round to learn of VR game jams – not only the team members. There were a few technical difficulties that were stumbled upon that are completely different from traditional game jams which was born of the use of HTC Vives. As there were so many lighthouses in the room, each of the kits conflicted with each other at times. This proves that with VR there is still so much more to be learnt and adapted to create a formula that will work in the longterm.
There also needs to be a necessary and sincere mention of our sponsors and those who helped out at the event, because none of this would have been possible without them [/cliche]. Those who sponsored VRC were HTC Vive, Steam VR, Unreal Engine, Climax Games, and NVIDIA, so there is a massive thank you to them.
Those who helped out massively on the days were Thomas Gere of VroomX, who turned out to be our main tech handler, Virtual Umbrella, who were there to lend a helping hand and made things run smoothly, and Damien Cheetham who took pictures and lent a hand.
The mentors who helped out during the two days were Bradley Hester of Cherry Pop Games, Russ Earwaker of Climax Studios, and Gary Napper of Supermassive Games, and also to join us was Unreal Engine’s Jess Hider, and Luciana Carvalho Se.
VRFocus looks forward to hosting more game jams in the future, so make sure to keep an eye and an ear out for a chance to get in on it.