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Vive Developer Jam 2020: Three Days, Late Nights & Eye Tracking Dedication

High-end hardware, chocolate and a love of VR are a potent mix.

Videogame jams are quite popular within the indie community, offering a chance for developers to not only network in a casual environment but more importantly, throw around some crazy ideas they might not necessarily make in their professional lives. January saw HTC Vive hold its first developer jam in five years, created in collaboration with Admix, Goldsmiths University of London and VRFocus. The jam saw 11 teams compete for prizes by utilising the latest virtual reality (VR) hardware, coming up with fun, innovative solutions over an intense weekend. 

Rather than simply making any old VR videogame or app, participants had a little more structure thanks to the hardware on offer. Each team had two HTC Vive Pro Eye’s to play with – the company’s latest enterprise-focused headset – meaning eye-tracking needed to feature in some way. For additional points, they could also use a lip tracking prototype module, Admix’s advertising software development kit (SDK), Vive’s hand-tracking SDK or TgO’s upcoming etee hand controller to showcase novel ways of implementing these features in VR applications.

Starting late Friday evening the teams had until 1pm on Sunday to make a working prototype of their idea which could then be shown to the judges. Participants could use this time however they wished, with Goldsmiths University supplying the Vive Developer Jam with a location open 24 hours. While some opted for rest (and much-needed sleep) others found the energy to work through the night in a bid to create a polished, playable project capable of winning.

Teams weren’t alone in creating these VR experiences as it was very much a community-style event. To help aid them from idea to implementation were a group of mentors with a wealth of experience, from Goldsmiths University, Unity, HTC Vive, Tobii, NBC Universal, North Breeze Entertainment, Litho and FundamentalVR.

Vive Developer JamThe Vive Developer Jam wasn’t just about learning and using the latest VR kit, there were lots of goodies to win as well. On offer were some coveted prizes, with the grand prize winner taking home a powerful Quadro P6000 GPU provided by Nvidia. TgO provided an etee developer kit, Litho supplied its AR controller, Blend Media offered 10x tickets to Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds Immersive Experience and Tobii gave away five of its 4C Eye Trackers.

So onto the winners:

  • 1st Place – Active Listening Training VR –  Using Eye Tracking, Lip Tracking, Body movements and a custom experimental Machine Learning Framework, the team prototyped a VR solution that utilises virtual agents that respond to your non-verbal behaviour with different emotional states.
  • 2nd Place – Munch Mania – A roomscale videogame which used the lip tracking module. Players had to each as much food as possible, avoiding the chillies which could set the player on fire. Using a Vive Tracker an external person could introduce milk to drink, cooling the VR player down.
  • 3rd Place – Illusion – A VR puzzle game about optical illusions. The title exaggerates the effect of visual illusions in real life, so players can have an immersive visual illusion experience in-game. The videogame includes 4 types of optical illusion: Size Constancy Illusion, Impossible Objects, Figure-ground Illusion, Colour and Brightness Illusion.
  • Tg0 etee Award – Bus Boy – A shooting game set on a bus with 360-degree video footage providing the outside environment. Players are on a school trip and use the etee controller to aim and fire paper to cause mischief. Combined Admix SDK, Vive Eye Tracking and Tg0 etee controllers
  • Best Audio Prize – An Eye Mosity​ – A VR Simulator to practice anxiety management in a social setting using Eye Tracking and Resonance audio.

To see the Vive Developer Jam in action take a look at the compilation video below. For further VR game jam news, keep reading VRFocus.

Disclosure: Admix is the parent company of VRFocusVRFocus retains its editorial independence.

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