Gerald McAlister | May 8, 2018 | Developer Diary
Last week, we went down to San Jose to attend Facebook’s F8 conference! We got the chance to see lots of amazing technology, chat with some amazing folks, and get a sneak peak into what’s coming down the pipeline for both virtual reality and augmented reality. As a result, we wanted to take some time and go over our thoughts on what we saw and experienced, as well as discuss some of our plans for the future based off what we saw.
Let’s start with the elephant in the room: Oculus Go. We’ve been pretty excited for mobile VR, and Oculus Go has driven us into overdrive for how excited we are. Here at RGB Schemes, we’ve maintained for a long time that standalone VR systems are the future, and while Oculus Go lacks a 6 degrees-of-freedom tracking solution, we think that getting VR into the hands of more people is a great thing, especially with the quality of Oculus Go. As a developer, not needing to bring headphones, as well as being able to accommodate those who wear glasses are both huge pluses for our games, especially when we demo them!
While playing with the device on our way back to Seattle however, we realized something: Oculus Go is missing some very simple, but powerful experiences that should be made available on the device! We know this sounds silly, but we can’t help but notice that there are some very simple experiences that we think would great for the device. We’re going to put a few of these together in a small app over the next few days, and will hopefully have something to release in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for that as a quick detour from our main games!
Another great announcement came in the form of research being done by the folks at Oculus as well. Specifically, they showed off their “half-dome” prototype. It boasts a 140 degrees field-of-view, and multifocal display capabilities, both of which are great things for the advancement of virtual reality. These changes can seem minor, but will greatly help boost the quality of what it is like to experience virtual reality, and will help with things such as text readability, accessibility, and immersion.
Facebook also showed some great work on tracking hands without the need for special gloves, as well as full body tracking solutions running on mobile devices. This technology in particular was of interest to us, as we’re very focused on creating experiences around using intricate details of the hand. Most of what we are working on here will translate incredibly well to this technology, but we are being cautious about preparing for this technology specifically. With no known devices announced that will use that technology, we’d prefer to wait and see what Oculus cooks up for consumers before committing to anything new.
The last thing we want to touch on is all of the discussion on augmented reality at F8 this year. A lot of folks (including us) are very excited for what augmented reality has to offer. It’s a potentially highly accessible technology, with huge potential for the kinds of applications that can be created for it. We especially are excited for the ability to make games that keep playing as you go about your day. That said, everything we saw at F8 further indicated to us that what Facebook is offering is not what we are looking for (yet). Hopefully with what Andrew Bosworth showed on Twitter, the Santa Cruz headsets will help solve many of our issues, but at this moment we are still very much in the experiment phase for our AR offerings. We are, however, looking much more closely at mobile AR for native applications. Specifically, we are looking into what we can do with multiple people and smartphones. The technology is just beginning to show signs of maturing for this, but there are a few more steps that need to happen before we can make use of this.
Overall, this year’s F8 solidified our commitment to both virtual reality and augmented reality games. Both technologies are changing the landscape of many fields, and we think that making use of these technologies to their fullest is going to yield some crazy games and experiences for everyone. Oculus Go provides even great accessibility to this incredible technology, and the “half-dome” prototype makes us excited for what is to come. Do you have thoughts on this year’s F8 conference? Leave them in the comments below!