I was happy to be invited to VRTO 2016 by *no campfire required. My many years working with computer graphics, and animation, content production, and the previous generation of VR definitely made me interested in and more comfortable learning about the next generation of VR devices, platforms, startups and people.
I started my 2-day journey through the VRTO panels on Sunday, feeling very enthusiastic and curious about the subjects and speakers, most of whom I have watched before in other meetings. The panel titles suggested that I would be getting a lot of food for thought, including learning more about how the games industry is taking advantage of VR accelerated hardware, how they’re adding accurate VR experience to game play, and how they’re incorporating VR into game design and storytelling. More than that, I was motivated to see the content creators exploring and sharing the same (real life) space with developers and VR gurus. I’ll try to demystify my experience in 7 basic observations.
1. Availability of models: VR content is starting to have a good-sized audience because there is a critical mass of VR enabled mobile devices available everywhere. My immediate thought was: isn’t it time we bring back those 90’s educational CD-ROMs and convert them to Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift or HTC VIVE immersion simulations?
2. Things are getting easier for content creators: High tech software companies are creating storytelling tools that help producers simplify the production process. One I admired at VRTO was the LiquidCinema platform from Deep Inc. The useful features in this software suite help storytellers and producers save time and money in the painfully slow and complicated VR production workflow.
3. Academics, keep at it: The academics are doing their jobs very well, researching and opening doors, making it easier to find government funds that help keep Toronto among the top cities for innovation and using the technology for public benefit. The Toronto Time Warp is an impressive example of how academics can collaborate with the VR business generally.
4. We won’t use websites forever: The top layer of the content delivery system, browsers, don’t mean anything in the VR world. If you’re looking to see something really exciting, try JanusVR, where websites become immersive spaces linked by portals. Experiences like this means we may not necessarily be navigating flat screens at some point in the the next 5 – 10 years.
5. Try now and add value: Content Creators, if you have good content or access to it, make it available immediately in VR or 360 video. If you need to shoot something in the near future or plan to do so using regular format, please also shoot it with any 360 cameras available (cheaper ones cost from $299 to $1000). You can figure out how to deliver it later.
6. VR for business: If you’re planning to develop serious and profitable content in VR, make it according your clients’ needs. It’s not about what you decide is good content or not.
7. Producing VR is different than traditional filmmaking: You have to be more than creative, storyteller or producer. You need to be open to learning a new way of doing things at any given time, in order to give value to your clients.
There are a lot of smart initiatives being launched right now in the new VR market. I’m well placed to know that some of them are surfing the old wave from 90’s, bringing proven concepts and contents back to life wrapped in awesome new accelerated processors and devices. My feeling at the end of VRTO 2016 conference is that we’re swimming towards the blue ocean of VR business but we’re not there yet. Which really means it’s the perfect time to get in the game; the rules haven’t been written and anybody could be the next major player in the field.
Paulo Ramos is a strategic collaborator with *no campfire required, responsible for game design using augmented and virtual reality.
Photos: ‘Panel: Building the Next Web For The Coming Age of Mixed Reality” by Paulo Ramos & ‘mi casa‘ by Wyatt Wellman