UPDATE – this project is now available! Read the release blog post containing the public repo to get started.
“Is Improbable a VR company?” is a question that has been asked quite a few times. The answer is both yes and no.
Fundamentally, our SpatialOS platform is designed to build more detailed, more connected, more immersive game worlds. We want to see these worlds accessed and enjoyed through many interfaces, from phone screen to mouse and keyboard to room-scale VR – just as we aim to support developers using many engines and tools. However, there are some features of SpatialOS that make it a very interesting option for VR developers.
For instance, a person’s enjoyment of a VR experience may only be as compelling as the world they’re stepping into. If the world lacks “depth”, it will feel fake, no matter how realistic it looks. Only being able to open one book in a library or one door in a hallway can break immersion; how much worse is the effect in VR?
SpatialOS can help developers to solve this problem by populating their environments with a far larger number of objects and possible interactions. We’re excited to see how developers put the enormous, virtual spaces and greater density of objects and players made possible by SpatialOS to use in making the next generation of virtual reality experiences.
The need for a VR starter project
VR is not just an interface getting a lot of attention from the press, but also one that many developers want to explore and experiment with. With that in mind, we assembled a team of SpatialOS engineers to create a simple starter project for any user to start building VR experiences on the SpatialOS platform.
Many of the technical and design-based stumbling blocks that the team will encounter as they produce this project will mirror the experiences of the pioneering VR developers on our platform. We can’t wait to start working with our community on identifying and fixing any obstacles to a great experience when developing on SpatialOS for VR interfaces.
What will the starter VR project look like?
Our community engineers expect to produce a functional – if unstylish – starter project. In other words, expect to see your hands as blocky fists rather than sleek sci-fi gauntlets. However, sticking to a clear, simple style will help make the project intuitive, which is key to helping onboard future VR developers to work with SpatialOS. And we won’t be cramping your style either – it will be easy to swap in your own elements and create your own look on the foundations of the starter project.
When set up and deployed by a SpatialOS user, the blank project is expected to have the following functionalities and features, which should form a solid basis for future VR projects in SpatialOS:
- Picking up and putting down objects with real-time physics.
- Throwing and catching objects.
- Movement and vision in three dimensions in a virtual space.
In addition, we are also exploring the possibility of the starter project being able to support around 19 additional connected users in the same shared environment, ideally with VOIP support.
We will bring you more updates as the project progresses. Stay tuned for more information soon! In the meantime, you can discuss this blog post and SpatialOS VR projects in general, on the forums.
Interested in getting started with SpatialOS game development? Download the free SDK with Unity and experimental Unreal engine integration.