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Spellbound: February Update

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I don't really have the energy to write a long dev blog for this month.

I was invited to meet a chinese delegation looking to do some collaboration with the VR scene in Seattle. I picked the brains of a few fellow chinese devs and I learned that most of them understand english well enough that translation isn't 100% necessary to be successful in the chinese market. That refuted an assumption I had made about the necessity of localization.

I was also invited to be a judge for a VR hackathon (a 48 hour game jam).

I brought a sound team from Scotland on board.

I've been working on a system to interact with objects in VR using your own hands. It's really hard. I'm trying to convey the sense of object weight even though you're not physically holding anything. You also have two hands, so objects need to be able to respond. My use case is a heavy barrel which can be pushed and rotated with two hands by applying forces to it. I think it's going to be really important to get this interaction system working perfectly because it's going to be the basis for how players interact with all objects in VR. I see this as being the tech I eventually use in the future to let people interact with products in VR. One thing that's going to be extra hard is dynamically figuring out finger positions on an object -- think of where your fingers land on the surface of an object as you touch it.

I also spent a day shooting a new game play trailer for the Oculus Store. I had about 6 actresses come in and play the game on camera and I recorded the game play and their responses. I later discovered that I wasn't recording any of the sound, so all of my recorded gameplay footage was useless. Even if I had the sound though, screen capturing VR footage doesn't work very well. You only get one eye, so the aspect ratio is all wrong. I think what I need to do is create a "replay" system. You play the game in VR while recording every variable, then you load up the game in full screen mode and play the replay file and record the screen as a video file. I think if I build in support for this, I'll be a step closer to multiplayer support and I'll have a solution for youtube broadcasters.

The focus for the month of March is to get another big release out ASAP.

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