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PAX West Panel 2017: The Do’s and Don’ts of VR

Josh Chang


What are the things you should do and don’t do when making VR applications? Find out about the do’s don’ts of VR!

In my second and last VR related panel I went to this year in PAX West 2017. I went to The Do’s and Don’ts of VR.

Hosted by:

  • Peter Akemann [President, Skydance Interactive]
  • Michael Glombicki  [Road to VR]

Unfortunately I must confess:

  • I was not able to find a YouTube video of this panel and…
  • I showed up 10-15 minutes late to the panel

What this means is that I most might missed a good portion of the initial advice and that I have no other way to verify my notes.

With that all being said, what are the do’s and don’ts of VR (that I’ll hopefully get to in the 100 days of VR challenge)?

Let’s find out!

The Do’s and Don’ts of VR


Do: Make Shorter Experiences

With VR being a new way to experience playing a game, there are a lot of problems that haven’t been resolved, motion sickness being one of them.

There have been many experimentations and tests to try and avoid motion sickness and I’m sure in the future this problem will be solved. The key word here is future.

What was suggested was to create fun and thrilling experiences like Archangel (created by Skydance Interactive)

Have all the optimizations to prevent motion sickness that you can try and do, but try to segment gameplay to shorter 15 minutes experiences so that players can take a break.

Don’t: Feature Creep

VR is the wild west of application development right now. There are too many cool ideas to create and not enough developers to create them. Resists the urge to keep creating new experiences.

Instead, create your concept work, show it, and then iterate upon it.

Do: Standardize the Software/Hardware

Right now, there are too many new software and hardware being created across multiple platforms.

At this point, we don’t need new hardware, especially if there’s no standardization. Developer will never create an application using an obscure hardware/controller, because no one will ever use it. Likewise hardware creators will never create new devices if developers/users will never use them.

What needs to be done is have a standard way for people to create VR applications from any development platform and then published to any VR platform with any controller device, even the obscure ones.

A great example is what Khronos OpenXR is trying to achieve by abstracting the different platforms, allowing you to interweave software and hardware seamlessly through a simple API.

Ideally in the future, any developer can pick up their engine of choice (Unity or Unreal Engine) and just as easily ship their game to the different platforms (Oculus or Vibe) all in a touch of a button.

Do: Be Able to Create Content in VR in VR

Currently we’re in the age where we can use software to create more software.

An example is being able to create a game using a game engine like Unity.

There are still many components in VR where we can still use computer software to create the application, such as coding and making the world and character, however there are certain situations that being able to create content in VR would be the best.

The best example given was using the Oculus Medium in Archangels.

In VR, the details that are put inside each model is important, because users are free to look around the game, exposing details that normally could have been hidden away.

Oculus Medium puts you in a VR world allowing you to make changes live in VR. By creating VR in VR, you can easily catch things that you’d miss on a computer and allow you to craft more realistic models.

Do: Collaborate with Other Developers and Form Partnerships

VR is fighting an uphill battle. Unlike how Mobile apps carved out a niche for itself for casual gaming (think playing on the bus), VR headsets require you to be completely focused on it.

In terms of consumer attention, VR devices have to compete with game consoles and PCs. With VR being new, it might be hard to create an compelling experience by yourself. It’s best to collaborate with others to make the maximum impact in creating a commercially viable product.

A great suggestion to do that is to:

You might actually run into stealth Venture Capitalists in meetups where you can pitch your ideas or find someone who would be willing to pass around your demo to a VC.

Note, it’s important that you have a demo and not just an idea. Everybody has an idea, but in this space, execution (or at least a demo) is even more important.

Do: Get Started

Finally, get started! VR desperately needs more creators and if we hope to stand a chance in making the technology prevail, we need to pool our skills together to create unique and fun experiences that will wow the users.

Get started:

  • Pick up a development toolkit like Unity or Unreal.
  • Pick up a Oculus, Vive, or even Google Cardboard.
  • Get started prototyping!


I think the TLDR of the panel is that developers should create something and share their experiences with other developers when they have something to show.

By providing as much value as you can to others, you might be rewarded in the future with the connections that you make. Who knows, maybe the guy you helped out before might be willing cooperate with you on your next project!

It was a great panel and another great year to be at PAX, however all good things must come to an end. I can’t wait for next year to see how much things will have changed in the VR space. Until then, I’ll see you guys tomorrow for Day 3 of the 100 days of VR!

Original source: PAX Panel: The Do’s and Don’ts of VR


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