VR-kitchen: what is not visible in the helmet

    As a rule, if we are talking about business in a new sphere, and even with an entertainment product, people are lost. It is not entirely clear what the staff do there and what the success is dictated by. In theory, everyone seems to know that the production process is not so easy, that behind every success there are risks and efforts. But which ones, the majority represents vaguely.

    But this is often more important, more interesting and gives the activity a lot more sense than a simple statement about achievements or the amount of income. Here you will have a new experience in theory, an awareness of the real value of products, and motivation.

    We are for the fact that businessmen and developers are not perceived as celestials, in whom everything spontaneously shoots out of nowhere. And we are ready to start with ourselves: we will tell about the side of virtual reality invisible to the user and about the tasks that our team from Fibrum decides every day , an ordinary Russian VR startup.

    We are currently developing content for our DESIRIUM VR platform. This application is for standalone-helmets with a replenished library of emotional VR-experiences in various genres. We have already talked about DESIRIUM some time ago, you can study the issue by following the link .

    The defining specificity of our work is the absence of the best practices developed for VR. We do not have a set of unconditionally working techniques, like, say, in the cinema. It is always a mix of creativity and technical settings.

    For example, we conceived to make an experience about life in the skin of a cat. In the process, it turns out that in theory everything was better: the view of the world from below is not impressive, the command “tearing claws of the curtains” does not fit in with the controller, it is boring to lick, and in general, the wow-effect did not happen. Because VR does not allow a single error: for the content to be perceived not as stress, but as a cool journey into a parallel world, you must first ideally build the story.

    The user must understand the context exactly where he is, what is happening to him, what he can and should do. It is necessary to combine the element of chellendzh and clear, the most natural for a person interaction with the environment, to lay the algorithms of mechanical actions. And no one will tell you how to do it in this format. Every time you need to create a plus or minus working version of the project and test it. So, it is extremely difficult to plan actions regularly and accurately.

    Many will say that you can simply take existing games and put them on VR. But for the mechanics to work in virtual reality, it must be initially designed for the movement of a person in an objective reality. Neither gaming consoles nor PC gaming give the user such freedom. And this is a sin not to use.

    We place in DESIRIUM not only our own content, but also third-party content. At the same time DESIRIUM is not a standard platform. There you can not just put the executable build-file and click on play.

    To make it work, someone else’s source project needs to be built into our project. And this is a serious challenge at the integration stage: you need to connect two objects as ideally suitable Lego parts. Plus communicative challenge - to attract developers with good content, tell them about us and explain that the game is worth the candle.

    In the early stages, we thought it was too difficult or impossible at all. It's the same as trying a Thai dish for the first time in your life and trying to write its exact recipe. Compatibility issues begin to emerge along the way and sometimes slow down the work.

    We tried a lot of options and as a result were able to develop a number of our own guidelines for interaction with third-party developers. In summary, to cooperate with us, you must:

    • provide initial Unity projects;
    • assist in the integration and support of their applications;
    • optimize your applications when updating Unity (no more than once a year);
    • keep copyright on your applications;
    • Do not publish this application on other platforms for free.

    We help with promotion, share sales profits, localize applications and offer full support for good developers with interesting content. But we always agree ashore: it is easier to work together, and technical inconsistencies are minimized at the earliest stages.

    We immediately aim at a variety of different standalone helmets: Oculus Go, Vive Focus, Xiaomi Mi VR, Pico Goblin 2, Google Daydream ... They are wireless, relatively cheap, comfortable, compact, mobile. And these devices can already make suitable content. Indeed, from the user's point of view, this determines everything.

    To keep the proper level of performance for a comfortable user experience, without lags and brakes, you need to devote a huge amount of optimization time for each specific device. To debug the position of all controls, adapt the playing space to the parameters of the helmet and find all the minor insidious nuances.

    For example, in VR, even the smallest drawdown by the number of frames per second is visible, this immediately causes discomfort. All the same infuriates when a stranger walking in front of the subway sticks to the phone, suddenly slows down and knocks down the overall rhythm of walking, although this happens by chance. And then you specifically buy a helmet, an application, spend your personal time, relying on the dynamics and adrenaline ... and get a bummer? Well, no, so should not be.

    We spend more resources, but we achieve better quality, although limited by the parameters of the devices. After all, technology has already become steeper, this is not the mobile VR that people had an impression about in 2015. And while it is quite possible to prove it.

    Another limitation in the standalone-segment, which spoils the life of developers, is the degree of control and interactivity. Explain in more detail.

    In the expensive “big VR”, there is a possibility of “fan out of the box”: you have spaced sensors and two controllers in your hands - they track their position in space. The user is already interested in the fact that he can arrange virtual objects on the stage and do what he wants with them: you can take them, throw them, look at them from different sides ... And this is the default functionality, you don’t need to do anything to do this. Only pay the seller.

    It is more convenient to stand in standalone helmets, but it is a little more difficult to adapt to them. Their controller most often works like a laser pointer - he understands where he is aimed, but does not understand how he is moved. Although it will soon be fixed - next year a new generation of 6DoF standalone devices is coming, which will not yield to today's leaders of functionality. But for now, in order for the user to fully participate in the plot, the controller must somehow be combined with basic human biomechanics. The plot should not become detrimental from controlling with one hand instead of two, the user should not feel physical involvement in part.

    Another factor is the duration of the content. We decided that it makes no sense to do long games. Many people are not ready to be in VR for a long time, because it is sweat, fatigue, and eye strain. But even in a short format, you can quite get the same vivid impressions as from the performance of long gaming missions.

    Experiences up to 10-12 minutes are an adaptation to the already familiar mobile format of consumption, when everything is as comfortable and natural as possible. Scenarios are cut - we no longer show long intro and do not twist the fierce narrative. We talk to the user in a capacious, interesting and dynamic manner.

    It is not enough to make a good product, it still needs to be conveyed to consumers. And when your target audience is scattered all over the planet, you need to be ready for anything. Communication is necessary to conduct with representatives of different countries and cultures. Among them will necessarily be markets that require special efforts - for example, Chinese.

    The Chinese are positively disposed towards Western content makers, because their content production for virtual reality is still in its infancy. But there are several "but."

    First, they will always seek localization into Chinese as the dominant language, without it they agree to advance with difficulty. Secondly, the content must pass the party censorship - an extra drop of blood in the field of view can bring problems. Third, the approach to doing business is very different. For example, to fall out of the workflow for a month or two is in the order of things, even for a representative of a large company. Losing hope of cooperation in such cases is not worth it - the work always continues actively after a while.

    And this is not from the category of “they are bad, but we are good” - this is just a practice, without which there is no way. At first you are surprised and frantic. Then you accept and interact. And then everyone becomes like family - both Chinese and Brazilians, and anyone else. The main thing is to make a good product and believe in good people. They are, and there are many of them, even in business.

    Our experience is to some extent unique - we did not have and do not have patterns for work. We explored the industry, faced risks, solved emerging problems and looked for new resources. And now we understand that information about this may be for someone really important and necessary. It will seem to someone that this should be kept behind the walls of offices, but such an approach will not help the development of the industry or educate users. We are ready to talk about our experience in the VR industry as openly as possible. And we will willingly continue to do this so that the virtual and objective realities finally make friends.

    Bonus: nausea in VR

    Один из устойчивых мифов о VR — это сопутствующий кинетоз. То есть, наличие тошноты, головокружения, дезориентации в пространстве и других неприятностей. Из-за этих слухов многие и не пробуют надевать шлем, боясь конфузов. Мы специально уделили внимание этому пункту, чтобы дать самый что ни на есть инсайдерский инсайд по теме.

    Что происходит?

    Тошнота и другие последствия пребывания в VR происходят из-за диссонанса визуальных и физических ощущений — мозг не сразу понимает, где он и что делать. Но примерно то же самое происходит, например, при наборе высоты в самолете или первым опыте катания на коньках.

    От чего это зависит?

    И от предрасположенности к кинетозу и от частоты использования. И от того, чего вы наслушались накануне. Конечно, если у вас очень слабый вестибулярный аппарат и вас сильно укачивает от поездки на заднем сидении автомобиля, вас может стабильно тошнить и от VR. Но опыт показывает, что даже в таких условиях толерантность к VR-контенту вырабатывается быстро, а устойчивая тошнота — просто предубеждение и стереотип.

    Что делать, чтобы не тошнило?

    Практиковать чаще и не поддаваться на влияние рассказов в духе: «Мой сосед Николай пробовал в 2008 году и его тошнило целых 9 часов 54 минуты». VR — это всего лишь формат подачи контента. Все будет хорошо, если контент адекватный. А другого мы, например, и не делаем.

    Не стоит опасаться виртуальной реальности — необычные миры создают обычные люди для таких же обычных людей.

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