‘SUPERHOT VR’, ‘Pokemon Go’ And More In New VR/AR Category At Game Developers Choice Awards

‘SUPERHOT VR’, ‘Pokemon Go’ And More In New VR/AR Category At Game Developers Choice Awards

A lot of awards ceremonies we’ve seen over the past year have had pretty uninspired recognition of VR content, seemingly only knowledgeable of the big PlayStation VR titles. It’s refreshing, then, to look at the nominees for the Best VR/AR Game at the upcoming Game Developers Choice Awards.

The awards, hosted by Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, are set to take place on Wednesday, March 1st at the 2017 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Nominees were announced this week however, and it’s the first year that VR and AR games are getting a nod.

The category has a surprisingly strong list of nominees. The one nomination we would have bet money on being there is Enhance Games’ Rez Infinite [Review: 8/10], the PS VR launch game that brought the beloved music-based shooter into the virtual realm. It’s also unsurprising to see Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator [Review: 8/10] up for the award. Both titles are popular among the VR community and the nominations are deserved, as far as we’re concerned.

More interesting nods on the VR side include Superhot VR [Review: 9/10], the recently-released (but absolutely excellent) Oculus Touch FPS that just about everyone seems to love. Northway Games’ excellent Fantastic Contraption [Review: 8/10] is also on the list, meaning non-PS VR games are getting a good amount of attention at this ceremony.

If we were to guess a winner, though, it would more than likely be the one AR game on the list: Pokemon Go. Niantic’s worldwide phenomenon wasn’t just one of the biggest reality-altering games of 2016, it was one of the biggest games full stop, getting people that never play videogames back into the lovable world of pocketable monsters and sending them off into the big wild world to explore and catch ’em all.

There’s also a solid list of honorable mentions for the category, including Thumper, Superhypercube, Batman: Arkham VR, Space Pirate Trainer, and The Lab. Drool’s Thumper [Review: 9/10] in particular has done well for itself; it’s also nominated in best audio, and best debut categories, while it gets more honorable mentions in innovation and visual art. Pokemon Go is also up for several more awards including best mobile/handheld and the innovation award. Between that and the recent Pokemon Sun/Moon, we think Pikachu has a good chance of walking away with an award in March.

You can see the full list of nominees at the Game Developers Choice Awards in the press release and more information about the event on the official website.

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

5 Talks You Won’t Want to Miss at VRDC This Week

5 Talks You Won’t Want to Miss at VRDC This Week

October insanity might be over, but there’s no rest for the VR industry this week. The inaugural Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC) is kicking off tomorrow at the Park Central Hotel in San Francisco. The two-day event is essentially a mini-GDC, focused exclusively on VR headsets and related technologies.

We’re going to be at the show and will have plenty to report on, but in the meantime there’s a busy schedule of talks and workshops for you to study. There’s too much going on for any one person to see everything, so we’ve gone through and highlighted the five don’t miss talks that are sure to be filled with juicy news and insights for anyone attending.

Making Daydream Real – Building for Google’s New VR platform

When?: November 2nd, 3:30pm
Where?: Standford, Level 3
Who?: Nathan Martz, Product Manager, Google
What?: We’re just days away from Google Daydream delivering a brand new ecosystem to what will hopefully one day be millions of smartphone owners. Get in on the ground floor with this talk from Martz, who will tell you how to get to grips with the new platform including working with Google VR SDKs for Android, Unity, and Unreal.

Applications of Eye Tracking in Virtual Reality

When?: November 3rd, 10:15am
Where?: Franciscan Ballroom, Level 3
Who?: Tom Sengelaub, Manger Solution Delivery, SMI
What?: Eye-tracking is a hot topic in VR right now, as it’s essential to the future of the technology. We need it for foveated rendering and realistic avatars, but there are more uses beyond that. SMI has been working with the tech for a while now, and will be discussing some of these applications in this session. It’s the only one at VRDC to specifically focus on eye-tracking, so make sure not to miss out if you’re interested in the future of VR.

Smartphone AR, Tango, and You

When?: November 3rd, 10:15am
Where?: Standford, Level 3
Who?: Jason Finder, Software Engineer, Google
What?: Google Tango had an info blowout today with the launch of its first compatible smartphone, the Lenovo Phab Pro 2. Here, you’ll learn to make your own apps for the 3D scanning device, which may one day be delivering some important innovations in the VR space. This is an important area to come to understand as mobile VR grows in popularity.

Beyond Games: VR as the Next Mass Medium

When?: November 3rd, 1:45pm
Where?: Standford, Level 3
Who?: Rikard Steiber, SVP of Virtual Reality at HTC Vive and President of Viveport, HTC, Thor Gunnarsson, Co-founder, Solfar, and Chip Sineni, Director, Phosphor Games
What?: As with most other VR headsets, the HTC Vive is primarily considered as a gaming peripheral right now, but the rise of experiential pieces is quickly changing that perception. Here, HTC’s President of Viveport, the company’s non-gaming app store, discusses the future of these types of experiences with Thor Gunnarsson of Solfar, the developer of EVEREST VR. They’re also joined by Chip Sineni of Phosphor Games, the creator of one of Vive’s best games, The Brookhaven Experiment.

Hand Tracked Controls: Design and Implementation for Serious VR

When?: November 3rd, 2:30pm
Where?: Metropolitan III, Level 2
Who?: Matt Newport, CTO, Osso VR
What?: Just as with eye-tracking, hand-tracking is an important part of VR’s future, though the role that it will play is yet to really be determined. With so many issues facing the tech right now, we’ll need some big breakthroughs before implementation can be seriously considered. Still, in this session you can get an idea of some of the uses cases for the tech.