Monday, September 29, 2014

The First Oculus Connect

Last weekend we took 2 days off to participate in Oculus Connect, the first Virtual Reality Developer Conference held in Hollywood, CA. Since James and I both live near the area, we were able to just drive over - sorry John, next time!

Day 1

Hollywood Hills

On arrival we parked under the mall next to the hotel, and made our way up to the mezzanine floor. There were already tons of developers milling around the halls, showing off their latest work or new technology.

One of the first things we tried was the Gear VR, brought to life through the combined efforts of Samsung and Oculus.

Here's an interesting peripheral we found by Dexta Robotics.

James said it was quite comfortable

After an hour or 2 of "connecting", we decided to set up the demo for other developers to try out. Oculus provided 8 demo booths that were already set to go with DK2s. We set up the demo by plugging in an external hard drive, and had it going for about 45 minutes.

James setting up the demo

Making sure it is running well
 When 7pm came around, it was time for dinner! We just unplugged the drive and headed over the the ball room. Time for food!


Palmer Luckey giving a welcoming speech
Time to meet more developers!
Cymatic Bruce!
After the dinner and mingling hours Palmer Luckey invited everyone to go bowling at Lucky's Strike - so naturally, it was time to go bowling!

Entering names
Palmer (on the floor) shows his moves while I step up to the lane

Final scores for the first round...I guess we were all a bit rusty. But it was a lot of fun!
After bowling it was time to step out to run to the Proto Awards, the first of an annual awards show honoring VR developers and their products. We had already met quite a few of he nominees (and were also nominated for best Art Direction ourselves), so it was nice to be able to go and show our support.

This passed by us on the street. Oh Hollywood.

It was semi-formal/formal attire, so we had some fun dressing up. Me especially. 
Everyone was seated at tables, and the show was pretty nice. They even had chocolate covered strawberries!
On our walk back to the car, we stopped to take a few photos of the area. By then everything was lit up and looked like it does in films, so it was nice to simply enjoy the location.

In front of a Hollywood merchandise store for tourists.
At the Chinese Theatre

 The day went by rather nicely, and we were looking forward to a full day of learning, sharing and making friends.

Day 2

In the morning we arrived around 9am, and the talks had just started. We walked in as Brendan Iribe took the stage, and settled down for a morning of discussing the past, present and future of Virtual Reality.

During one of the next presentations, we were all told about the lastest HMD from Oculus VR: The Crescent Bay Prototype. At the same time, they announced that eveyone at the conference would be able to try it, and had to sign up using the Oculus Connect app we all downloaded...and that started "right now".

James and I immediately signed up for the first time slot, and left to try out the latest VR tech!

On our way out of the Dolby Theatre, we happened upon large buffet tables set out for all the Oculus Connect attendees. This inculded a food that neither James or I had tried before: Chocolate Covered Bacon.

Fancy Chocolate Covered Bacon

It was delicious! Thank you to whoever planned the catering!!

We realized we would never be hungry that day...

They even had yogurt out, with a variety of bars.

After we got past the delicious food, we found ourselves in line for the brand new Crescent Bay demo.

James checking in
The demo blew us away.

It was the most real VR experience either of us had ever experienced. The resolution of the new protoype is still under wraps, but it was definitely much higher than the Dev Kit 2. Also, everything was running at a solid 90 fps.

After being wowed by the latest tech, we went back to the car to grab our "booth in a box". We wanted to set up our own table with the XING demos running on DK2, so that other developers who flew in or were from far away could use the computer setups that were provided. It also gave us a chance to *decorate* it, just a bit :)

First person to try the demo. Later we had to take down the signage - but kept the plants!

Half the demo room

Setting people up.

This guy was checking out the positional tracking

While other people and developers played our demo, we were also invited to try several other VR demos. These were mainly using prototypes of the Gear VR headset.

James is a 3-D video watching bison walk past him.
Aaron Davies, head of Developer Relations at Oculus, played the game and gave us some nice feedback. He also gave us some helpful tips on what makes an immersive experience.
Michael Antonov, Chief Software Architect at Oculus VR, also enjoyed playing the demo.
Everyone was so open and friendly. This made for an amazing atmosphere!
After the talks ended, there was an after party by the pool on the 5th floor of the hotel. Again, there was a ton of food laid out on buffet tables for us. Oculus definitely did a fantastic job and making sure that everyone was taken care of!

About an hour in, we all joined in a birthday song and toast to Palmer Luckey.

Lighting the candles on the cake
Palmer took the Chocolate Rift, or Choculus CV1 (Cake Version 1)

The view of the mall facade from the afterparty meet and greet
Towards the end of the night, we ran into John Carmack, who was smiling and talking a mile a minute as a crowd of followers piled on the questions. We stayed to listen to some of his wisdom, before calling it a night.

John Carmack!
It was a wonderful conference and we will be sure to go again next year! Everyone was so friendly and open-minded, which created a great atmosphere for innovation and creativity. We also met some wonderful people.

And to finish this post as a reward, we have a new high-res screenshot of Iztali Point, our tropical beach level:

1 comment:

  1. Awesome Tools to play game....... Can you borrow me this tools........