As we all know, Virtual Reality is quickly becoming the future, as this is where the larger game companies have been moving over their man power. There was a Valve employee that estimated that roughly a third of Valve is working on VR and VR-related projects. I feel that this technology is quickly becoming one of the most popular game consoles. Or at least it will be eventually. With the hefty price tag of $800, the HTC Vive is no dollar store item. But this hasn’t stopped people from getting their hands on the technology anyways. As of just recently, the University of Advancing Technology has acquired one and made it available to the students to use. Only one evening was enough for me to gather these thoughts and come up with an idea of how this is going to go. Now obviously I’m not a Valve employee, nor can I see the future, so take everything I say with a bit of skepticism, just in case.
Most artists are taught very early on that if you want to create something and make it look convincing at all, then you need reference material. Doesn't matter if it's stylized, or in general isn't supposed to be photo-realistic you really should get some reference material. It is however, I feel it's something that doesn't get said to Designers often enough. Typically as a designer your job is to ensure that the gameplay always functions the way that we intend it. So when we whitebox a level we're building it specifically with the gameplay in mind. Every object you place in that scene should be structurally significant. For this, you can take some artistic liberties with the area you're creating but if want to create something you can truly call professional it should still be believable. Function trumps form but that doesn't mean that form isn't important. Assets should always be placed throughout a level thoughtfully and in a manner that doesn't make the player question why X-object is in Y-position or even why X-object is even there at all.
So there was a lot that happened at GDC this year. DirectX and Vulkan 3D APIs that I talked about in the last post just scratch the surface. Among everything that happened at GDC, Valve arguably had the most extensive and most industry-changing announcements. This blog post on the Valve website goes over most of the stuff that they announced in more detail, and the Steam Universe website has plenty of awesome info about each product as well as some sweet pictures that I'll post below.