After a few months of poking around and experimenting with VR, using the Leap Motion as a control input, I ended up making a pretty interesting little tech-demo (not shown). It actually started as a game jam as part of Leap Motion's 2015 3D Jam and I was dead set on winning, but unfortunately life got in the way and I only got to scratch the surface with this project. Thankfully I'm stubborn and decided to pick up this project again early February and have been actively experimenting with it in my free time. Check out the early preview here...
- Building gestures based on hand positions is not as difficult as I had anticipated, but it also required a significant amount of planning before code even began. You have to take in positions, facing directions, trajectories, magnitudes and somehow build interactions out of them that feel comfortable to the user and make sense. It's not trivial, but if planned out, it's also not as difficult as I originally thought.
- If your first idea doesn't work, go in a different direction. I originally wanted to have the game be set in a broken down city where the user could choose which path to take, sort of like an on-rails shooter. However, the assets caused far too much slow down on my computer making development almost impossible. So I went to something simpler; what was the easiest fun thing I could create. Just shooting moving targets. And thus, Asteroids became the new target, and quite honestly, I think the result is far more fun than the original idea would have been. Be willing to adapt.
- Hand tracking just isn't there yet. The Leap Motion is fantastic and I can certainly make great use of it, but there's still a lot of room for them to innovate and improve on optical tracking (and perhaps motion / gesture prediction).
- VR is exciting! It's an entirely new technology that is emerging, it's something I dreamed of as a kid and now I get to participate in it's creation. There are no "rules" to doing VR yet, it's all experiemental and that excites me greatly.
- The last 20% of polish yields 80% of the perceptual excitement. I had almost the exact same game finished about two or three weeks ago, but it wasn't until I put in nice looking graphics, effects, audio and music did it really start shining. There's literally nothing different in terms of the code or how the game operates, but the polish really helps sell the "fun factor". Even with half of what I had planned missing!