Showing posts with label virtual reality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label virtual reality. Show all posts

Friday, May 29, 2020

The powerful presence of non-presence in "Out For Delivery" by Yuxin Gao, Lillyan Ling, Gus Boehling

"Out For Delivery is a 42 minute playable documentary shot with a 360-degree camera. The slice-of-life experience follows a food delivery courier in Beijing on January 23, 2020, the day before Lunar New Year, and the day Wuhan shut down due to COVID-19."
This is one of the few 360-movie experiences that really works.

In the past, I've criticized the VR empathy machine complex and its cynical use of Syrian refugees to sell VR kits, but Out For Delivery wisely sidesteps the VR ecosystem. Without the restrictions imposed by the head-mounted format, such as a stationary camera (a bumpy moving camera makes VR viewers sick) or impatience (VR demos demand constant engagement), the designer and filmmaker Yuxin Gao is free to focus on the actual subject at hand. The camera moves freely, cuts freely, lingers freely. The result is the most difficult aesthetic to achieve in art: honesty.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A MAZE 2018 after-action report

This year I attended A MAZE 2018 in Berlin. It's still probably one of the best video game events in the world; it happens in one of the coolest places in one of the coolest cities around. In the day, you basically hangout in a beer garden and drink some surprisingly affordable beer. At night, hordes of punky post-apocalyptic Berliner teenagers hangout and dance. This unique audience and format makes it all feel pretty special, and I think this year's award show host Tim Rogers put it best: usually people at games events are frantically planning where they're going afterwards, but at A MAZE, the after-party is the festival itself, and many people often linger into the wee early hours of the morning in true Berlin fashion.

There's also a strong participatory focus at A MAZE. Each night, there was an open booth for anyone to plug into and DJ, and "open screens" for anyone to exhibit their projects. There were also stand-up comedy routines, hypertalks, and a "devolution" show featuring various old builds of Superhot to understand its 3-4 year dev cycle. In that spirit of experimentation, I ran a "democratic lighting workshop" where I solicited lighting suggestions from the audience, and then attempted to realize their designs in a Unity scene. We laughed and we learned!!!

But wait, that's not all...

Thursday, April 5, 2018

A call for video game neorealism

Bicycle Thieves (1948)
This is adapted from a spur-of-the-moment Lost Levels 2018 talk.

In video games, we understand realism as meaning photorealism: a hyper-real commercial aesthetic that's cynically detached from politics, emotion, and reality. Photorealism is also about escalating the video game value system, where high production AAA games are generally seen as more "immersive" and well-crafted than something that's less photorealistic. These are supposedly the videogamiest video games.

But outside of video game aesthetics, realism means much more. There's a centuries old tradition of literary realism, that sought to plunge the reader in the banal moments of everyday life. Social realism was a movement to paint more of the poor and working class, while socialist realism was a state-sponsored hyper-heroic style about personifying socialist thought. And today, we arguably live in an era of capitalist realism, where art and culture cannot imagine a world outside of capitalism. Reality is not a fixed thing -- there is not one realism, but many realisms, and each realism has a different type of commitment to reality.

So to imagine a world outside of photorealism, I'd like to build-off of another historical moment in realism -- and that is (Italian) neorealism in film.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Adventures in VR sculpting

I've been sculpting a lot in VR lately (via Oculus Medium) trying to figure out whether it's "the future" or not.

While I've worked in 3D for a long time, I'm used to building levels in a low polygon style with a 2D interface -- so for me, working "natively" in 3D VR has been strange and confusing, as I try to figure out how sculpting workflows work with 3D motion control interfaces.

When you are 3D modeling in a 2D interface, you can only move in two dimensions at once for every operation. Every stroke is constrained to 2 directions, so you learn to limit how much "each stroke" is supposed to accomplish. You begin seeing 3D in a specific "2D" kind of way. A lot of existing modeling software has evolved to fit this workflow, using operational systems that are non-linear and asynchronous -- what I mean is that each time you move a vertex or apply a bevel in Maya, you can always tweak or adjust that action later. Need to twist a tentacle in a weird way? You setup a spline, and 10 clicks later, you have a twist. It's very accurate because you're working very methodically in super super slow motion, decompressing time.

Current VR sculpting software doesn't really capture this "bullet time" dimension of working in 3D. Instead, it's very immediate and continuous. It's unclear whether VR will ever be able to support the high text density / menu complexity that most 3D modeling software needs.

If you have shaky inexperienced hands, too bad! You can't fine-tune or adjust your tool movements after you perform them, you just have to get better at doing more fluid, cleaner hand gestures.

Before, with a mouse, I could sort of do 100 different strokes and take the best bits of each one, and assemble the perfect stroke. But in VR, I feel like I can't do 100 takes, I get only 1 take, and I better not fuck it up! (Ugh. Why is this "natural" interface supposed to be so much better? Fuck nature!)

So now I basically have to become a much better fine artist, and learn how to move my body around the sculpture, instead of simply trying to developing the eye of a fine artist. Some of this frustration is due to the difference between a sculpting workflow vs a polygon workflow, but the inability to rest a mouse on a table certainly exacerbates it.

It also probably doesn't help that I'm taking on one of the most difficult topics of visual study possible, a human head. It's very easy to sculpt a "wrong-looking" blobby sculpture, as you can see in my screenshots! Fine artists usually spend many years in figure drawing workshops to train themselves how to "see" people and understand the many different shapes of our bones and muscles.

But I think this challenge has been helpful, and it keeps me focused on figuring out which skills I need to develop. How do I get clean sharp edges and defined planes in VR? Should I sculpt with blobby spheres and flatten it out afterwards, or should I sculpt with flat cubes and build-up my planes from the beginning? I'm still trying to figure it all out.

And if VR sculpting truly is the future, I do wonder how this will factor into a game development workflow. Maybe we'll sculpt basic forms in VR, and then bring them into Maya for fine-tuning -- or maybe it makes more sense the other way, to make basic forms in Maya, and then use VR only for detail?

I don't know of any game artists who seriously use VR as part of their workflow, but if you know of any, let me know so I can figure out what they're doing and copy it!!

(And hopefully in another month, my sculpts won't be so scary...)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

On the hopeful undead future of VR and "A Short History of the Gaze", by Paolo Pedercini / Molleindustria

I played Paolo Pedercini's first (and maybe last?) virtual reality piece "A Short History of the Gaze" last year at Weird Reality. I think ASHOTG is good for a lot of reasons, but the foremost reason is that few people are making VR art that's critical about VR culture and its politics. The closest we get to is when we twist VR's (faltering?) utopian branding toward our own ends, whether for "empathy machines" or whether for a vision of a "gay VR". But even among artists, it's rare to see VR work that directly critiques what VR is about, in this current moment.

Like a lot of Paolo's other work, it's political and educational, trying to distill critical theory and media studies into a short accessible interactive experience. The player goes on a ~15 minute sequence of different scenes about looking at stuff -- undressing people in an elevator (male gaze), punishing prisoners in a panopticon (incarceral gaze), being trapped by advertising (capitalist gaze), etc. in various situations. I actually found the whole piece to be slightly encouraging, because it positions VR as part of a long tradition of gazes -- and it's also clearly the weakest gaze. If VR is an oppressive force, then that force is currently minuscule or even laughable compared to any other oppressive force in the world.

Which leads us into how VR is doing right now: it doesn't look good for VR.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Some recent conversation on cultural appropriation

A few months ago, I wrote about how I think VR "empathy machines" are basically just a form of appropriation, where VR brands associate themselves with vaguely progressive political causes in a bid to make VR seem more relevant.

Maybe a lot of people still aren't really sure what "cultural appropriation" means? It's also a bit more of a US-thing, because of how race in the US works, so if you don't live in the US then you might not be as familiar with it.

If you're in a hurry, Amandla Stenberg made a popular 5 minute video in 2015 called "Don't Cash Crop On My Cornrows". Back in 2015, white performers like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Miley Cyrus were incorporating black music, black hair, and black memes into their acts, but it seemed like that care suddenly evaporated when black people got killed by police. Are white people actually the anti-racist allies they thought they were? If this is "cultural exchange", then black people were getting a pretty bad deal -- in return, they weren't even getting their own lives!

However, the conversation on cultural appropriation has shifted since 2015. So as a sort of public service, I'd like to highlight some more recent writing on cultural appropriation, all published within the last month or so, to give a small sense of what some people are saying right now.

Friday, June 9, 2017

On that one brilliant episode of Murder She Wrote that thinks VR is kind of bullshit

Murder She Wrote was a long running TV show about an elderly mystery novelist (played by Dame Angela Lansbury) who happens to solve all these murders wherever she goes. Like other long-running TV shows on CBS about older women having adventures, it was popular mostly with grandmothers and gay men -- which is why it's so surprising (or maybe unsurprising?) that it also had one of the most accurate on-point less-rosy depictions of 1990s VR on television.

If you want to know more about the episode "A Virtual Murder" (S10 E05), read Laura Hudson's full write-up for Wired.

If you're in a hurry, here's a brief synopsis, along with my short analysis... but first, please enjoy this GIF of someone (spoiler) shooting a guy in a VR headset:

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The war in heaven: a three-dimensional VR culture clash

Virtual reality is a weird collaboration between several different fields / industries, and each practice brings its own assumptions and baggage. When I go to VR events and conferences away from the influence of games, I often feel bewildered and confused by the different language and norms.

One time I was at a businessy VR event near Wall Street and some tech-biz guy said he had a "VR-ready industrial robot" deployed in a warehouse, and would any angels [investors] be interested in taking a tour? I was so confused (what the hell is a VR-ready industrial robot?) so I joked aloud, "is it a sex robot?" -- but no one else reacted at all, they just continued with the conversation and asked him about market caps or something, as if I didn't even say anything! Not even a pity smirk or furrowed brow or roll of the eyes!

This is part of a larger skirmish about language, and about how to talk about VR. The PC manufacturers have adopted "VR-ready" as a euphemism for "expensive gamer computer"... In tech, you have to be able to refer to an investor as an "angel" without laughing and bursting into flames. These are kind of trivial examples that don't seriously impede communication, but I do think they hint at how we're trying to shape cultures and norms for VR. There's not even agreement about whether to call VR "VR" -- maybe VR is just a subset of "AR" (augmented reality), but really those are both just subsets of "MR" (mixed reality) -- or maybe let's unify under the recent umbrella term "XR" (x-reality?)... terminology and labels and language matters.

And since angels are involved, I guess this is a war in heaven.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

"If you walk in someone else's shoes, then you've taken their shoes": empathy machines as appropriation machines

EDIT, 23 June 2017: want to know more about "cultural appropriation"? I wrote a post about it, where I also try to recap a lot of conversations around cultural appropriation happening that month. Read it here.

In a 2015 TED talk (pictured above) VR filmmaker Chris Milk claimed that virtual reality could be the ultimate "empathy machine". Instead of fading away into irrelevance like most TED talks, this concept of the VR empathy machine has somehow survived into 2017. VR boosters like the United Nations' VR program and influential podcast Voices of VR continue to push this line of thinking.

I'm here to argue absolutely in the strongest terms: I am against the promise of any claim to a "VR empathy machine", and I am against it forever.

The rhetoric of the empathy machine asks us to endorse technology without questioning the politics of its construction or who profits from it. Empathy is good, and VR facilitates empathy, so therefore VR is good -- no questions please. (And if you hate VR, that means you hate empathy!) It's a disturbing marketing strategy, and I hope it's obvious how making a refugee tourism simulator your "flagship" VR experience can come across as an extremely cynical use of pain and suffering to sell your product.

I also doubt any empathy machine supporters have ever been the actual "target" of an actual empathy machine. Ironically, as empathizers, they seem totally unable to empathize with the empathized, so let me spell this out. The basic problem with empathy machines is what if we don't want your fucking empathy?

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Take ecstasy with me": a manifesto for Gay VR

Before I explain what the heck I mean by "Gay VR", let's review why Gay VR would be necessary. I gave a MVR talk on this topic at A/D/O a few weeks ago, and someone tweeted my slide above and it went mildly viral. A quick explanation:
  • "failsons" (failure + son), coined by popular "dirtbag left" podcast Chapo Trap House, are a particular type of 20-30-something men who have failed to fit into capitalism for whatever reason -- they don't have promising jobs, or careers, or relationships, or futures -- and they definitely feel the shame of it. When they hit rock bottom like this, do they blame capitalism and start listening to Chapo Trap House, or do they blame women + people of color and they join some Reddit hate mobs?
  • But when they buy video games, the right-wing failson finally fits into capitalism in some small way, and so they stake their self-worth on it. Instead of philosopher-kings, they are consumer-kings, who think they're so good at consuming video games that they can impose their radical conservative racist misogynist politics on the rest of gamer culture...
  • ... and they basically succeeded, thanks to tacit support from the game industry. It's now way too late to reverse this deeply unhealthy attitude toward art and media, and gamer culture is never going to get "better." These toxic conservatives have basically shit the bed, and now that shit will stay there forever.
To save a newly emerging VR culture from this poisoned gamer culture, I believe that we must act now, to fortify and insulate pockets of VR culture from the inferno. Ideally, we all pursue many different strategies in tandem, and here's a tactic that I'm working on, it's two short sweet words: Gay. VR.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

"Queer Utopian VR" for MVR 2.2 in Brooklyn, 7 March 2017

Next week I'm participating in MVR, an arts-technology presentation series by Pioneer Works and Nancy Nowacek. This particular installment, MVR 2.2, is hosted in conjunction with A/D/O in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, as part of their "Utopia vs Dystopia" series. (Wow so many event series!)

I'll be doing some standard artist talk stuff for an audience largely unfamiliar with my work, but I'll also be trying to speak to the theme a little -- "virtual reality" as a historically utopian project that is quickly descending into dystopia on all fronts. I will connect this to José Esteban Muñoz's idea of queerness as a utopia itself, where we can perhaps use the "horizon" of queer performance to preserve / salvage pockets of utopia in VR.

The other presenters are Jacob Gaboury, Laura Juo-Hsin Chen, and Rachel White, also presenting on their particular practices with art and technology... Jacob Gaboury does cool research with the history of computer graphics and queer computing. Laura Juo-Hsin Chen does playful VR that engages with materiality, like "toilet VR" and physical VR masks. Rachel White explores the fuzzy intersection between internet bots and an internet of cuteness.

It should be a fun night. See you there.

Free / open to public, RSVP requested
Tuesday, March 7, 2017 @ 7 PM
at: A/D/O
29 Norman Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11222
(subway: G at Nassau)

Monday, February 20, 2017

On cs_ppc, "school maps", and the politics of remediating / re-mapping real-life places

The excellent @dot_bsp Twitter account randomly tweets screenshots from different levels in various Goldsrc (Half-Life 1 engine) games and this February 18th tweet about "cs_ppc" by "Walnut<+>Warrior" really caught my eye and got me thinking.

cs_ppc is really clean and well-built with good height variation and composition. The shapes flow into each other very well, and the scale seems very realistic. On a technical level, there's also clever use of masked transparency textures to complicate silhouettes with fewer wpolys, centering around a pretty huge atrium with a lot of open sight-lines everywhere -- this kind of craft means it was built relatively late in the Goldsrc cycle, when high polycounts and heavy use of custom textures were the norm.

This level has relatively little cover and probably plays strangely for Counter-Strike, but the author clearly prioritized real-life resemblance over gameplay. It made me wonder about the level's relation to the real world. Fortunately, when I loaded cs_ppc.bsp into the engine, I discovered that the author embedded a commemorative plaque at the very front of the level. It is definitely intended as a recreation of Peter-Paul-Cahensly (PPC) vocational school in Limburg, Germany.

So what?...

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Teaching, Spring 2017

This semester, I'm teaching three game development classes. Here's a bit about each one:
  • "Intermediate Game Development" at NYU Game Center. This is maybe the 10th time I'm teaching the class; it's a mix of Unity, source control, and 3D art. It's intended for 2nd / 3rd year undergrads in the undergraduate game design program, to give them enough awareness of different tools so they can start to focus their practice in future classes. Teaching it is always challenging... some students double-major in computer science and think the coding lessons are too easy, but for many other students, this is only the second code class they've ever taken. That said, the main point of this class is that code is certainly important, but making a video game involves much more than just code.
  • "Virtual Reality Studio" at NYU Game Center. This is the second time we're running the VR class, and it's kind of exciting because the department is starting to equip some state-of-the-art Vive workstations. Last year, the lack of motion controllers and room scale capability really limited a lot of project ideas, so hopefully we'll be able to accommodate the student demand better. What's challenging about teaching this semester is that there's a lot of new material: I have to figure out how to teach a Vive workflow AND I'm also trying to mix-up the theoretical readings more. Last year, we spent a lot of time reading Hamlet on the Holodeck, which was helpful, but also way too concerned with narratology for a class that doesn't focus on storytelling.
  • "Recursive Reality" at Parsons School of Design, Design and Technology. This is the fourth time I'm teaching this VR studio class at Parsons, which differs greatly from the focus at NYU -- here, at least half the students are interested in VR for film / installations. The equipment situation here is a bit less ideal, because no desktop VR HMD is compatible with the school's fleet of Mac workstations. So instead, we're focusing more on mobile VR like Cardboard and Gear, which actually works well for a lot of the students' design goals.

Monday, December 5, 2016

A progressive future for VR: why VR is already getting worse, and how to make it better

Last time, I wrote about how I think of game culture as too conservative and too product-oriented to truly change or redirect toward more artistic ends -- and I confessed that over the next few years, I'm going to start transitioning out of working in games, and more into"virtual reality." Why? First, let's talk about what's happening in VR right now.

The audience isn't really flocking to VR yet. Only about ~0.21% of Steam users have Vive headsets, which means about ~200,000 users in the entire world. This slow VR adoption makes sense, considering how the Vive is still really expensive at $800.00, and there's still a lot of unpleasantness to using VR, from simulation sickness to judder to obtrusive tethers, but these are all engineering problems that the industry thinks they know how to solve. In 2017, we'll start seeing tetherless third party headsets, and then in 2019-2020 one of the big three (Valve, Oculus, Sony) will presumably sell a technically-refined "VR Jesus" headset that will finally save us all... or maybe it'll just turn out to be another Kinect rotting in your closet.

Until then, even the most embarrassing VR evangelists are preaching patience for 3-5 more years. But it would be a huge mistake to "wait and see" until VR is a success or a total waste of time. Artists and queers and weirdos need to hit VR now, and hit hard, before VR culture ends up as conservative as the worst of gamer culture. Why is it worth saving?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Oculus Rift DK2s kind of (secretly) do work on laptops (sometimes) and you can make VR stuff in Unity (maybe)

This is a rant + technical guide about how to get an Oculus Rift DK2 to work with Unity 5 so that you can make stuff with it. Maybe.

I'm teaching two virtual reality classes this semester, and I was dreading having to tell all my students that Oculus (in all their wisdom) has a public policy of no longer supporting Mac OSX, or any laptop, for the foreseeable future. Even now, when I tell my colleagues about this, they react with incredulous shock. With this single move, Oculus basically alienated the entire creative coding / technologist community, and basically 99% of the design / programming community in New York City.

The core of the issue is in how Oculus wants to synchronize (a) the image in the VR HMD (head-mounted display, or headset) with (b) the very subtle motions your head makes. If these two sensations aren't synchronized, then people usually suffer "simulator sickness." So, the VR industry generally wants to make sure these two things are synchronized as closely as possible, to make sure people don't vomit when using this glorious new technological medium.

In order to synchronize those things as fast as possible (90 frames per second is the minimum, 120 fps is the ideal) the HMD needs "direct access" to your graphics card.

Most laptops are engineered purposely to cut-off direct access like that, mostly because they have two different graphics processors -- one weak energy-efficient GPU, and one higher performance power-hungry GPU. For day-to-day non-VR use, the weak one is more than good enough, so that one is in charge.

From a VR developer perspective, we were early adopters and happily making Oculus prototypes for years, and our "weak inadequate laptops" were good enough. Then around runtime 0.5, Oculus discontinued OSX support and began insisting that all laptops were just inherently inferior and didn't deserve any attention. From our perspective, Oculus basically took away something that seemed to be functioning fine, for basically no good reason. It's really really really annoying.

If you search "oculus laptop", it's mostly going to be forum posts from the Oculus community manager telling people that laptops aren't supported... so I was pleasantly surprised when I was prepping to teach these VR classes and it turns out runtime 0.8 actually does work on my Windows laptop! My suspicion is that the GPU vendors Nvidia and AMD both updated their drivers to give Oculus what they wanted... well, kind of.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The limits of a conceptual VR student game; and what would a "better" game about 9/11 look like?

The internet has been abuzz about "8:46", "a narrative driven experience designed for virtual reality, which makes you embody an office worker in the North Tower of the World Trade Center during the 9/11 events."

The game itself suffers from a lot of problems. If I were to ignore the politics, there's plenty of production values to critique -- the characters have blobby sculpts, inconsistent lighting, and stilted voice acting -- the particles are really really awkward -- and the one thing I like is the floorplan, especially the cramped corner office you begin in, which feels like a pretty authentic detail of old NYC office buildings.

But who are we kidding, this game is totally a political work, and it is much more generous to the developers to interpret it that way. Most people are just going to talk about this game instead of actually playing it, which is OK, and that's what compels me to write about it: I think this is a very flawed conceptual work, and I want to talk about why that is.

(1) TECHNOLOGY. Using virtual reality was not a good idea for this project, especially in this early generation of VR where it is mostly positioned as a nascent platform and consumer market that desperately needs to prove itself. Anything using VR in these early years is, inherently, saying, "look at me, I'm using VR!"

That's an OK thing to say, but it centers the technology instead of what you're saying with the technology, which is probably not what you want to do for a 9/11 game that's supposedly about respect for the dead rather than how this cool new peripheral? To be clear, I think you could make a game that powerfully critiques Western attitudes toward the dead and who is allowed to talk about the dead; I don't think this is that game.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Get Better Soon, dev diary #4: conceptualizing input in virtual reality.

This is a development diary series for "Get Better Soon", an NEA-funded gay club VR simulator game I'm making for Different Games. You can check out previous dev diaries here.

Virtual reality is weird and terrible for a lot of reasons: "simulator sickness" is the frequent sensation of nausea that attacks many players, simply from trying to exist inside virtual reality. (There are lot of complex reasons why that happens.) There's something fascinating about that -- a reality where existence makes you want to throw-up. A lot of that bizarre beauty is going to get smoothed-over and destroyed as the technology improves, which is unfortunate.

One of the more upsetting developments in VR progress is the specific user flow and use-cases that the two biggest VR influencers (Valve and Oculus) are prescribing for VR games. They imagine every VR user is going to be seated in front of their computer, with a positional tracking camera on a desk in front of them. The idea is to seat the player so they always know which way is "forward" by their dead reckoning, which simplifies how head tracking will combine with controller or mouse input. That way, it matters less whether you're blindfolded with a screen strapped to your face.

I think this is kind of a conceptually lazy way of solving the "input" problem.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Nostrum and clouds.

Hey! I made "Nostrum," a short flight sim game for the Oculus Rift VR Jam thing, and I placed 2nd. I won a bunch of money and a t-shirt, so I'm pretty happy with that.

For the first week of the three week jam, I was actually prototyping a lion simulator game. Then I watched Porco Rosso and thought, "wow, that'd be a fantastic game." So I stashed away all that previous work and started something new.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Further notes on developing games for virtual reality.

I'm pretty sure no one remembers that I promised to release Radiator: Polaris at the end of August 2013 (shhh), but here's what happened -- I was asked to join the Oculus VR Jam, so instead I've spent the last 3 weeks working mainly on Nostrum, a Porco Rosso inspired arcade flight sim / narrative-y roguelike. I think I'm going to work on it for another week or so before going back to Polaris.

A lot of my interest stems from VR requiring developers to re-consider a lot of basic ways of doing things in video games.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Thoughts on VR aesthetics

The current working standard for first person games is Valve's VR implementation in Team Fortress 2: the player uses the mouse to move an on-screen reticule, and if the reticule leaves the middle "dead space" screen area then it rotates the player's torso. Head tracking does not change where you're aiming -- and outside of giving you peripheral vision, it is somewhat meaningless within the context of the game.

Is that the best VR implementation we can do? To render it meaningless?

Right now, the Oculus Rift exists mainly in this realm of performance art -- where most of the interesting stuff happens when watching other people use the Rift, and imagining what they see and what their experiences are. The vast majority of videos out there focus on the player instead of the game ("This is the future of gaming. It looks like a dog trying to escape from under a duvet."), and the best Rift games focus on the intersection between virtual and non-virtual, like players who physically kneel on the ground to play the guillotine sim Disunion. I think much of this dynamic is informed by the growing dominance of Let's Play (LP) culture... which is to say that the "best players" are now the ones who can "perform" the game in the most compelling way and reveal new aspects of the game that we didn't realize before, and that way's context usually exists outside of getting high scores / headshots. What it means to be "good at a game" is slowly shifting from sport to sport as theater.

Virtual head animation has never been more human and true. We are all now cinematographers who can directly share our fields of vision in extremely subtle ways; the act of looking is now the most expressive input in video games today. And right now, the "best VR standard" is rendering it meaningless?

Don't forget that the Rift isn't just a display -- it is also a controller. Let's do stuff with it.