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Oculus

Dev Diary – Oculus Rift F1 Demo

By | Developer Diary, Game Development, Oculus, Technical, Unity | No Comments

From the time we received the Oculus Rift development kit, in July 2013, we were very keen on working on something related to Oculus, since there weren’t any good games or demos to showcase its true potential. Although Oculus is still in development and it will take time for it to reach its true potential, we felt the need to create something for the new realm of gaming it opens up. We already had Leap Motion and the Xbox Racing Controller on hand so we decided to make a racing game owing to our prior experience in racing games.

Oculus

Eventually we decided that a Formula 1 racing game would do wonders if we gave the gamers a real-time experience of driving a real Formula 1 car.

I did some research on the circuits of Formula 1 racing and found the Monaco Street Circuit quite fitting to our requirement as it provides a rich architectural view being close to the sea as well as some nice looking building along the track.

But as I started to gather more information on the circuit it became obvious that Monte Carlo circuit was not the right choice. The race circuit has many elevation shifts, tight corners, and narrow track. These features make it perhaps the most demanding track in Formula 1 racing. Due to the tight and twisty nature of the circuit, it favors the skill of the drivers over the power of the cars. Although we had Formula 1 fanatics in mind when we started off, putting a lot of effort into the physics of the car was impossible keeping in mind that we only had 3 weeks to finish the demo.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Monaco Grand Prix - Saturday - Monte Carlo, Monaco

On further research of racing tracks, I came across the Valencia Street Circuit which had the same geographical characteristics of Monaco and it provided ample beauty and rich architecture. Another fact that helped in locking down Valencia was that the last grand prix at the Valencia Street Circuit was held in July 2012, and since then the circuit is no longer host to the European Grand Prix. So in a way we are giving tribute to Valencia Street Circuit by making it our choice of track in the Oculus Rift F1 Demo.

Valencia

In the research phase of Valencia Circuit, Google Maps and Bing Maps were really helpful in categorizing and identifying the monumental buildings and structures that stood out. Keeping in mind, that not all buildings need to be modeled in detail because we basically wanted to show them primarily from the driver’s point of view. Some buildings which had unique architecture were to be modeled in detail.

Bing

Then came the documentation phase, in projects like these documentation is key in order to complete it in a timely and organized manner. Also, it is important to note that although we were a team of 2 guys working on the assets, its best to have the documentation laid out in a manner that projects can be scalable. So we could easily be working in a team of say 15 people and be organized. We used Trello for documentation, listing buildings with their names and assigning level of detail for each building.

We marked around 40 Buildings throughout the 5.419 km track, and through Google Street View referenced each of those buildings in order to have ample data to model them.

For Texturing, we marked similar tile-able textures from our database, as we maintain a library of textures we have made previously on other projects which are always useful.

So, after completing model and texturing work for building we brought them into unity individually to have their LODs set up and ready for the demo.

A demo for oculus

By | Game Development, Oculus, Technical, Unity | No Comments

So these days we have taken upon a very cool project of creating a demo for the Oculus Rift. Now i wont share the details just yet as the details deserve a few photos but i solemnly swear we are up to no good.

So the core needs for the projects are that it should look good, like really good. So with this core goal in mind I ventured into a research of existing solutions and latest tech which i had been missing reading up on as for the past few months i had been very busy with Death Mile. Of course as Death Mile was created in Unity 3D and i had been working for and loving Unity for the past year I started my experimentation in it.

Being a graphics programmer at the core of my heart as i experimented with DirectX 11 tech which I only had been reading up for a long time but never got to work with, I went crazy. The endless possibilities with the now near complete exposure of all DirectX 11 properties in Unity made my mind go wild but as I ventured deeper I realized that I needed to back up a little and make a realistic goal that I can finish in the 3 weeks planned for the demo.

During this experimentation I kept working on a test scene with the amazing Marmoset Sky Shop for Unity as the core lighting solution but wasn’t testing the scene with the Oculus itself as it was supposed to be just a test scene for testing techniques and as I was waiting for my new GPU to arrive. Yesterday I finally tested the scene and ill have to say it changed my view about the project quite a bit. I had played around a bit with the Oculus before this and so I knew the resolution is quite low but I still expected it to show some details. But with the Oculus a scene with moderate realism (IBL for ambient term, simple ambient occlusion baked + SSAO, soft but stable shadows to reduce aliasing and a few tricks here and there but nothing mind blowing) could produce a very good looking image as the blurring removes most of the detail. The new problem set that I am focusing on at the moment is to improve image quality while using Oculus, an interesting paper on that, and to find alternates to problems with aliasing in Unity that need fixing too.