EVE: Valkyrie, Open Source Hardware, and the Best Practices Guide

The intersection of transparency and open collaboration between Oculus and the development community often leads to amazing content and inspiring breakthroughs. Today, we’re excited to share a few great examples.

Oculus Co-Publishing EVE: Valkyrie for the Rift

First, we’re thrilled to announce that the first Oculus co-publishing project is none other than EVE: Valkyrie, making Valkyrie an exclusive Oculus Rift launch title.

EVE: Valkyrie, developed by the team at CCP Games (creators of EVE Online and DUST 514), is one of the first AAA games designed exclusively for the Rift. The project, initially called “EVE-VR”, was born from a small, passionate team within CCP who supported Oculus during the Kickstarter campaign.

Since its debut at EVE Fanfest last year, Valkyrie has been a brilliant showcase for the power of VR and hands-down one of our favorite Rift games. At E3 2013, Valkyrie came away with a half-dozen awards including Best Game of E3 from PC Gamer and Most Innovative Game from IGN. Valkyrie was also a key part of the award-winning Crystal Cove demos at CES this year.

The original EVE-VR team.

“We strongly believe the best VR experiences are going to be the ones built from the ground up for VR, and we’ve kept that in mind whilst developing Valkyrie.

We wanted people to really feel like they were there – to sense the vastness of space, feel the confined area of the cockpit and get that adrenaline rush as you see an exploding fighter whizz past your head.

In a very short amount of time this passion project became a full fledged CCP project which we’re now working on in Newcastle. It’s hard to believe how far we’ve come in a year!”

– CCP EVE Valkyrie team members Robert Clarke, Programmer, and Sigurður Gunnarsson, Senior Programmer

We couldn’t be more excited for the future of Valkyrie, and we’re thrilled to help CCP bring the best possible made-for-VR experience to the Rift.

We’re looking for more great developers to partner with on made-for-VR content. If you’re interested in potentially teaming up, email us at publishing@oculusvr.com to learn more!

Open Sourcing the Latency Tester

A key part of the Oculus culture is a drive for openness. We believe that making Oculus more open and transparent will ultimately accelerate and improve virtual reality technology for everyone.

As part of this effort, today we’ve released the Oculus Latency Tester as open source hardware. This includes the firmware as a CooCox project, the schematic and board layout in Eagle, STLs of a 3D printable enclosure, and documentation of the interface. The entire package is available to view, download, and fork in a GitHub repository.

The Latency Tester is now under permissive licenses that let you freely use, modify, distribute, tear apart, and even sell the project or pieces of it to your heart’s content. The firmware, excluding vendor libraries, is released under the Apache 2.0 License. The schematic, board layout, and enclosure are available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0. These licenses make working with the Latency Tester source as convenient as possible.

The Latency Tester contains a Cortex M3-based microcontroller, a digitally interfaced RGB color sensor, and a 3 digit 7 segment display. Testing the latency of the Rift is just one use case. You could build a display color calibrator, an ambient light detector, a general purpose tester of video game latency with external trigger input, or a myriad of other projects with a little hacking on the firmware or hardware.

The files are available for you to build your own, but if you don’t want to break out the soldering iron or toaster oven, you can order a Latency Tester here. A new production run was just completed and will be shipping out shortly.

We’re always looking at open-sourcing other aspects of the Oculus hardware and software stack that can be useful to the community. We’ll keep you posted on future developments!

Best Practices Guide

Photo courtesy Dave Oshry.

At Steam Dev Days, Palmer announced that we’ve released the Oculus Best Practices Guide, a collection of suggestions and basic guidelines for developing VR content. The guide is the result of months of research, prototyping, and testing by the Oculus team along with key members of the community.

If you’re interested in developing VR games or experiences, we highly recommend giving it a read. Here’s a very brief section from the introduction for inspiration:

“VR is an immersive medium. It creates the sensation of being entirely transported into a virtual (or real, but digitally reproduced) three-dimensional world, and it can provide a far more visceral experience than screen-based media. Enabling the mind’s continual suspension of disbelief requires particular attention to detail. It can be compared to the difference between looking through a framed window into a room, versus walking through the door into the room and freely moving around.”

You can download the guide now from the Oculus Developer Center here:

http://static.oculusvr.com/sdk-downloads/documents/OculusBestPractices.pdf

The Best Practices Guide is an ever-evolving document, and we’re always reviewing and adding emerging insights from the developer community. If you have suggestions, let us know by emailing bestpractices@oculusvr.com!

What’s Next?

The team will be at a ton of upcoming events, including at IndieCade East, SXSW, and GDC. If you’re at one of the shows, swing by and say “Hi”. Brendan and Palmer are also giving a talk on the future of virtual reality on Thursday at 2:30pm PST from DICE, which will be livestreamed at http://www.twitch.tv/DICE.

Finally, as always, we’re recruiting the best and the brightest, especially:

- Senior 3D Artists and Modelers

- Senior Animators

- Senior Gameplay Engineers

…to help us build next-gen VR content!

You can find all the latest opportunities for Oculus’ Irvine, San Francisco, and Dallas offices at www.oculusvr.com/careers.

Hope to see you soon!

– The Oculus Team

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