TThe maker of the Oculus Rift wants triple-A developers on board, but acknowledges the difficulties.
There’s still 23 days to go on the Kickstarter for the Oculus Rift, a new VR helmet designed and built by Palmer Luckey. It already has some famous names drooling over it; Gabe Newell of Valve, Cliff Blezinski of Epic Games, John Carmack of id Software and others have all expressed considerable interest. It only wanted a piddling quarter million but, after its first week, it has over $1.4 million in its Kickstarter fund. This thing could be about to set the gaming world on fire, and its developer thinks that independent developers will drive it even further forward.
Luckey knows that triple-A developers, however much they may be interested in the device, can’t afford to experiment too much with untried technology. Indies, on the other hand, could be what Luckey describes as a “huge driver” behind the Oculus Rift. “With virtual reality hardware, it’s a bit like starting over. There are a lot of things that are going to have to be discovered and I think the indies are going to be the ones to discover a lot of those cool things.”
That’s in the early stages, when the Oculus Rift is still finding its feet. Later on, when people have a better idea of what VR can do for gaming, things will be different. “What I would like in a year’s time would be to have a really nice, polished, consumer head-mounted display that everybody knows about, with a lot of triple-A and indie game support.”
Luckey describes himself as a “garage hacker” who put together existing technology and repurposed it for the gaming world. “It’s not so much that I’ve cracked the code as that technology has cracked the code … All of a sudden we have high-density displays, really low-cost, high-performance motion trackers. All the pieces are there. All it took was somebody to bring all of those pieces together.” So far technology like this has been used primarily for military and training purposes, but Luckey believes the time has come for gaming to take up the VR challenge.
A pledge of $300 will be enough to get a development kit and a demo copy of Doom 3, should you be interested in backing Luckey’s Oculus Rift.