Epic Games are hosting a FMX VR Jam this week, taking place at FMX 2016 in Stuttgart, Germany. Five teams have been selected to take part and have been given four days to create something unique and inspiring in virtual reality (VR), with the given theme ‘What Moves You?’.
VR has finally arrived in a form fit for public consumption, and yet there are still many problems still to be solved. While the hardware is of an undeniably high quality it will never achieve mass adoption without compelling experiences, and the principle behind Epic Games’ latest Game Jam is to aid the development of this software. The theme of the FMX VR Jam was selected with this principle in mind: though the interpretation of it entirely depends on each team’s perspective.
‘What Moves You?’ is a vague term that can relate to many things. Is it a question of physicality? With teams set on addressing the issues related to locomotion in VR. Is it theoretical? In which case, the teams could look develop with the principles and depth of expression and reaction, be it positive or negative. Or is it emotional? VR has often been highlighted as a medium that can strengthen player/viewer bonds with virtual characters.
The winners of the FMX VR Jam will be rewarded with a HTC Vive Pre development kit as part of the recently announced partnership with Valve, operating under the Unreal Dev Grants programme. So without further ado, let’s meet the hopefuls looking to create something new and exciting for VR.
Team 1 – Denmark
Comprised of three allumni of The Animation Workshop, this team is already with VR Game Jams, having previously used Unity for video mapping and CGI design. J. Eduardo Fouilloux and Jan-Marc Heckman are currently Game Designers at Decochon, while Morten Anderson is an independent VR short film designer.
Team 2 – France
While Team 1 has already graduated, Team 2 are still currently students at Rubika SupInfoGame, Valenciennes. The team has already worked with Unreal Engine 4, with members of the team having been involved in Who Must Die? for the Epic Game of November 2015. Elouan Harmand and Maïté Vandewalle are 3D Graphics Designers, while Antione Gargasson is a Gameplay & Engine Programmer.
Team 3 – Spain
Team 3 is presented under the watchful eye of Lara Sanchez Coteron, Game Designer at Yoctobit and Lecturer in Creativity Methodologies applied to Game Design at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and ESNE Escuela Universitaria de Diseño, Tecnología e Innovación. Luis Diaz Peralta is a Game Designer at Al Pixel, Eduardo Cueto works as a Game & Level Designer at Gammera Nest while Altea Lomo is a 2D & 3D Graphics Designer at Blooming Buds Studio.
Team 4 – The Netherlands
Utrecht School of the Arts HKU provide the fourth team, with a group of students already familiar with real-time videogame engines. The team has already worked in VR with development studio House of Secrets are graduating with VR projects as their coursework. Joost Jordens, Wessel Baay and Mike Von Rotz all consider themselves ‘generalists’ in their abilities to develop VR experiences.
Team 5 – The Netherlands
The final team is a group of students from Fontys University, Eindhoven, who have all worked on VR prototypes previously. All of them have worked with the Unity videogame engine previously, though only one team member has experience with Unreal Engine 4. Frank Hartman has previously worked on Gear VR software, while Ryan Van Den Bogaard is a 3D Artist, Developer & Game Designer and Lex Brouwers is a Game Designer & Programmer.
All five teams were offered an introductory masterclass and have now begun work on their projects for the FMX VR Jam. VRFocus will keep you updated with the progress of each of these teams, reporting back when the winners have been revealed.