This week was Vision Summit 2017. If you’ve never been to a Vision Summit, it’s a great VR / AR event held in Hollywood every year, hosted by Unity. The event is one of my favorite, with only Unite outshining it.
Today, I want to share some of the things I found most valuable at the summit..
The keynote was semi-interesting, but didn’t reveal a whole lot of new stuff. I think that’s mostly because the Unity team is already so public about what they’re doing that there really aren’t too many secrets to let out at these events.
There does seem to be a push by Microsoft though with the new budget VR headsets. In-fact they even decided to follow Valves lead and give out free Acer VR headsets to all attendees.
I’m not sure where these headsets will settle in the market. We’ll have to wait and see how much demand there is for budget headsets.
Sessions at Vision Summit are typically really high quality. They’re also very short… They mostly ranged from 30 to 45 minutes, which isn’t a lot of time to cram in all the great knowledge to be shared.
However, even with the tight time constraints, there were some really great ones that everyone should look for replays of.
NVIDIA – VRWorks/Ansel
This talk was great and covered some of the work the teams at NVIDIA are doing to make it easier to get great performance in your VR games. I even liked the Ansel part enough to write a separate post just about that asset.
Lessons From Oculus
Oculus is of course a great leader in VR, and the information presented in this talk was as good as you’d expect. The main focus was on getting a real sense of presence in your VR games. With simple tricks like the hand test, it was easy to take away quite a bit of value.
The Vive tracker talk was labeled as a ‘best practices’ but really didn’t seem to cover that much. It did reveal a bit more about HTCs plans for the trackers though, and those plans sound great. While there weren’t too many details spilled, it sounds like retail versions of the trackers, and some accessories, will be available sometime ‘soonish’.
I really love the trackers, so even that little bit of info was enough to make me leave happy.
The expo hall was surprisingly unfilled. At the previous Vision Summits, this room was packed, and maybe that’s why they scaled it back a bit. Microsoft had another cool Hololens demo in there, and Oculus was in full force showing off the new GearVR controllers. While I’m excited for the new GearVR, I really wish the controller had positional tracking like the Daydream one.
OTOY also had a really interesting demo of their new lightfield tech utilizing new facebook cameras. I’m not sure when or how I’ll use it, but I feel like the tech is cool enough that I should find a way.
The demo section of the Summit is always full of small to mid size studios with their recently released or in development titles. Normally, I go through them all and have a blast talking to all the developers. This time though, the lines and crowds were LONG. I don’t know if it was because they let too many people into the demo area at once, or if my timing was just terrible, or perhaps attendance was just a lot higher than before.. but I didn’t get to actually try much. The games I did try were pretty fun though, and chats with the developers were still the best part.
The Summit has been held at the Loews Hollywood every time, and the location is amazing. It’s also really expensive, but there are a ton of food options and the hotel is one of the nicer ones I’ve been to.. As you can see in the cover photo, the reception party is held at the pool, and my room just happened to be positioned with the perfect view.
Overall, I had a great time at the Vision Summit… I did think that the previous ones were bit better though (hell they gave out free Vives at the 2016 summit). I’m still very happy to have attended though, and got to meet a lot of new developers and catch up with many others I’d met in past years. If you find yourself in a position to attend next year, I’d definitely give it serious consideration (though again, I’d take Unite over it if I had to pick only one).
Big Thumbs up!