Oculus VR has struck a co-publishing deal with EVE Online and Dust 514 developer CCP Games that means lots of different things, but most notable for gamers is the fact that space dogfighting sim EVE: Valkyrie is now confirmed as an Oculus Rift exclusive. It’s not a tremendous surprise, given the groundswell of excitement that’s built around the game once known as EVE-VR. There’s still no release date, for either the consumer headset or the game, but CCP’s Newcastle studio is working full-time on turning Valkyrie into more than the tech demo it was born as.
The news was announced as part of CCP’s joint presence with Oculus VR at the 2014 D.I.C.E. Summit in Las Vegas. The show’s theme – “the new golden age of gaming” – fits right in alongside the in-development VR headset, which promises to shake up the way many of us think about games in the coming years. Confirmation from Oculus of the publishing deal is also joined by more developer-centric news, specifically the release of a Latency Tester and a Best Practices Guide for VR development.
Latency is a big stumbling block that must be overcome before products like the Oculus Rift can come to market. In simple terms, if the latency of the Rift’s head-tracking is too high, you get a distinct blurring effect as the in-game image attempts to catch up with itself when you move your head. This is a huge contributor to the dizziness/nausea that many feel when spending time in VR. The Latency Tester, in turn, enables developers to take a quantitative measure of this blurring effect.
The Best Practices Guide is simpler to explain. In short, it’s a standardized set of suggested rules that are aimed at helping developers as they take their first steps toward creating virtual reality content. Much like the Latency Tester, these guidelines are meant to ensure that gamers can enjoy a consistently polished experience once VR content becomes accessible to a wider audience.
There’s still no word on when the Oculus Rift will be released for consumers, but EVE: Valkyrie seems to have established itself as the gold-standard for showing off what the hardware can do. We’ve seen the game in action a number of times now: at EVE FanFest in 2013, at E3 2013, at CES 2014, and just this week at the D.I.C.E. Summit. Those last two demos played out on Oculus VR’s most recent Crystal Cove prototype, which is the most polished version of the tech we’ve seen yet. More is promised in the coming months.
We’ll be talking to CCP and Oculus execs here at D.I.C.E., and we’ll be sure to share what we learn. You can keep up with what’s happening at the developer-focused conference as it streams throughout the day on its Twitch page.
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