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4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD.
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GDC2015 - some thoughts and observations from the 4D Pipeline team

GDC2015 - some thoughts and observations from the 4D Pipeline team | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD. | Scoop.it
Jed Fisher's insight:

Tyler and Phil from our 4D Pipeline team attended GDC last week (next week we head to NVIDIA GTC). I thought i'd share some of their thoughts and findings - feel free to ask any questions.


Oculus : Everywhere. bunch of other headsets - such as OSVR also looking to get adopted but Oculus widely used and most of the big demo queues were to see Oculus related demos.  Oculus folks said Unity was the biggest authoring platform for them - though the had demos from Unity and Epic showing.


Oculus demos themselves - graphically better - didnt queue for the biggest ones  which looked stunning from TV views - but quickly samey - innovation and design is (as with anything) going to be a big differentiator for content and good interactive VR scenes -will up the requirements for design, interaction design and balancing visual quality against hardware requirements.. 


VR Hardware:

A lot of VR hardware on display that goes with headsets e.g. - tracking tools such as Sixense (http://sixense.com/) - which tracked your hand and feet to fully immersive you and platforms like or actually platform -Virrtuix Omni  - kind of specialist treadmill - which allow you to physically walk or run in virtual space (I was impressed how well this actually works (see http://www.virtuix.com/) was being demoed but nearly all seemed to be still at pre-order stage.


Interestingly - unlike earlier generations of VR hardware - these all pretty much seemed to work and i was a lot more impressed by Virtuix walking platform than I expected given it actually works really well. (but anything that requires special shoes plus physical tracking base is not a mainstream product).


I am not convinced there is a large home market for all this stuff  - not yet - it needs another evolution - right now - you need to buy headset (400 bucks) body tracking ( 199 - who will  pay 199 for a 3D space joystick?)   and onmi walker (699) plus PC with decent high end card (lets say 1300 inc card) - so total cost before you have content is $2500. 


Expensive for home - HOWEVER - for a VR training platform for industry, military etc or location based entertainment  - that is obscenely cheap. The  inclusion of hands - so tool world interaction and ability to physically walk through environments safely does change the experience significantly.


WebGL: - being promoted by Unity, Epic, Mozilla but seemed to be a common discussion element - especially with Facebook opening up Walls to support WebGL. This is major! And is bigger news in terms of market opportunity. It makes it of interest to advertising and agencies. Bunch of small companies with Webgl engines and webgl physically based shaders - PlayCanvas was the best of them - but they could get killed by the bigger engines. shame - good engineering - nice engine -fast and small - but huge market challenge given the big guns. Awesome to see Unity now publishing out to WebGL.


Epic Unreal - largest stand at the event and being used on lost of other stands either for games or to show how other products (VR, headsets, nvidia cards, or game engine components e.g. voxel engines) integrate with it. Architectural demos were stunning. WebGL looked awesome. Both Epic and Unity had stuff on show with Mozilla (epic had unreal content on Google, NVIDIA and Oculus stands as well)


Unity - stand popular and busy but unlike previous years where Unity dominated the show this year there were lot of folks comparing Unity and Unreal. Audio Editor in 5 is very impressive ( i think my favorite feature) (plus webgl publishing). Unity still has the best run everywhere capability, plus an incredible app-store and huge community.


Crytek - surprisingly impressed with the visual quality especially for environment demos. Crytek seemed to be in first place, closely followed by Unreal - Unity chasing hard with physically based shaders.  Crytek's subscription model (10 bucks a month - no royalty) was getting fair degree of interest (based on questions being asked) but they need a stronger mobile story. However if they can get their act to together restructuring the company around their platform play Unity will then have another really strong competitor coming into its home territory.


Physically Based Shaders:


Every game engine - Not just Epic and Unity but small ones like the webgl based PlayCanvas - were using Physically based shading - its definitely the new art and lighting method. 


Price War:

This weeks move to free will kill a lot of competition and there were already far fewer smaller game engines on display there this year than last . Even Sony who opened sourced  its windows based game authoring tool and level editor -was getting very little interest in this area. So there is a race to the bottom on pricing to dominate the market. I cannot see how the price drops are sustainable unless you have a platform play that is generating revenue in addition to authoring tool sales e.g. Unity with Asset store etc, or Epic - their own games + asset store and triple AAA licensing and royalty - or Crytek, Asset store plus their own game revenue, AAA revenue. Thats a big set of barriers to any new comer or smaller engine supplier.

--

Looking forward to NVIDIA GTC next week - ping me to meetup jed(at) 4Dpipeline (dot)com

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Game Developers Conference | March 25-29, 2013 | Moscone Convention Center | San Francisco, California

Game Developers Conference | March 25-29, 2013 | Moscone Convention Center | San Francisco, California | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD. | Scoop.it
Jed Fisher's insight:

First NVIDIA GTC, then one week later the Game Developers Conference! Two of my favorites. I would love to meet up if you plan to attend GDC. 


Whether you might need a hand with some plugin development, exporter work, or 3D mobile development, 4D Pipeline can help.

Or perhaps you want to help ensure your game will make money? 4D Pipeline can help. 

Often game developers forget that a game is a product, and just like a product/app it should have a clear positioning statement, a focused market, and an innovative business model.

 

Define | Design | Develop | Deploy.

4D Pipeline.

jed (at) 4Dpipeline.com

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Jed Fisher's comment, March 31, 2013 4:50 PM
Good show, not as good as previous years. I was the only person I saw wearing a bright orange Game Developers 2000 shirt :-)
Unity 3D dominated this year. EA and Activision were no shows.
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Unity officially releases its new game engine: Unity 5! Valve, Unreal, Crytek, all also making announcements!

Unity officially releases its new game engine: Unity 5! Valve, Unreal, Crytek, all also making announcements! | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD. | Scoop.it
Unity has released the latest version of its cross-platform game engine. At the 2015 Game Developers Conference, CEO John Riccitiello announced a final version of Unity 5, which is now available on...
Jed Fisher's insight:

Unity 5 is finally here! All hail the king! Hurray! :-D

(Disclosure: Unity Technologies is a customer of 4D Pipeline).


Today after many months of intensive beta testing Unity5 is released to huge fanfare at the Game Developers Conference this week.

It's been a massive week for Game Developers and all of those (like 4D Pipeline) who use game engines for "serious stuff". 


The competitive world of game engines is starting to seem like the Game Of Thrones, we've got:

- Valve this week has released it's Source2 engine! 

http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/03/04/gdc-2015-valve-announces-source-2-engine

- Crytek CryEngine managing to still just hang in there, popular still in Germany

- Unreal - excited everyone with their Free* pricing for Unreal4 engine (free being free but with royalties) 

http://www.theverge.com/2015/3/2/8134677/epic-unreal-engine-4-free

-  and Unity5 - is not only release but also their free version vastly improved with more than ever part of the "free" version (essentially everything minus team support and some advanced functionality).

 http://unity3d.com/5


Add to this, Valve, Unreal, and Unity all have VR output options. And Unreal and Unity both have WebGL publishing options. Each have pro's and con's, each is working furiously to make the best product possible. 

It's resulting in a win for the entire industry(ies). It means is more 3D, visualization, VR, AR, Games, interactive architectural walkthroughs, and 3D product experiences. The democratization continues! 


Contact me to find out more. At 4D Pipeline we help Automotive, Apparel, Product companies, and architects make compelling 3D interactive experiences that help them explain, train, and sell more of their products.


PS - meet us at GDC2015 this week, or GTC2015 next week!

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