Looking for some general info.

If you wanted to start developing a VR exclusive game but don’t have the physical hardware to demo it. Even ordering one could take a while to show up. Is there a “simulator” of some kind? Or can you create the logic and the art like you would any other game and then add VR controls to it later to replace keyboard/mouse/game pad? Also do you need the dev kit version of the vive to test with it? or are those just pre-consumer versions? like is it locked to only be able to port things to it through an official market or something like that?

On that note, how do things like animations work? If the players controllers and stuff are where their body parts move, things like holding a gun up or down, should just track the players movements… so no animations would be necessary in this case?

Essentially, yes you can do this. This is easiest in my opinion if you want to make a first person VR game. You can get a feel for how it would work in VR with a first person controller in the meantime. But, you really can’t accurately program much without an actual headset. There’s just no good way.

Those were just pre-consumer versions. Consumer versions of the Vive work just fine for developing with UE4.

There is no requirement for the game to be on Steam

This is a topic of some debate. Basically anything on the player’s head or hands you don’t need any animations for at all – meshes are positioned and rotated accurately. However, in my opinion you should just avoid trying to do any animations at all, but VR is still early in development. What happens, though, is that having a 3d human model can be very confusing for the player’s brain. Their physical body might be all sorts of places, especially legs. The Vive has no way of tracking legs, so if you attempt to animate the player’s body and it doesn’t match up with what their physical body is doing, it can be quite discomforting.

thanks for the reply!
starting in FPS sounds like a good place to start.

so what about using a full body mesh… but having the arms move with the hands and the head rotate with the headset, is something like that possible? everything i see so far is just floating hands.

And im curious about operating the hands independantly. is this just done through L and R inputs then? Any way to simulate that with joyticks or something?

Well, first off I’m assuming you’re going to want motion controllers. Maybe you don’t (e.g. Oculus doesn’t ship with them, only Vive). With motion controls, it’s bad to really model anything related to the player because none of the player’s body is tracked, except for the hands and head. Yes it would be possible to make arms and legs move, but at the moment most developers and players agree it just doesn’t feel right, and for some it is outright nausia-inducing. Look, you could guess how the player’s arm is moving, but it won’t be 100% accurate. For instance, I can keep my hands in the same location and with the same rotation, but move my elbows to different heights. That’s something the game wouldn’t be able to capture. So most people are just sticking with floating meshes for now. It’s the best we can do for the moment, unless something like the Kinect becomes mainstream with VR to capture full body movement.

Well firstly every game you see with hands is using motion controllers (Vive, since Oculus touch isn’t out for a long time). You can actually make games without motion controls, in which case development without a headset would be a lot easier. I’m of the opinion you cannot develop motion controls at all without the actual motion controllers (and also the headset). A thumb stick on e.g. Xbox controller goes simply forward, backward, left, and right (of course, any angle in between, but it’s 2d). So moving in 3d, you can also move up and down. Ok, now you might use your second thumbstick for that. But now, what about rotation? You can rotate the motion controller 360 degrees any way you like. You also have to keep in mind a thumbstick is going to hit its maximum range very quickly (like maybe 1 cm). Even if the player is stationary with motion controllers, the range it can move forward is something like a foot and a half. That’s an incredible increase in precision. And anyway, now you’ve used your two thumbsticks and haven’t even gotten an entire hand accurately “emulated”. So I’m of the firm opinion you can’t “emulate” a motion controller. You might be able to look into developing with motion controllers and without a headset by getting something like the Razer Hydra.

A lot of what goes into developing motion controls is just feel. And you can’t understand how satisfying or realistic something feels without actually using them. Not to mention how complex movements can be.

What you said makes a lotta sense.
I have a vive with controllers on order, but not sure when it’ll come in. At least two months. While I know theres much I can do without it for any project… when I start coding I want to make sure its portable when the controllers do come in. If its just not possible, then its just not possible and I’ll wait and work on the stuff I CAN work on.

On the topic of the meshes. It does seem a bit difficult to track for sure. I guess I was thinking more along the lines of FPS for the player, so the view would still see just the hands and the arms and maybe the legs or feet when looking down. But not the whole body or the from the back tps view. Was thinking more along the lines of an MP perspective. if player one wants to shoot at player two and they both using vives… they’d just see each others hands floating around… doesn’t make for a fun time… maybe a comical one though.