HTC Vive introduced its new content platform Viveport at its 2016 Developer Summit on Thursday in Shenzhen, China. The content platform has already been open to developers and will have a consumer version launched in April.
“We want Viveport to be the port for you to go everywhere,” Bao Yongzhe, the Vice President of Virtual Reality at HTC said at the conference.
“Viveport will be different from the SteamVR platform, which is now providing an excellent gaming experience to western users,” Bao said on the distinction between Viveport and SteamVR, a strategic partner with HTC Vive right now. “In comparison, Viveport will be a platform for more generic purposes covering more types of content including education or some business-oriented content.”
HTC will also launch a VR user interface in April named ViveHome. According to Bao, the new interface will be embedded in HTC Vive’s headset. It will help avoid the hassle of taking on and off the headset, and switching back to desktops for controlling the system. The positioning of ViveHome will be not only a 3D personal space to initiate content, but also a social networking platform to create connections.
“We want our users to feel boundless, to use it they can really free their spirit in the virtual reality world,” Bao said.
Viveport and ViveHome will both be connected to HTC’s new VR Dashboard, with the Viveport supporting Alipay. It will serve as an initiator of VR content on HTC Vive’s platforms.
Joel Breton, HTC’s Global Vice President of VR Content, also shared some insights into content development on VR platforms based on HTC’s earlier surveys. It’s said among all content, movies, games and TV/music videos are the top three categories users are interested in.
Breton also gave ten tips for VR content developers for developing better VR content, which are included below.
The consumer version of HTC Vive was launched for pre-order on February 29th at the price of USD 799. It’s reported that 15,000 units were sold in the first ten minutes. Its primary competitor Oculus, which is backed by Facebook, also had its first shipment sell out in minutes after its launch. However, at the same time, we’re yet to find a killer game for virtual reality that can keep the market growing vigorously.
Speakers at the conference also discussed the challengers for content development for VR right now. Charles Huang, co-founder of RedOctane, proposed that the biggest challenge for games on VR platforms is limited budgets. Compared with hundreds of millions of USD spent on some hit games for PC and console, the budget on VR games is relatively low. In sharp contrast, VR is now in urgent need of a hit game.
“It’s not about the quantity but about quality. As long as there’s a perfect game for VR, there’ll be a boom for VR headsets,” Huang said.
10 tips to create awesome content on HTC Vive from Joel Breton, HTC’s Global Vice President of VR Content
1. Try your best to reach 90FPS.
2. Don’t design acceleration in motions. Reach the full speed at the very beginning instead of slowly speeding up.
3. Learn to use Room-scale to create a different sense of space in the virtual reality world such as walking on a narrow bridge when you’re actually in your living room.
4. Make use of motion controls. Different motion controls are essential to new hardware such as VR and was the key to success for Wii in the past.
5. Don’t shake your camera when players are walking or running.
6. Remember to create a sense of immersion. Users are not watching Spiderman on television any more.
7. Use powerful engines such as Unity, Unreal, Crytek, Lumber, Stingray, etc. to maximize your efficiency.
8. Use SDK and frameworks such as Viveport SDK and Stream VR SDK to add in new features quickly.
9. Get framework, artistic materials and genre engines from places such as Unity Store.
10. Create something you’re passionate about.