Owlchemy at GDC + SXSW 2017!

It’s that time of the year again! The Game Developer’s Conference and SXSW are right around the corner, and the Owls are taking over! Whether we’re making appearances on panels or anxiously awaiting the results of awards nominations for Job Simulator, we’d love for ya’ll to come up and say hi!

Check out the full list below of our various speaking engagements and awards we’ve been nominated for during GDC and SXSW:

Game Developers Conference!

Carrie Witt
The Art of VR
Monday, February 27, 2017 | 5:30 – 6:30 PM
Event Info: http://schedule.gdconf.com/session/the-art-of-vr

Follow along as 5 professional video game artists share their experiences working in the untested waters of virtual reality. From the technical challenges of creating art for VR to the creative landscape and how it differs from that of traditional game art, you will hear surprising anecdotes and revelations from behind the virtual scenes! Fellow travelers expect to have open minds, lots of questions, and a VIRTUALLY limitless sense of humor….Join us as this panel dives into the mysteries of creating art for the immersive worlds of VR games!

Cy Wise, Andrew Eiche
A Year in VR: A Look Back at VR’s Launch
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 | 10:00 – 11:00 AM
Event Info: http://schedule.gdconf.com/session/a-year-in-vr-a-look-back-at-vrs-launch

It’s been a full year since the first VRDC and the “Birth of VR,” which kicked off in March and April of 2016. In this discussion, VR Industry veterans discuss what they’ve learned, and if/how attitudes have shifted since launch. Listen as devs discuss in microtalks how the hopeful optimism of 2016 transitions to pragmatic (but still hopeful) realism in 2017 as the industry gains a better perspective on the consumer base, and what lies ahead for premium consumer VR in the upcoming year.

Devin Reimer
Refocusing on VR Innovation: Can Standards Simplify Cross-Platform Virtual Reality Development? (Presented by The Khronos Group)
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 | 11:20 – 12:20 PM
Event Info: http://schedule.gdconf.com/session/refocusing-on-vr-innovation-can-standards-simplify-cross-platform-virtual-reality-development-presented-by-the-khronos-group

The rapid growth of the virtual reality market has led to platform fragmentation, forcing applications and engines to be ported and customized to run on multiple VR systems. This slows the widespread availability of compelling VR experiences, creates added expense for developers, and consumes resources that could be better spent on innovating.

This panel discussion will consider the challenges of bridging between VR platforms, and to what extent standards could ease the pain to drive more innovation in the hardware and software spaces. Come hear about how Khronos APIs such as Vulkan and OpenGL ES are already enabling low-latency GPU rendering, as well as the potential of the recently announced Khronos VR Initiative to grow the virtual reality ecosystem by standardizing access to common functionality in VR systems. This will be an interactive session, so please come armed with questions – and your tales of platform porting pain!

Alex Schwartz, Devin Reimer
Spatial Storytelling Lessons from ‘Job Simulator’ and ‘Rick and Morty VR’
Tuesday, February 28, 2017 | 3:50 – 4:20 PM
Event Info: http://schedule.gdconf.com/session/spatial-storytelling-lessons-from-job-simulator-and-rick-and-morty-vr

Telling stories and interacting with characters in VR is a deep challenge with little precedent and many ways to ruin the illusion for players. Characters need to be able to interrupt one another seamlessly, avoid staring and awkward expressions, and character interactions need to work properly for players of any height, to name just a few. Owlchemy Labs shares tips to avoid uncanny valley, increase empathy with character interactions, and cover gobs of actionable lessons learned through the development of VR titles ‘Job Simulator’ and ‘Rick and Morty Simulator: Virtual Rick-ality’.

Alex Schwartz, Devin Reimer
‘Job Simulator’ Postmortem: VR Design, Tech, and Business Lessons Learned
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 | 9:30 – 10:30 AM
Event Info: http://schedule.gdconf.com/session/job-simulator-postmortem-vr-design-tech-and-business-lessons-learned

Building an original VR title from the ground up for multiple high-end platforms is incredibly tough. Doing so while these platforms are still being defined and developed is even more daunting. Developing for new platforms is not simply a technical endeavor. In fact, devs needs to consider aspects such as conference demoability, pricing strategy, trailer creation, design variations between platforms, and more. The developers of the HTC Vive / PlayStation VR / Oculus Touch launch title ‘Job Simulator’ will analyze the challenges of building, sharing, shipping, and sustaining cross-platform VR content, with examples showing both successful and less-than-successful design prototypes and how iteration led to the final product. Additionally, the team will touch on designing, prototyping and iterating on game design, sharing content (YouTube, Twitch, etc), shipping games under significant budget constraints, and overall lessons learned from a tech, design, and production perspective.

Chelsea Howe
The Design of Time: Understanding Human Attention and Economies of Engagement
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 | 12:00 – 12:30 PM
Event Info: http://schedule.gdconf.com/session/the-design-of-time-understanding-human-attention-and-economies-of-engagement

Time is the core currency for live games, but humans are notoriously bad at projecting long term outcomes. People often underestimate stimulus demands for prolonged engagement and wind up trapped in expensive content treadmills. This talk covers patterns of human attention and engagement over time and concrete ways to design for those phases, including how to surface time components, approaching engagement with a relationship lens, transitioning from hand-crafted experiences to procedural and social systems, and balancing permanent progress with maintenance mechanics.

Daniel Perry
The Sound of ‘Job Simulator’: Audio Immersion in VR
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 | 12:00 – 12:30 PM
Event Info: http://schedule.gdconf.com/session/the-sound-of-job-simulator-audio-immersion-in-vr

Job Simulator is one of the first room scale games that aspires to give maximum interactions with the objects and environment around the player. While working on the game, the team at Owlchemy found that designing audio for the realtime hand tracked interactions required some considerations in order to create the most immersive and convincing experience. The focus of this talk is about the challenges and opportunities Daniel Perry had as a sound designer and composer when working on a game specifically designed for VR with hand tracking controllers. The talk will include examples from the game ‘Job Simulator’.

Chelsea Howe
Rules of the Game: Another Five Techniques from Particularly Crafty Designers
Wednesday, March 1, 2017 | 5:00 – 6:00 PM
Event Info: http://schedule.gdconf.com/session/rules-of-the-game-another-five-techniques-from-particularly-crafty-designers

Ever wonder what specific design rules went into making some of your favorite games? Game design may be a fluid art without hard and fast rules, but it is still fascinating to find what unique techniques specific designers use and see how those rules help them make great games. “Rules of the Game” returns for GDC 2017 to showcase five more experienced designers and some of their personal design tricks-of-the-trade. Each speaker has ten minutes to go into detail about their rule and talk about how they’ve used it on past projects, highlighting where it works well and where it may not be applicable. For each rule, you can then decide whether it’s useful for your own projects and how you might merge that technique into your own design rulebook. You may not agree with every rule you hear in this fast-paced and energetic session, but they’ll certainly get you thinking about the craft of game design.

Cy Wise
Winning at VR: Developer Success Stories (Presented by HTC Vive)
Friday, March 3, 2017 | 1:30 – 2:00 PM
Event Info:

The marketplace for VR apps now numbers more than 1,000 titles. That’s tremendous growth for a platform that launched less than a year ago. The trajectory for new titles could only get steeper as interest in VR grows. It’s a win for consumers. It’s a challenge for developers who are already facing discoverability issues for their products. This session looks at how successful VR developers – and their killer apps – have managed to carve an audience, and how notoriety from a VR hit can be a hot commodity among the passionate VR community. The discussion will include a look at how consumer tastes are evolving and demand is growing for deeper, richer content.


Alex Schwartz, Devin Reimer
Owlchemy Labs Fireside Chat
Thursday, March 16, 2017 | 5:00 – 6:00 PM
Event Info: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2017/events/PP96384

Since first getting their hands on a Oculus DK1, Alex Schwartz and Devin Reimer have been totally sold on the idea of virtual reality. After getting to try an early Valve VR prototype, they were willing to drop everything and commit their whole studio to this new medium. Two years and one Job Simulator later, Alex and Devin feel like they are just scratching the surface on what there is to discover with this fantastic new technology. Come join them as they talk about the early days of VR, their findings, successes, glorious mistakes, as well as their anticipation for the future of this phenomenal and immersive medium.

Alex Schwartz
The Social, Sharing, and Streaming Future of VR
Friday, March 17, 2017 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM
Event Info: http://schedule.sxsw.com/2017/events/PP96612

A common concern about virtual reality is how isolating it might be. People worry that by wearing a headset a user will be cut off from the world. and about the potential so-cial and health consequences. And yet many companies working in this new medium see things very differently. They’re working on ways that VR can connect, bring people together and give them shared experiences. Some are working on streaming services, some are developing mixed reality technology, some are working on shared music experiences, and some are working on social meeting spaces. To them VR is all about connection across the metaverse. Join Adam Arrigo (TheWaveVR), Alex Schwartz (Owlchemy Labs), Bruce Wooden (AltspaceVR) and Tadhg Kelly (VREAL) as they discuss the social side of virtual reality.


Game Developers Choice Awards – Best VR/AR Game
Job Simulator was nominated for a Choice Award! We’re thrilled to be nominated alongside other incredible games and developers- Rez Infinite, Superhot VR, Pokemon Go, and Fantastic Contraption. The 2017 Game Developers Choice Awards will take place at the Moscone Center West Hall in San Francisco, California on Wednesday, March 1, 2017 from 6:30 – 8:30 PM.

Visit the GDCA web page for more information on the event and to view the other nominees!

SXSW Gaming Awards – Trending Game of the Year
We wouldn’t have had half the success we did with Job Simulator without the incredible support of our fans and community. We’re psyched about the nomination of Job Simulator for “Trending Game of the Year” at the SXSW Gaming Awards. Other nominees include Dead by Daylight, Overwatch, Superhot, and Who’s Your Daddy. The 2017 SXSW Gaming Awards will take place at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin, Texas on Saturday, March 18 from 8 – 10 PM.

Visit the SXSW Gaming site for more information on the event!

We’re ramping up quickly for GDC and SXSW, but we can’t wait to be there and and chat VR with all of you! See you in a few weeks!!