Virtual reality games make a big splash at game developer conference

Global Business

Around 30,000 gamers have descended upon San Francisco to attend the Game Developer’s Conference. It’s the place where powerhouse gaming companies and startups showcase their latest technologies to inspire creativity. CGTN’s Mark Niu reports.

This year, humans appear to spending a lot of quality time with virtual humans.

I put on a headset and a backpack that allow me to roam free in a relatively new experience – a virtual reality escape room in Vertigo Game’s The Corsair’s Curse.

After my escape, I try out Vertigo’s Arizona Sunshine, a game where I work together virtually with someone I’ve never actually met in the real world.

As we climb, tiptoe, and battle zombies, I’m amazed that the programming is smart enough to keep us from bumping into walls or each other.

Free Roam VR spaces like this have been expanding to shopping malls throughout the U.S. and many parts of the world.

“What it does have the power to do is, if you look at what’s behind us is people playing together,” said John Coleman, Director of Business Development at Vertigo Games. “Sort of like you go to the movies with people. Few people go to see it by themselves. I think that social dynamic, drawing people to malls brings more foot traffic.”

And game character creation through motion capture is becoming simpler and cheaper. With Reallusion’s iClone, all you need is an iPhone and their software, and you can put your own expressions into a character’s face.

In fact, this same technology was used to transform actor Keanu Reeves in his most recent film Replicas.

“We provide a bridge for you to create a character, animate a character and get motion data that’s basically what’s only compared to what you see a few years ago in Triple A studios or film studios,” said John Martin, Vice President of Reallusion. “Now it’s available for everyone.”

The Chinese company, Wonder Painter, allows users to draw something, take a photo it, and instantly turn it into animation inside a game.

It also works for regular objects, such as a doll. And I soon find out it even works on people, like me.

We use the software to captures a photo of me and then put me right into a game.

I’m soon a heroic character kicking and punching objects into an oblivion.

At GDC, experimental games are also working to turn the most dreaded tasks into fun.

At the Alt.Ctrl exhibit, the game like Plünge actually has players using a real plunger, to help their character on the screen unclog toilet drains.

And in another game called Roambot, players use TV antenna to tune into a robot’s dreams.

At GDC, the past and present collide, giving us a vision of what may be to come.