hey everybody its norm from Testim and
welcome back to projections where we have a special episode this week
hopefully the first in a series of studio visits where we’re going to give
you a peek behind the scenes at the making of some of the VR and AR
experience that we love so much this week I’m going to take you behind the
doors of ILM xlab we’re at a chance to visit their Studios here in San
Francisco California as part of the Lucasfilm
campus ILM xlab of course was launched in 2015 as kind of a skunkworks project
inside of ILM to explore the possibility of storytelling using new technologies
like virtual reality and augmented reality and therefore that time have
produced experiences such as the trials on Tatooine the Star Wars droid repair
Bay and also the secrets of the Empire location based experience as a part of
the void now you guys all know that last year they also release the three-part
episodic series Vader immortal starring this guy which let you using an oculus
quest or rift headset go on Mustafar and go up close and personal with lord Vader
himself and use some pretty awesome force powers I had a chance to chat with
director Ben snow and producer Alisa Finley along with some of the artists
and engineers who worked on Vader immortal about the making of this series
so let’s go check it out so I’m thrilled to be joined here on
this lovely Star Wars show set on the Lucasfilm campus with Ben and Alyssa
here tell me what you guys did on Vader immortal um I was director of Adrian
modal also contributed the story and sort of supervised the visuals of visual
effects and I was the producer on episodes two and three and
congratulations for Saul for shipping those episodes has been super fun to
play and also to watch the VR community and also gamers and Star Wars fans just
experienced it but it’s been a journey not only for this experience to be
develop and come out but for ILM xlab as well you go back a few years and give me
little bit of history of iox lab and what lucasfilm’s
interest in VR is ILM aches lab has been around for yes several years it started
with the advanced development group which was essentially exploring use of
real-time how could we use real-time for visual effects and how could we
you know leverage some of that technology a little bit more you know as
we even dating back to things like the Clone Wars and some of the prototyping
tools we developed at ILM there was obviously an interest in pushing the
real-time aspect of it and then ILM xlab came out more as a story telling how can
we tell stories in different media in different ways and so Vader immortal was
first sort of hinted at I think in 2015 maybe 2016 they did a presentation at
Star Wars Celebration where they showed a prototype that we put together that
was Vader or essentially standing out looking across the lava plains of
Mustafar David Goya was already involved and very interested and we were working
pretty closely with Lucasfilm story so it was originally going to be a fly on
the wall narrative where you essentially observed the goings-on and so the first
prototype sorry the prototype that I became involved in we were essentially
trying a gray box so proof I out previous the first script that he’d
written and also I felt I was really interested in saying how can we push the
visuals of this and you know make it feel very cinematic
because I wanted it to feel like people had sort of stepped into a movie if I
could and so we were really beating on that as well so we made this prototype
that had a beautiful sort of section that was very detailed out and then at
the same time this sort of gray box narrative and we kind of came out of
that and interestingly had been approached by the void at about that
time to do a void experience an interactive experience and so excellent
pitched a bunch of ideas and one of them was sort of related a little bit to what
we’ve done with its experience and that was the one they ultimately went onto so
we kind of put the Vader immortal on hold or what became Vader immortal on
hold and then focused on this interactive experience and it was great
because it gave us a chance to step back and say you know you know people are
going to enjoy this more if they are not the fly on the wall they’re in VR it’s
really disappointing to stand in VR and watch to other people have a
conversation around you we want you to be part of it so we proposed retooling
it a group of us got together and pitched to Lucas story and to the execs
here at ILM xlab and they agreed to let us make a little prototype which is
essentially something that became more or less the cell scene that you see in
episode 1 invader a model where Veda comes in and gives you something to look
at and sort of hints at some of the backstory that David Goyer had come up
with and we show finish that showed it and everyone’s like yeah this is the way
to get going to go with it and just at that point
oculus became involved and were actually really interested they’d seen in the
older version but the fact that this was now going to be interactive I think got
them more excited and then almost at the same time they were starting to plan for
the quest which was a new device that you know I think when we first saw the
previews of it we couldn’t be more excited of oh wow tether lists you know
so it was just it just seems like a great project we had to rethink a little
bit because of the the device but you was just a tremendous opportunity yeah
it’s so interesting when we started seeing VR devices becoming more popular
special hand controllers not possibility of interactivity real-time in your
activity kind of go hand in hand and when you think Star Wars the first thing
I think people think about is is lightsabers and force powers and of
course that’s in experience as well but you’re saying that all started with the
story that David Goyer wanted to tell how do you then as the director choose
what interactive elements are there and what the the player going through the
experience gets to interact with well you know it’s interesting actually David
Goyer has written games and worked on games so he had some thoughts in there
but really it was more through us prototyping and doing experiments that
we came up with what would be satisfying you know one of the things I think a lot
of people discovered particularly with this most recent wave of virtual reality
development is that simple things can be kind of interesting like you know
operating you know levers and and that sort of stuff so there is that aspect to
just doing something that you would do in normal life in VR there’s something
fun about that oddly we knew lightsabers were going to be a big part of it and I
think one of the things that really drove us to rethink things a little bit
was that it was like oh you have a story and then you go into a lightsaber
experience and then you go back to a story and then you go into some other
sandbox and it wasn’t really tying it in as much as we felt it should so but we
had sort of started developing like the fact that the lightsaber staff how would
different lightsabers work how would they cut things we’ve just put a lot of
research into trying to make you know this was an opportunity to make it feel
like you’re really were holding a lightsaber in a way that I don’t think
you can in another medium so you know that was kind of there and I do think
that one of the things that the team really leaned into was the
experimentation of not being sure that they knew what the answers were like
visually you had a picture of what you wanted to create but from an interaction
point of view there was a tremendous amount of experimentation we needed to
go what interactions grabbed the player you know climbing a ladder is one of
those simple interactions that turned into it in credit
rewarding experience when you’re in a headset doing it and I think with all of
the ass all the gameplay aspects like the interactions like the lightsabers
you guys had a tremendous amount of work to do to put to find that sweet spot
where we’re inviting the player into this world and then letting them inhabit
the Star Wars universe like as as a character in the story which is a
fantastic balance and one of the interactions that resonated will really
mean with episode 1 is you know droids which is a big part of the Star Wars
universe as well and having my Rudolph’s character Zoe be there to kind of be
your companion as you’re both kind of experiencing the story there are parts
where I’m turning over to her and the animation she looks back and that kind
of recognition even though it’s a scripted event or you know it’s a non
real player character makes it more immersive you know it’s funny we toyed
with the droid we were like wanted to make you connect to the Droid and we
actually evolved that first scene in the spaceship quite a lot in the windfall to
try and explore that a little bit more and we kind of went all over the place
with it a little bit you know she started off maybe being a little bit too
bossy like she would at one point we had you her send you to the back of the ship
to check on the spice crates you went down there fiddled with the dial check
there okay and then came back and it was like you know and then you were going to
have to dump them about three minutes later when you were under under attack
so it felt like she was bossing so we sort of said okay this is busy work we
do not want to try and make the player have to do something just to do
something if it’s not image so we tried to sort of we got rid of that and tried
to make sure it was in the narrative and instead because we still wanted you to
get a connection with her and you know one of the first things that we really
proved to ourselves was the idea of the character looking you in the eyes and
being important which we’d sort of really explored with that Vader the
smaller test that was key and so we’re like how do we get Zoe to look at you in
the eyes and so we came up with the thing where you you guys are working
together to diagnose the ship and fix the ship and that was sort of based on
having that one-to-one connection and you know
of course my Rudolf was we wanted someone who had experience who felt like
they knew what they were doing that was funny and also was sort of what you know
that you felt like would be your friend and she sort of had those qualities that
I think are essential because it always really your voice in the world since the
player can’t talk though he gets to express for you some of the feelings
that you might be having and making her personable as well as you know / as well
as a little bit sassy right like pushing you pushing pushing pushing against the
world in ways that you might not dare but that was her personality and I think
Maya leaned heavily into that which is also a conscious decision to not to have
your character have a recorded voice even though there is a lineage and a
name and everything yeah that’s interesting and it’s still something I’m
not I think it was I tend to think that that’s the way to go we actually talked
to a couple of really high-profile game designer directors and they were like
you need protagonist voice you know this is and we’re like well we don’t really
want to do that for this project because you know we are making you a character
and it was really important to us that you were sort of key to the you know
you’re really part of the story right the story wouldn’t necessarily be
possible without you being there so but in this case we decided not to do it I’m
certainly interested in exploring that but I don’t know I felt like in the end
I was happy that we’d gone that way another thing that’s really impressive
about all three of the episodes is the location the fidelity and the kind of
the scope of the environments can you speak a little bit about the design of
those and how you’ve balanced something that’s gonna work on a mobile headset
like request but also look good if you’re playing on a PC tethering to the
rift s I think the first thing to do is ignore that you’re going to be on a
mobile has to like the quest and ignore the limitations of VR and so when we
were doing concept art I essentially the brief was pretty like we are making a
Star Wars film you want spectacle like in a Star Wars film you have spectacle
we want to deliver that you want this experience of walking to a large space
we know from other VR projects we’ve all played how effective scale and space
should be and so as we are structuring it we sort of came up with you know the
idea that you would be in small spaces and then it would open out and you’d be
in larger spaces so we kind of did all that and did the concept and even the
great boxing to a large extent without necessarily being overly conscious about
what we were going to do you know we actually developed a lot of the key
characters in the film pipeline and then said okay how do we get this running in
real time and now how do we get this running on mobile and it’s just a lot of
work you know you can watch see that’s real time right because like in the film
pipeline you don’t have to think about scalability not throw more hours at the
rendering no I mean yeah I go from projects where a frame of one of my
characters might take 24 hours to render and suddenly it’s got to be you know in
crazily short amount of time yeah and on secrets we actually k2s Oh had actually
been they’d run k2o so using Unreal Engine 4 some of those shots in in rogue
one in secrets it had to be real time you know for the void so 90 frames per
second stereo and Wow it we real that really told us you know to try and
because we basically had a turntable side by side where I was like oh it’s
it’s exactly it looks exactly you couldn’t tell and so but the amount of
work that put into it was just crazy this happens to be the hangar inside
Vader’s monolith which we see here but mainly the goal of this space was to get
you in an authentic Star Wars experience to make you feel like you’re actually in
the Star Wars universe and capturing as much of the fidelity
and look of the actual hangar in all the movies is what we really wanted to
accomplish essentially what we had to do to get it on those mobile platforms like
you said because our desktops are way more powerful than the Questers so what
we had to do is take into account as many optimizations as possible and I
think some of the most interesting things about this is we actually built
this environment using very few sets of textures we use what are called trim
sheets which you’re probably familiar with
so what we mean by trim sheets is to have a bunch of different detail
elements laid out in a way that we can reuse them and cut them up and use them
to make many different elements so this is just the normal map for the trim
sheets on the on the gantry’s this is a piece created by then Hale one of our
great environment artists and you can see that we get a ton of usage out of
this and there’s a lot of different pieces on here that we use to make this
whole gantry so instead of having a texture for each one of these pieces for
this one this one there’s quite a few different pieces including these
barriers it’s essentially all made from that one trim sheet including all the
detail on the bottoms and the sides and all the all the little doodads and
greebles that we have running across all these users maximizing the capability of
the hardware for the size of each of the sheets as few of those as you need as
possible exactly it helps cut down the memory footprint so we don’t have to put
as much on the headset itself and it generally works very well for getting us
a lot of variety just have to get a little creative how to use them
this piece here looks very complex but essentially it’s all made up of trim
sheets so very Star Wars very much in universe a lot of visual interest and a
lot of elements to take a look at again this is only two textures and the
cool thing about this is it shares the same materials and textures as like even
pieces like this which are just just some ceiling pieces to add some detail
but you can see we’ve duplicated the same same kind of elements on this thing
and made a whole new object something that’s you know very much looks like it
has a purpose but you know very Star Wars at the same time and cost effective
well not only is it visually Star Wars but also the way you’re going about
making it is like the ion model shop day absolutely building model kits freebie
pieces and as opposed to having to you know have 50 different motifs you’re
using the same four five over and over again and in generating that same look
yes is it our Wars is essentially kid bashing in its finest yeah in terms of
the vehicles this is one thing that’s actually near and dear to my heart
because I I was originally tasked with making a windfall and start unique ship
in this in this experience and in the Star Wars universe so I was real happy
to work on that so I wanted to show you just some of the some of the modeling
we’ve done for the windfall here and again this this will end up being a game
model so this this is kind of cut in half here and I duplicated as much as
possible just to be as efficient as possible but essentially I went ahead
and modeled this whole ship and very much it’s very similar to the Falcon
because this is a smuggler ship so I wanted a lot of sort of Falcon esque
elements like the radar dish and things like that and this was greatly informed
by Steven Todd one of our amazing concept artists he did a great job on
this and gave me all the information I needed to take it to the next level but
if you remember in episode 3 of so II comes out of the
on top of the windfall here and we could have just just done that as hey here’s
just a hatch it goes nowhere it doesn’t matter no one’s ever gonna see it but
the truth of the matter is we actually spent I spent some time modeling the
whole interior of the ship so this this whole ship has a complete interior and
it even has a lot of working features like the the lift that we would have
used to get up to get up to save you in the end of the experience so all all the
things like that are still in there even if you take a look at some of these
areas here if I can hide them you can start seeing some geometry that’s
underneath there including like engine exhaust it’s all there ready to be cross
sectioned out and that’s unique for for a ship easier cranium for this
experience specifically you’re not rebuilding like the Falcon or our TIE
fighter that’s been seen that’s been created in front of different ways like
this becomes the master reference if the ship is used again absolutely yeah this
is definitely where everybody’s gonna start just from these these files that
I’ve made so hopefully someday the windfall will be somewhere else and I’ll
get to have been a part of that here’s an example of what a concept art
would be and this is really the the inspiration for for the beginning of
lighting so what we what we will sort of extrapolate from this particular image
which is like a concept artwork is the the mood and the the the intention what
what the what the character is going through what what we’re hoping to
inspire you to feel as you as you experience this part of the story and so
what as a lighting designer or a lighting TD we we break down this image
we take this image and we we break it down into visual components and visual
components are basically building blocks for an image for a picture so in this
case you can evaluate it based on color saturation you can look at it from the
point of view of contrast you can look at it from the point of view of of depth
like sort of depth cues and so those are some of what we’d call basic components
and you use those components to through what they call affinity and contrast to
either increase the intensity or reduce intensity and for the visual experience
so that it matches what the store what’s happening in the story I find that a
concept of cognitive load really interesting because we’ve got a visual
sense of the development of an environment from the gray boxing to a
fully textured and post-process effects and when you look at the finish scene it
looks I had so much more complex than if you just look at the geometry for
example how does lighting serve to you know hide the fact that their geometries
focus certain area or that you’re developing for things that need to be
rendered in real time that need to run on these headsets yeah I think that
definitely you know working with the environment artists with and
and of course taking my cues from the concept art I come to understand what is
what is the general ambient level of lighting in that environment and where
are the sources and starting with something like that I think the hangar
here in episode 3 is sort of one or more one of our more complex complex
locations and as you can see there’s there’s all these little icons you see
here are actually indications of light sources and so and I think part of the
challenge for part of the challenge for lighting initially is to make sure that
there’s that it that it sort of matches the mood and intention what’s happening
and and that the the location feels believable in this case it’s a hangar so
the scale of it is really immense and so with with that scale the way that you
can help illustrate scale like a large space is actually by a certain level of
visual complexity and what that would mean is like multiple sources the the
light fall-off of the sources is very local meaning short fall offs because
you know it’s it’s not something like the Sun which has this sort of infinite
fall-off you have much smaller local sources but
they collectively will light the room so it’s almost like a force perspective
that with lighting correct hey your smaller lights make things you think
like things are further away and you’re hiding in the shadows the corner so you
don’t see the edges sure and and I think I think what the what I also need to
consider because of the technology that we’re using and the software is that
when I light the environment I’m also lighting what would be called the
indirect lighting cache which is like light probe information which is
volumetric light maps for for the moving characters or who are moving through
that space and in this case in the hangar when I when I light it with these
multiple lights I also have to be mindful of how I’m lighting these light
probes because a stormtrooper might be running through
a certain area and if I’m lighting a part of the wall just for the wall and
not being mindful of the characters that are running through there then those
characters are going to be you know hit by a really hot light and which won’t
make any sense in the space and so part of my design is to be able to design and
I’ll show you what that looks like volumetric light samples and as you can
see this exposes really the lipo data that’s generated through the static
light map when I bake light maps so I kind of I work with baking you know the
static geometry which is the environment and at the same time lighting these
light probes to generate enough information so that when I when I bring
a character in here I know that they will have the appropriate level of
lighting for this set the first time when we when we got the the quest
headset my my biggest concern was there’s no way we’re going to actually
be able to light Vader successfully on this quest headset because you know
there’s there’s no shadowing there’s I can I can only have four dynamic lights
at once and that’s taking up most of the GPU and so that leaves no room for
anybody else so I really had to go okay well what works what can we what what
bag of tricks do we have and one of them is actually to light through cube maps
and so this is like and this is an example of like what I would craft in
set and and do and make a 360 cube map to be the light source for a character
like Vader and you know Vader is such an iconic character and and I think it was
for for us to hit this sort of technique and look for Vader made me more
optimistic that we could actually manage to pull this off I mean you mentioned
dynamics lights as well and the Star Wars franchise has perhaps no psychotic
dynamic like the lightsaber of course they learn to say you also have to
factor that as well and how the players use of that
even characters like Vader interact with light design of scene and you know and
the I think what’s what’s great about that is dynamic lights are there you
know it’s it’s it’s real-time so it it is it it’s such a it’s alive
really so I think it’s great when we have you know because a lot of their
environments we will bake that that sort of high quality bounce lighting GI al we
bake all that into the environment to keep the complexity and the look which
is more in line with a filmic look as in medical look and also the look of Star
Wars and so to be able to to have some tools on for the for the characters was I think that was one of the biggest
advantages coming into a Star Wars project with a with ILM and the force of
ILM behind us where when Ben would lay out his vision for an area and you know
if we if it was going to be something like the hangar scene in Episode three
where it was like oh and there’s gonna be a droid army and they’re gonna be
marching in and then there’ll be a war with the thing with the stormtroopers
and from a pragmatic producer point of view I was like I think we should maybe
look at that and then men was like no no this we do this we do these things and
that turned out to be the biggest truth of this production is that the magic is
real but the things that the this team can do to pull together this abstract
concept of a battle happening on a droid on a hangar floor while you’re watching
from above and to turn that into something that’s absolutely spectacular
on the screen like that is that that I think is I think why this experience is
immersive as it is because they’re from every frame you’re thinking about not
just the foreground experience of the player but how to enhance that with the
whole lifestyle ISM you know you’ve got to have a battle saying yeah this is the
large scope stuff too I think you guys did a really good job of also just
focusing on animation on your field stuff some of the most impressive things
are when you’re holding artifacts and they really come alive animations or
whole walls come back you speak to some of those animations and things that not
necessarily compute heavy but just yeah your artistry I mean that is that is we
have a mixture of artists on the project you know chip Karl and Colin henan were
our animation supervisors we did mocap we had some really seasoned great
performers like Julie Nathanson and TJ storm who you know he played Vader and
Julie played a number of characters including the motions for Zoe and they
bring a lot with what they do it’s a little different though you know real
time compared to my experience on film on film we will do mocap on the stage
and then we will have a lot of time to polish it and so that was kind of you
know understanding that oh no we need to directing on the stage what we’re gonna
do because we don’t have as much time to polish I’m also another animation that’s
in the experience you use a VR tool I believe quill yeah I’d like for the
flashback that was really really delightful to see you talk about
stitching to use that and how those animations were done yeah it was an
interesting thing so one of our briefs was to look at different ways of telling
stories and we talked a lot about environmental storytelling we had this
idea of freezers so we knew we had to tell a back story of lady Kovacs and I
mentioned that we sort of worked closely with Lucas story and that includes all
the way up to Kathy Kennedy who is sort of saying look I think you need to one
of her big notes was I think you need to give us at least the the stakes in the
first episode so we’re like okay well we want to sort of talk a little bit about
what lady Kovacs did and you know that things she created and so we talked
about maybe we should make some statutory and we actually did a little
bit of that through the experience and there’s graffiti sometimes you see there
but in this case we thought okay we’ll have the priestess tell you a story and
then you know it would be great to have images that go along with that but
rather than her being like in a gallery and showing here’s a carving of this and
here’s the carving of that it would be really good if it could surround an
immerse you so essentially we said we wanted to use quill and oculus were
really supportive and they put us in touch with some of their quill experts
but really it came down to our concept artists here in the ILM art department
for the first one was Chris Voigt and he learned quill taught himself
quill and then with forward hue one of our effects artists here they worked out
how we could get that in first into to play on the rift which of course you
know obviously there had been cool projects for that but then to get it
onto the quest as well there was some initial feedback that people weren’t
really sure about that scene and so it was great of course when it came out and
people were like yeah we really love this but by then we were already well
into Episode two and we kind of said look we do want to have another scene
like this we really liked it you know internally
that because it was the black Bishop narrating it we felt like we could do it
something different so we kind of looked at more expressionistic styles and we
wanted it to be a bit more unsettling and nightmarish so that was kind of the
brief there and you know again forward and the team sort of just really brought
this okay how do we make that work so that we can we can do something a little
different definitely felt like an experiment that succeeded and the saw
what lightsabers and enforce powers I want to go back to the core of Star Wars
I can only imagine what the the pressure must have been to get that right because
it’s something that in VR people have an expectation of how that can work and it
you have these motion controllers but everyone in their mind knows it has
played with a toy lightsaber or has imagined force powers and what was the
process of getting those things to to feel right for fans and for VR users
well you know we had done a little bit of exploration with that of course going
back to trials on Tatooine several years ago so they’d been a little bit of work
on that and then actually Cullen McKay who is our design director on the first
two episodes put a lot of work into that and Ninja Theory who were outside
collaborator that we worked with that did a lot of work on Episode one did a
lot of development and research early on to how we would use this lightsaber how
it might cut and that sort of thing visually we kind of have every advantage
because we’ve done them for the movies and we also had the advantage of
Skywalker Sound so you know the Skylab team that a part of Skywalker Sound that
work with xlab you know did a terrific job and just you know they would do
things like if you put it up to your ear it would sound you know different they
really put a lot of work into making the saber as phil and i think a lot that
really helps all of that then we had all these you know how does the saber move
through space and it was funny because our oculus had beat saber of course and
a couple of other things where you had trails there like well now it should be
like to happen like and i’m bringing up footage from the film and saying no this
is how it looks in the film and that’s the look that we want to try and keep –
because that’s what you expect so i think it’s um it’s having that
it’s in our DNA I suppose helps and I think from an interaction point of view
we were really lucky in that we got the chance to make to build this the
standalone lightsaber dojo a piece that’s outside of the story world but
really let’s the player get in there and learn how to wield that tool and we had
an entire team and led by Jose Perez our experienced designer and an entire team
of programmers and designers and and artists working together to make the
feel of that experience and the play the usability of that experience like they
were working that in on that in parallel with the team working on the story for
the extent of all three episodes so they had a lot of time to be polishing those
interactions and make them as good as they could be here so the first thing we
did was we had this really cool thing where we could build up our dojos over
the course of three episodes so for the first episode we focused purely on just
the lightsaber and which I think that was a really smart choice for us because
the force added a ton of extra abilities so just focusing on the lightsaber we
could dig deep into haptics making sure that it felt good as soon as you light
that lightsaber that’s like that’s an iconic moment right so making sure that
it kind of like has the good haptic bump and it lights up and you get the good
audio there worked a lot with binaural audio to make sure that you could hear
it in all the places and then a lot of it was just making sure that the
lightsaber felt right when you were actually attacking enemies and slicing
enemies in half and that was a massive challenge especially on quest which is
you know not as powerful as what you’re going to get at home on your on your
huge huge machine so digging into the lightsaber first gave us the ability to
think a lot about what it means to do melee combat at all which is really
difficult right because of the obvious reasons you don’t have any resistance if
I hit another lightsaber so we built a lot into our actual design of our
characters to accommodate that so you’ll notice that we have like this weird can
octopus droid that we have our training droids and when you’re kind of clashing
with them or blocking they have multiple arms so they can kind of spin around the
other way so we were thinking about a lot of the ways that we could get some
of that action when you don’t have the resistance and so we were able to just
kind of build off of that for the next couple
so once we figured out that okay we got the lightsaber feeling good we finally
got some cool slicing mechanics we’re learning how to block how to parry and
just really getting that that feel down then for lightsaber dojo – we had an
opportunity to introduce the force because we were doing it in the kind of
the main story experience as well and so that was taking okay we have this
lightsaber and it works pretty good what’s the next step for that and the
first thing we did was really just focus on kind of the intent of how you use the
force and making sure that it wasn’t it wasn’t a bunch of just buttons you know
we didn’t want to like just highlight things and press buttons and just like
you know this button moves it forward this button moves it backwards we wanted
to make sure that we made the fantasy of that work right so you reach out your
hand and even though there’s a button it’s just that one button which is the
same button as grab and so using that to lift things and levitate things and move
them around and and fling them was just kind of a natural extension of what you
would do with kind of your normal grab mechanics but then we had to put this
whole other suite of messaging around it to make sure that it would work right we
did a lot of interesting things with the throws to make sure those would feel
good so yeah we just we just kind of kept building on it from there until we
could add more lightsabers we’ve finally gotten to two handed lightsabers and
crazy Darth Maul lightsabers and all of that stuff so it was really just we had
a really great opportunity to slowly build up to dojo 3 where we could throw
everything in the kitchen sink yeah yeah so you mentioned intent right and it’s
one of the things that’s very difficult this developers figure out because yes
you have input and way more input than the traditional video game experience
with really of motion controls but you’re also talking about putting our
hands out there and then reading someone’s mind essentially so how do you
design so that you can make someone feel like they you are reading their mind and
letting them lift the thing that they’re looking at there’s a bunch of little
things that we did so kind of as you’re moving your hands around with the force
it’s basically a ray that’s casting out right and that ray is hitting these
different objects and when it hits those objects we’ll give you a little bit of a
rumble and then we’ll put a little bit of a faint glow around those things and
that little Rumble is symbolizing you know hey you’re kind of able to kind of
use this thing once you grab from there it just works and that works on all the
things that are flying around so it’s subtle I don’t know
people notice it but if you can’t move your hand around you are getting these
just little tiny subtle haptic feedback that’s letting you know like hey that’s
something you can grab over there now going back to lightsabers and melee
combat also something that VR kind of shrug let’s mention resistance not being
in the haptic feedback is something you can’t do right now with motion controls
do shows you know some some solutions developers have looked into you know
creating physics based objects and modeling your arms or any times that you
guys experiment let’s do it did yeah we experimented with different weights and
so there are some times in there where you’ll be fighting a larger droid and
when you get into kind of these clashes we will bend your hand a little bit to
kind of accentuate that and make it feel like it’s a little bit stronger but for
the most part we wanted it to be as one-to-one as possible because otherwise
you know you kind of start to disconnect at a certain point and if my hand is
floating way over here but I know my real hands here it just doesn’t feel the
same and so we wanted it to be as true as it possibly could to you know what
you would expect from a real lightsaber and you know lightsabers in general it’s
kind of the perfect weapon for PR right I mean it’s Lysa’s through anything so
we had the perfect excuse right off the bat with that which was great and
something that you can do with lightsabers obviously deflect yeah way
you signaled that is with cues as well a couple designing that system to make it
feel like you are a Jedi’s that you can deflect blaster fire yeah that was super
fun we went through a couple different iterations on that for a while we were
gonna like slow slow time and we kind of play this happen it didn’t feel right
for the experience that we were making and so at first there was also kind of
like a baseball bat way of deflecting things back which felt weird because
that’s not how Jedi’s do it you know and so in the end we went with the system
where the lightsaber itself is more like a mirror right so it’s more about kind
of holding it vertically and pointing at the right places to do the deflection
and then for the Telegraph’s to know where you were being shot from we would
give you like about a second and a half telegraph where you’d get a big light
and a sound of Newton’s before it shoots right so you’d have that feedback that
you could see but was so exciting about Quest specifically is the binaural audio
right so as soon as we started to get this moment where it would fly behind
you and I’d be fighting a droid over here and I would hear it you know with
the audio that was actually I thought the coolest Telegraph stuff that we
could do because you you started to feel like a Jedi where you’re like fighting
something here and you hear the you can immediately go back and block it so it
was a mixture of audio and I just really cleaned Telegraph’s to show where
everything was going and so we leaned into that hard for the dojo and it was
definitely something we talked about a lot making sure that you know you
weren’t getting attacked too much from behind but we were playing with that
space and really letting you do cool things like when a bleed remotes flying
it like this and it slices you don’t you’re back before it gets there so
really just digging into it and letting the systems kind of be and do their
thing the projects all wrapped up are you guys still thinking about the
interaction or things that you know if you guys were able and given an
opportunity to explore storytelling in VR and start us more would you feel like
you would could push things further even oh yeah I think you know as we said you
know earlier or maybe before the interview were talking about how virtual
reality is still evolving we’re still learning so much about it and I think
that you’re coming out of this it’s it’s you know I only makes labs it’s
continuing to do new projects new explorations and so I hope we have a lot
of you know rich time to explore and and to try new stuff and keeping tabs on
changing Hardware and changing feature sets absolutely of the hardware I mean
that’s gonna be you know it’s it’s just gonna get better right it’s like it’s
funny because I was what are the films I supervisor was Star Wars Episode two
which is one of the first big films to do digital cinema and you know there was
a lot of in this even to this day there’s a lot of old film versus digital
and you know we’re sitting there saying this is as bad as it’s ever going to be
right the the length the quality level here it’s only going to be better and
better and it’s sort of limitless with digital like the dynamic range is going
to be infinite at a certain you know everything can get to a higher fidelity
level then film will ever be able to because of the limits of physics and I
think that’s why it’s so exciting to be working with folks like Ben and the team
of artists and designers at X lab because nobody’s letting the limitations
of what we can do today hold back their vision
what VR can bring to the player and I think that it’s what it’s why I love my
job yeah it’s important for us to keep
looking at what everyone is doing and be a part of it and don’t go in saying hey
we have the answers you know I think we definitely felt like we discovered some
things that just that we were able to evolve during the project that oh okay
well this is good yeah these are sort of principles that might guide us in future
but you know it’s um it’s still it’s still something that I you know the
industry is still growing and hopefully it’ll grow a lot faster and faster and
faster so now that we have things like the quest and I think that we were
hoping that Vader and model gave people who had an experience for a comfortable
way that sort of demonstrated to them hey this is really cool you know that
got them excited you know and even if they are oh I don’t want to put the
headset on or you know this is big and then they put it on there like oh okay I
get it that’s that’s kind of what you go for I think the appetite is there and I
can’t wait to see what’s to come thank you both so much for a real pleasure
thank you