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5 quick tips when building VR focused environments

I just wanted to outline a few of the things I’ve discovered that have helped us keep our environments feeling rich and still work for the up to 6 camera set up we have for BeeBeeQ.

  1. 2×2 meters and 5×5 meters, these are your magic boxes, keep your VR Player in the 2×2 meter box and your story in the 5×5 meter box.VRlevels
  2. Realtime reflections are not always your friend in VR, all that extra rendering can draw much needed power away from making your game playable so utilise reflections probes, for anything that can be built with a straight edge use box projected reflection probe. Below you can see the lake from our park level which ordinarily would probably have a slight organic wobble to it, but given the distance it is a fair trade off to build the lake edge straight and use a box projected reflection probe, aside from the signs not reflecting you wouldn’t know the difference, and the signs can be duplicated flipped vertically and rippled with a vertex offset in the shader to solve that.ParkLevel_2017-01-09-19-15-43
  3. The details. Your players are going to get extremely close to everything you make, so this means a few things, firstly your textures have to be high res, fortunately VR ready graphics cards have plenty of memory for you to fill with textures, but if your textures can’t be high res then they are going to need to tile well, in BeeBeeQ we use a combination of both, and where tiling is visible in the distance we use maps in the DetailAlbedoMap channel, this is usually clouds or grime, something to break up the texture. The important thing is to make sure your players aren’t seeing pixels. Below you can see grass in the foreground and the same texture on a different material in the background with the DetailAlbedoMap. Likewise in reverse use modeled assets to create your tillable textures, then use the modeled assets to break up the textures around important game areas.
    VRGrassVRBricks
  4. If at all possible choose a simple style for your textures, high contrast high detail textures wont hold up as well close up compared to simple gradients and basic colours,VRTextures
  5. Light rays can be expensive, so model the shapes you need in non dynamically lit areas and use the particle additive built in shader for simple light rays, or build your own shader for more elaborate effects. Finish the effect off with an emission texture to match where the light is casting on to the carpet. VRLightRays
    Thanks for reading, I hope some of this helps.

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