I recently bought an HTC Vive and after playing a bit with it I’ve decided to see what could be done from a developer perspective.
There are of course well known engine that support VR out-of-the-box (Unity, Unreal,…) but I have always preferred making the game engine myself and just use a graphical engine.
Thankfully I saw that LibGDX and LWJGL both have added support for OpenVR very recently (not released yet, still in snapshot versions) and that is far more interesting for me since I love LibGDX.
I use Linux as my main environment, switching to Windows just for gaming, so I first tried to get gdx-vr to run on Linux but I didn’t succeed sadly :
- There are some problems with shared lib that I couldn’t figure out (“vrclient Shared Lib Not Found”), I tried adding lots of path to LD_LIBRARY_PATH, tried launching Idea from Steam,…. nothing worked
- After about 1 hour SteamVR crashed my computer to a point that even after rebooting my network card was not responsive. I had to completely shutdown my computer to fix it. So needless to say I’m not ready to try again anytime soon, there are some big issues that need to be fixed before imo (on Linux SteamVR part).
As I had already done quite a lot of testing on Linux, the Windows installation was really simple : install Idea (I just use Windows for playing, so there was really nothing ready), JDK, LibGDX, create application, update dependencies to lwjgl latest snapshot, and run the sample. It took me less than 15 minutes to have it run properly from absolutely nothing.
I played with the provided sample by LibGDX and I must say I am really impressed, just adding a few more movement controls went flawlessly (teleporting is included, I tried adding moving by pushing the grip button as a test). Documentation is non-existent as far as I know, but the code is easy to understand and well coded.
And of course I tried loading a scene from Alien Blitz 🙂
This is just a static scene (the scene used for my shadow mapping tutorial, that I had to simplify a bit since it was not loading in current version of LibGDX anymore)
But it feels good to just move around this scene using the Vive controller
Any plan ?
I was looking for a new project to work on in my free time for quite some time, maybe I could do something with VR.
Of course if I have tested a scene from Alien Blitz it is because it could be something interesting to work with. And of course this would be an entire new game & new engine (Alien Blitz is not adapted for FPS, and even less adapted for VR) but I could reuse some assets and make a nice reboot (with a proper story, and such).
Nothing is decided yet.
My main issue right now is that I would have to program the game on Windows… but I think it could work with a Linux VM running all my environment, and just use Windows to launch the game (Java remote debug works very well).