Fourth Annual VR Austin Jam Wraps Up

We did it!

The fourth annual VR Austin Jam just wrapped and it was a huge success! The VR Austin Jam is our signature annual event, a weekend-long game jam where the best and brightest VR & AR developers from Texas and beyond gather to create all-new experiences together, and then share them with the community at our open-house showcase the following Monday night.

This year we hosted the VR Austin Jam at the Austin Film Society Cinema. The event was a complete whirlwind, kicking off with early setup on Friday, November 16th and running until the Showcase on Monday night, November 19th.

We’d like to thank the entire VR Austin family of organizers, producers, and volunteers for putting in endless effort to make the weekend-long event happen. VR Austin is run by volunteer organizers Alex Schwartz (Independent), Autumn Taylor (Owlchemy Labs), Cy Wise (Independent), JJ Castillo (Viewer Ready), Michael Daubert (Phaser Lock), and Patrick Curry (FarBridge). The VR Austin Jam is produced by Melissa Swanepoel and Audrey Halm, also of FarBridge. Thank you so much, everyone!!!

And we’d like to issue a huge “thank you!” to all of the sponsors who helped make the 2018 VR Jam possible! Their support and attendance this year made the Jam even more awesome for everyone involved!

THE NATURE OF THE JAM

Looking back on the last couple of years, it’s apparent how much the Jam has grown since its humble beginnings in 2015. The Jam has always been a prime opportunity for participants to tap into their experimental sides, encouraged by the non-competitive nature of the event.

Since its inception, the VR Austin Jam has operated on a philosophy of inclusivity, creating a welcoming and supportive space in which to share knowledge, create, and try the unexpected. The jam is a playscape where developers of all backgrounds and levels of knowledge can come together to learn, team up, and make something new and daring.

UPPING THE CONTENT GAME

As the years go by, VR and AR devices have diversified in complexity — and our community has risen to each new challenge. This year developers created a mix of seated and roomscale experiences, both tethered and untethered, creating content for a wide range of headsets, including the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows MR, and Magic Leap One.

Our community isn’t only focused on technical innovation — we also want to push the envelope where story and game mechanics are concerned. The team behind Eye Eye Captain joined forces with “Strong Bad” voice over artist Matt Chapman to create a vision splitting target game. Read more about it here.

The creative team behind Machine Yearning, a lighthearted experience that makes the player responsible for the emotional well-being of common appliances, incorporated voice commands and utilized AWS Lex to create unique and on-demand voice-overs for their emotional appliances.

Others took a grand and cinematic route, such as the emoji-titled “Turtle Emoji Game”. A VR music video, beats in the original score prompt the user to conduct an orchestra of magical clay figures to sprout and grow into a lush sound- and visualscape. Surrounded by clay figures, the climax offers a truly captivating surprise. The tabletop next to the monitor proudly displayed the original clay figures– brought to larger-than-life size via photogrammetry.

NETWORKING, SOCIALIZING, AND RAFFLES

From indie devs trying their first collaborative experiments, to sponsor representatives meeting the next wave of creators, the VR Austin Jam provided the space, atmosphere, and tacos to get everyone jammin’ together.

OUR SPONSORS

It’s truly a team effort to put something like this together. Without the support of the community and sponsors like HTC VIVE, Unity, Bose, Microsoft, Alienware, Logitech, Owlchemy Labs, and FarBridge, there wouldn’t be a VR Austin Jam. These sponsors make the event possible, help us welcome new participants each year, and grow our thriving community here in Austin.

The awesome mix of jammers, volunteers, and sponsors makes the VR Austin Jam possible year after year. We can’t know what new and exciting things are in store for next year, but we’re excited to see what the future holds!

To view more photos of the event, check out photos on Facebook or the #VRAustinJam hashtag on Twitter! Stay tuned for more awesome events from VR Austin in 2018! Be sure to sign up on the Meetup page to hear about upcoming events, and get updates on Facebook and Twitter for more VR Austin goodness.