So, I reached out to one of the higher ups at Oculus, and asked them if there was anything else that I could do to get feedback. They told me that their content review team would be getting back to me shortly.

A little while later, I got an e-mail from them saying that my application for Hardware hadn’t been prioritized, and that I’d be contacted when they have more developer hardware available.

Still no word from their content review team though. Hopefully I’m not supposed to read into the hardware request rejection as their feedback on my app… But since that’s the only feedback I got… maybe that is what they meant? I’m honestly not entirely sure.

So, I’ve gone back and forth with Oculus for nearly a month now. They re-affirm that I am approved for keys only. To me, this means that I have the ability to give my game away for free by publishing these early access keys. So I’ve tweeted out keys, and I’ve put them on forums, and other websites, and put them out on Facebook, and I’m not sure how many I have to give out, or if there is an amount after which they would start to reconsider me. My latest interaction with them outlined all of my changes to the latest version, and they approved it after playing 1 level for two and a half minutes. They didn’t even try the Multiplayer functionality (which is rough… but it was listed as a change). So they aren’t communicating with me, and I’ve received no feedback.

Meanwhile, I submitted to Google, and asked for their Daydream team to review it. Within an hour and a half, they e-mailed me back with feedback that was actually extremely helpful and relevant. They suggested that the blue dragon to the left of the area of focus in my 360 store screen shot looked a little blurry, and needed to be cleaned up. Super helpful. They also provided feedback, saying that if you remove the phone from the device, and click in the top left corner, the app crashes. So, I’m not sure if I had an exceptionally awesome reviewer, but I had 6 e-mails back and forth in the course of a friday evening, and I received an e-mail the following Monday morning indicating that I was approved for the Daydream Badge, and that it would show up in my game shortly.

Meanwhile. 26 days later. Oculus still hasn’t provided any feedback on what I can do to be publicly listed.

From a developers perspective, Google Daydream has been way more pleasant of an experience. I love their code samples, and their framework. I just wish they had more users.

Anyway, check it out. I’m on Google Play.

I’m really glad I wrote this script.
But I don’t think I’ll need the one above it anymore.
I should probably just delete it.

Keys-Only-Unity-Window

I’ve chatted with several Oculus Staff. They have reaffirmed that my game is approved and that I can generate Keys to distribute to whomever I would like. They have also said encouraging things like:

we’d be happy to take a look at your next project!

I asked a bunch of questions about what I can do. If I can distribute my game for free. I’ve cited other games that… aren’t great, but are at least listed on the store page. I’ve asked if I fix this or that, if it would make a difference. Then I went to the analytics, and I was shocked. The time that they spent actually playing my game is pretty surprisingly low. Which means it was based on the first impression of about 5 people. So, tell me that. Tell me that they looked at my store artwork, and played for about 20 minutes, and didn’t really get how to play. I can address that. That’s not difficult to provide that much feedback. And then I realized the kicker:

I didn’t even get an e-mail from them after the review was completed. They didn’t even e-mail me saying my game was done being reviewed. I happened to see it in the dashboard on a Friday afternoon. I e-mailed them on Monday because I was confused. They got back to me on Wednesday.

Some interesting full quotes:

The content review team decided that Dragon Flight did not meet the standards to be included in the Oculus Store.

As I mentioned, we’ve enabled Oculus Key generation on your submission so that you can distribute your content through the Oculus platform. Due to the volume of submissions, we can’t offer specific feedback at this time. To get an idea of the content standards required for the Oculus Store, please take a look at our publishing documentation, especially our Best Practices and Publishing Requirements. You can also look through the games and applications that we currently feature.

We’re always looking for great new apps and games, so we’d be happy to take a look at your next project!

Here is my response:

Jared Judd Today at 14:15
My analytics show me that 21 Oculus staff/people installed my game. 13 of them played for 30 minutes without loading a single level. (Are they doing their job?) None of the players loaded my favorite level (flying a dragon in between islands). Only 5 of the 21 content review team that installed my game accomplished the first step in the game (flying through a ring).

K – I get that there isn’t real specific data that you can provide, but I get the sense that my game was rejected(?) on a very limited first impression. Which to me says Store Artwork, and maybe the lack of a tutorial? (13 of 21 users internally didn’t load a level after 30 average minutes of game play?)

You get on the back of a dragon, and you fly through a big floating ring in the sky to load a level. There are 4 rings. 13 players played for an average of 30 minutes without making it through one of the rings.

I know my game needs more polish. Might need a tutorial. Might need new store artwork. I’m self conscious about parts of it. I understand that you can’t give me specific feedback. But I don’t understand the feedback of “we’d be happy to take a look at your next project!” You barely took a look at my first project, and you haven’t really told me what you thought about it. I didn’t even get an e-mail after the content review team finished. I reached out to you 3 days later to ask what the next steps were, and was told simply that I can generate keys to distribute my game.

Honestly. After submitting my game, I didn’t even get an e-mail.
Think about that.

So after the realization that the only way to sell my game is on my own…

I’ve posted to Facebook to all of my friends. Oculus = Facebook after all, so let’s start there. None of my friends have the GearVR, and I’ve had 0 keys redeemed.

I’ve posted across a dozen different VR forums and said, hey, here’s my game’s website, and a bunch of free keys. All the VR forums I’ve been able to find have very few active users, and the post has had 2-3 views each, and 0 keys redeemed.

I’ve posted to Twitter, with as many hashtags as I could think of. Trying to give away free copies of my game, just to get usage statistics for Oculus, or as feedback on what I can change in my game. Honestly if somebody is just giving away copies of their unpublished game… I’d think it was a scam, or a waste of time. My trailer video has more retweets than me trying to give the game away for free, and as such I’ve had 0 keys redeemed.

I’ve given out Keys to all my developer friends in the space that have a GearVR, and none of them can use the keys. Why you might ask? Because they are already Alpha users of my game, and so their statistics don’t count(?). And thus, using this method, I also have 0 keys redeemed.

My discover is that I’m not good at Distributing Games. I can’t give away my game to players. You know who is really good at selling VR games? Oculus. They have a lot of users, and a lot of visibility, but I don’t have any ideas as to what I need to do to get published on their platform, and am left outside of their walled garden. It’s cold and lonely out here.

KHW9W-R9GAC-JCCYK-7GKCW-MJK93
GWC4F-4R3R9-XXTWA-4FQP9-PKC93
9KGQ6-J6TGW-YEA6K-GTC33-HCYEG
ANTH7-TE64F-JP9PY-XTEYT-KWYWE
Y3N7P-NC9T6-ET3JG-MYH7H-JNMYN

1. Launch the Oculus app.
2. Tap the menu icon in the upper left.
3. Tap the settings (“gear”) icon in the lower left.
4. Redeem Code
5. Enter one of the codes above. Odds are they still available :)

So, I’ve gotten the game playable, and I’ve spent a lot of time working through the environment art, and the gameplay modes. I was really excited once I found what I considered to be a very fun loop within the game. There is very little left that I ‘have’ to do before I’d consider it the minimum viable product for the Gear VR. I have some lofty goals around post launch goals (Multiplayer, more levels, more dragons, more animations, more polish, better performance, etc. etc.).

But the basics of the game are you load into an environment where you can customize your dragon, view your scores, or climb atop a dragon, and fly into one of four realms. Within each realm there are 3 different game modes. First mode is a ring game, where you fly your dragon around the environment through a series of rings. It’s more of a suggested tour of the area, but allows you to just enjoy flying on a dragon and setting your own pace. The second mode is an unlimited fire mode, where you have several things to fly around and roast. This again, allows you to just enjoy flying around and lighting things up whilst riding on the back of a dragon. The third game mode is a challenge mode, where it combines flying through rings, collecting firepower, and then burning things down. This actually turns out to be really fun because you have to balance how quickly you pass through the rings, with how diligently you search for firepower. Fly to fast, and you won’t be able to burn down enough ships or buildings. Fly to slow, and you won’t have enough time to collect firepower, and you’ll miss out on burning things down.

Additionally, I’ll have a number of potions which can be collected throughout the levels which unlock dragon colors. So customizing your dragon is another layer of the game, where you will need to explore the far reaches to collect the colors that you want your dragon to be. Simple mechanics, but I’m really proud of how the game looks, and ultimately I find it really fun to develop, and to test, which is a promising thing. I still have to put together a video, screenshots, and finish some of the code around these features, but I hope to be just in Bug Fixing mode by October 1st. It’s getting really close now that the three game modes are available.

Next stop – additional hardware, and additional features. Unless the wind carries me in a different direction to a new project 😉

I had a ton of fun at the Unity Meetup Tonight (Slides here). I’ve had a lot of contract work recently around HTTP and REST api interactions. So I thought I’d drone on about the best way to handle these functions in Unity, and give a little shoutout to a Unity Asset.

We also talked about the game jam, and our sponsor Houdini. I’m getting really excited that it’s coming together, and I’m excited to see what everyone comes up with. Also had a good dinner with some friends. It’s always good to catch up.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about how to get Traffic working and really be performant on mobile, and desktop. So here’s the start to getting a new path based system with lane departure (not merging) that I got working.

So, after this video, I made it so that the system will only process vehicles that are within a specified region of the camera. I got it so that it can have 2 million total vehicles, and only show and spend GPU and CPU on the ones within 100 meters. It’s a pretty cool system that I’m sure we’ll use in a lot of different projects moving forward.

I was really happy to have been able to help on the Farmers 2050 app which just was released. (iOS, Android)

It was really fun to work with the team at Robots and Pencils on this project. The client was really cool about developing a farming simulation game that is entirely free! So, there are no In-App Purchases, and there is no Advertising, and it’s a free game. The intent of the game is to educate users about what goes into farming, and how interconnected it is to a community. It was a really fun project done in Unity, and had a lot of interesting moving parts. Had a blast developing for this client.

Hey, checkout my Unity Asset here.

So I wrote an API wrapper for Google Street View in Unity. This was the foundation for a prototype I was building, and I looked at the code, and thought, I’m sure other people could probably find this useful if they are developing in VR. So I put together a cool tool to feed in a lat / long as an input, and then update a cubemap on an interval. Pretty straight forward, but I enjoyed making it, and I hope a few people will enjoy using it.