Sony has provided all of the details on the upcoming launch of PlayStation VR, but now the company needs to make sure developers are ready. During a PlayStation VR talk at GDC 2016, SCEA senior dev support engineer Chris Norden stressed some key points for interested developers.
According to Gamasutra, the biggest point of Norden's talk was hitting the correct frame rate for PlayStation VR content. He even went so far as to tell attending developers that Sony would likely reject games with variable frame rates, or frame rates under 60 frames per second.
"Frame rate is really important; you cannot drop below 60 frames per second, ever," said Norden. "If you submit a game to us and it drops to 55, or 51...we're probably going to reject it. I know I'm going to get flak for this, but there's no excuse for not hitting frame rate. It's really hard, and I'm not going to lie to and say it's extremely easy...it's really difficult. 60hz is the minimum acceptable framerate. Everybody drill that into your heads."
Norden was also quick to correct misrepresentations of the PlayStation VR's breakout box, the small box that connects to the headset and the PlayStation 4. That box does not add additional processing power for PlayStation VR games. It handles object-based 3D audio processing and the PlayStation 4's system interface in PlayStation VR's cinematic mode.
Another SCE employee, SCE Japan senior producer Nicolas Doucet, pitched party games as one of the better uses of the PlayStation VR. The entire system can show one scene (video and audio) to the player using the PlayStation VR and another scene on the television or monitor. Sony used this idea when it was developing Playroom VR, a showcase of the PlayStation VR's capabilities.
"VR is often seen as a solitary experience," said Doucet. "As we thought about it, PS4 users also have a TV in their living room and surely the TV screen is something we should still use."
Sony realizes that virtual reality content is still new ground for many developers, so the company is starting a VR consultation service. The service will help developers navigate around potential VR pitfalls and poor design decisions. The consultation service isn't mandatory, but it is recommended, according to Norden.
"We have a team of VR experts that will play the game and look for technical correctness," he said. "We're not going to beta test your title or anything, but we're going to provide you kind of a report of 'Oh, this is a possible nausea trigger. Oh, here you're dropping frame rate.'"
The PlayStation VR will be launching in October 2016.