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  • Joseph Siehl

Production II Blog | Oculus Start and Oculus Quest

Introduction:

Near the end of March, my team sent in a pair of applications to Oculus, each of which was intended to bring us one step closer to publishing Snowball Showdown for download. Our first application was for the Oculus Start program. This, if accepted, would allow us to receive 10 Oculus Rifts, among other benefits. The second application was to possibly release Snowball Showdown on the Oculus Quest store. Given that the Oculus Quest is a wireless VR system - and is, as a result, more accessible to people who do not own high-end computers -, this would help us to expand our target market to one that would normally be unable to experience Snowball Showdown. As such, we decided to focus heavily on these two applications and to submit them as soon as possible.

 

Oculus Start Application:

We began work on the Oculus Start application almost immediately after learning about it. The application consisted of a Google Document, which contained information on the game's concept, mechanics, production cycle, and value as a title to be released on the Oculus Rift. It went through a number of revisions, the last of which I spearheaded to iron out any grammatical errors and to ensure that we got our ideas across in a clear, concise manner. On March 18, 2019, our producer Chris McCammon informed us that he submitted the application to Oculus for perusal.

The image Chris sent us on March 18, signifying that the basic application was complete.

Roughly a week later on March 26, Chris sent out another message informing us that we were nearly approved for Oculus Start, but we first needed to switch Snowball Showdown's SDKs to Oculus'. This would allow us to be accepted into the program, and, in turn, receive the benefits that come with the Oculus Start program.


The email Chris received from Oculus informing us that we were accepted into the program.

At around 9:00 that night, I went to work with Chris and our three programmers - Matt Aquino, Nat Walker, and Kelly Herstine - to see if I could help the swapping process. While I did not provide much aid over the next three hours or so, I did take the time to learn more about the inner workings of our game. By the end of the night, the programmers had fully swapped out the SDKs with no major issues, allowing us to inform Oculus of this change immediately.


The next day, Chris informed us that we had been approved for Oculus Start, and he forwarded us an email containing a number of benefits we would receive for being part of the program. These benefits include access to a 12-month-long Unity Plus license, access to Oculus' Developer Support Team, and 10 free Oculus Rifts - one for each member of the team. This last one excited us greatly, as it would allow each of us to work on the game without having to rely on the few teammates who own VR headsets, making development much smoother and more efficient than before. It also encouraged us to put more work in over summer break, given that we could now theoretically work apart from each other.

 

Oculus Quest Application:

Shortly after completing the Oculus Start application, our team turned its attention towards completing the Oculus Quest application. We had already put effort into it before this point; however, we had, for a time, considered it secondary due to our focus on submitting the Start application. This allowed us to put it together relatively quickly, and we turned it in on April 4.


The application consisted of three slides. The first slide contained the game's basic concept, which we roughly copied from the Oculus Start application, along with our team's launch plan and our post-launch plan. The second contained our game's three pillars and price, the expected length of each match, and our justification for why Snowball Showdown would be a perfect game on the Quest. Finally, the third slide focused on our studio's experience, our time investment in the project, our expected timeline and release window, and our team members.


Unlike the Oculus Start application, we have yet to hear a proper response from Oculus. However, we are expecting one by April 19, and we hope to be accepted to the store.

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