HBO, Owlchemy, Legendary, Funomena notables join VRDC advisory boards

Influential figures from HBO, Owlchemy Labs, Legendary Entertainment, Funomena, and more will be playing a key role in planning the upcoming GDC 2016 co-located Virtual Reality Developers Conference.

Some of the most influential figures in the world of virtual and augmented reality are joining the advisory board for the inaugural Virtual Reality Developers Conference, organizer UBM Tech Game Network can announce today. 

Included in the lineup are experts from HBO Code Labs, Legendary Entertainment, Owlchemy Labs, Funomena, and more, who will help program the Game & Entertainment VR/AR talks at VRDC 2016, which takes place alongside Game Developers Conference 2016 from March 14th-18th at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California.

The Game VR/AR track will feature a number of lectures featuring practical takeaways for exciting, current work happening in VR and AR game development, programmed with help from the following industry experts:

- Robin Hunicke is co-founder of the independent game studio Funomena, where she is working on Luna and Wattam. A game designer and producer by training, she has a background in computer science, fine art and applied game studies. She has been designing, making and teaching about games for over 12 years (Journey, Boom Blox, MySims, The Sims 2.

- Alex Schwartz is the CEO and Chief Scientist of game studio Owlchemy Labs, creators of the hit multiplatform titles Snuggle Truck, Jack Lumber, Dyscourse, the BASE-jumping VR game Aaaaaculus! and the SteamVR HTC Vive launch title Job Simulator. As one of the first studios to dive head-first into the VR space, Owlchemy Labs' efforts have resulted in one of the top downloaded Oculus Share titles and the top selling mobile VR game on Google Play.

- Dan Hurd likes to refer to himself as a crude homunculus, stitched together from assorted debris, who pantomimes his designs (with gnarled driftwood hands) for the Lucky's Tale and Creativerse teams at leading VR developer Playful. Dan has previously worked on several With Friends games, notably Hanging, Matching, and Gems, but he only designed the cool parts that you like, and none of the bad parts.

- By day Chris Pruett runs Robot Invader, makers of mechanical devices of destruction as well as video games like mobile VR title Dead Secret. He spent three years at Google working as a developer advocate for the Android platform, and is the author of Replica Island, an Android side-scroller with over 1.5M users. Chris spent several years in the game industry as an engineer and shipped ten titles for various console platforms.

- Colin Northway makes games with his wife Sarah. They spent the previous five years traveling full-time while making games. While on the road they made Incredipede, Deep Under the Sky and the Rebuild series. They are currently living in Vancouver and working on Fantastic Contraption for VR with Radial Games.

Of course, virtual and augmented reality development extends beyond the realm of games. VRDC organizers recognize this. The Entertainment VR/AR track of talks at VRDC will encompass VR and AR applications, design, implementation and development across multiple industries including entertainment, travel, fitness, journalism, and sports.

The entertainment VR/AR track advisors are as follows:

- Pete Isensee of HBO Code Labs has been in the digital entertainment business since 1994. He's programmed video games, shipped three generations of Xbox consoles, published dozens of technical articles, and taught C++ tips & tricks to game developers worldwide. Currently, he's a software engineer at HBO, unlocking the storytelling potential of VR with the creative power of the film industry.

- Ikrima Elhassan is a technical creative who has spent the last several years focused on the intersection of creativity and technology. His research focus is bringing film-quality rendering techniques to real time environments. Together with Emmy Award-winning creative director Cory Strassburger, he co-founded Kite & Lightning, a boutique creative development studio focusing on virtual reality. Their latest work has spanned the gamut from surreal art pieces such as Senza Peso to experiential installations for NBC [The Voice] & GE [Subsea].

- Ethan Stearns currently serves as Director of Production Resources at Legendary Entertainment, has a keen interest in AR/VR, and has held important roles at Dreamworks and other cutting-edge entertainment production houses.

- Aaron Lemke is an independent VR designer and musician from Austin, TX. Mostly interested in exploring the experiential side of VR, he has created 7 experiences so far, including Eden River, Lunadroid 237, & Waking Man. Currently he is working on more relaxing and meditative experiences for the Samsung Gear VR, HTC Vive and Oculus CV1, as well as exploring medical applications for VR.

Excited? You can find more information on the first-ever VRDC over on the official VRDC website.

Organized by the UBM Tech Game Network, VRDC will take place alongside GDC 2016 March 14-18 at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. For more information about GDC 2016, please visit the official GDC website.

Gamasutra and GDC are sibling organizations under parent UBM Tech

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