Whether you are a first time Content Creator or an experienced studio, we’re excited that you’re creating amazing VR Content and are interested in bringing it to the SpringboardVR platform.
These content guidelines are a work in progress. As you may notice, we’ve liberally borrowed from some of the largest platforms like Apple, Facebook, and Google. These industry leaders have been navigating the difficult questions around content for over a decade, and we have a lot to learn from them.
The guiding principle for SpringboardVR is simple: to make the best, most transformative VR content available to everyone, everywhere.
What does that mean?
We believe that VR at its best has an important role in the healthy formation of communities and individuals. VR is an entirely new experience-driven medium. Studies have shown that the brain perceives VR in much the same way we perceive “real life”. You don’t watch VR, you LIVE VR.
This means VR is a powerful experience-generating machine.
Because of this potential for VR to activate “real-lived experiences”, we’ve elected to organize our content by the sorts of transformational opportunities VR titles might offer our end-users. Below are our Content Guidelines, which lay out both the categories of content we’re actively looking for and the type of content that isn’t a good fit for our platform.
- Content That Meets Our Standards
- Content That Doesn't Meet Our Standards
- Technical Requirements
- General Guidelines
Content That Meets Our Standards
We are excited to host VR content on the SpringboardVR platform that...
FACILITATES NON-DESTUCTIVE HAPPINESS
- Happiness: A feeling of pleasure or contentment that does not diminish human freedom.
- Job Simulator, Beat Saber, Space Pirate Trainer.
FACILITATES HUMANIZING EMPATHY
- Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
- Clouds over Sidra, Project Empathy, Where thoughts go.
- Health: The condition of being sound in body, mind, and spirit.
- Creed, RacketFury, Beat Saber.
FACILITATES BEAUTY & GRATITUDE
- Beauty and Gratitude: A state of awe for something extra that did not have to be; excellence in quality.
- Tilt Brush, Gravity Sketch, La Peri.
- Transformation: An opening up to new possibilities, paradigms, or frameworks.
- Meditation VR, SoundSelf VR, Freud-Me.
FACILITATES GROWTH & LEARNING
- Growth and Learning: Gaining knowledge or understanding by study, instruction, or experience.
- COSM, IDR, Overview VR.
Content That Doesn't Meet Our Standards
While we want our content guidelines to sketch out what we’re for more than what we’re against, there are pragmatic concerns that need to be addressed. We want to provide a safe and transformative experience for everyone involved: game developers, operators and end users.
To do this, it’s helpful to keep these few points in mind:
- We’re not interested in bringing every title to our platform. If content is king, curation is queen. This matters equally for end users and developers joining the platform.
- We will reject titles for any content we feel crosses the proverbial “line.” Admittedly, defining that line is difficult. It requires careful consideration, guiding principles, community, and ongoing navigation. As a Supreme Court Justice once said: “I’ll know it when I see it”. We reserve the right to reject titles we feel violate our community’s best interests.
- We strongly support all points of view being represented, as long as the content is respectful to users with differing opinions and the quality of the title is great.
Defining content that isn’t a good fit for SpringboardVR
When users step into VR, they expect to enjoy an easy, fun, and safe experience. Titles should not include content that is offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, or in exceptionally poor taste.
Examples of such content include:
- Defamatory, discriminatory, or mean-spirited content, including demeaning references to religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, national or ethnic origin, or other targeted groups.
- Gratuitous violence and gameplay that elevates violence for the sake of violence.
- Realistic portrayals of people or animals being killed, maimed, tortured, or abused, or content that encourages violence.
- “Enemies” within the context of a game cannot exclusively target a specific race, culture, real government, corporation, or any other real entity.
- Depictions that encourage illegal or reckless use of weapons and dangerous objects.
- Illegal use of drugs or alcohol.
- Sexual or pornographic material, defined by Webster’s Dictionary as "explicit descriptions or displays of sexual organs or activities intended to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings."
- Inflammatory religious commentary.
- No Content that modifies the user’s system without permission.
- No Content that violates city, state or nation’s laws.
- No Content that contains malware, viruses or any other components that negatively impact the end user’s computer.
- No Content that records user data without their explicit permission.
- No content that facilitates gambling, including, online casinos, sports betting and lotteries, or games of skill that offer cash prizes.
- No Content that is purely designed for advertising.
- No Content that infringes on copyrights you don’t own.
Many titles that work perfectly for consumers playing in-home need to be tweaked for the out-of-home setting. Furthermore, our game launching and user management platform has certain requirements to ensure that the customer experience is immersive and seamless. For titles looking to join the SpringboardVR platform, note the following requirements.
(Required for every title)
- SteamVR SDK
- Using other SDKs is allowed - we don’t require a specific build that gets rid of other SDKs.
- Do however ensure that SteamVR is used by default, no matter the connected device.
- Steam DRM Disabled
- Portable Build
- A folder that contains the game's executables and its resources. By resources, we mean: sound effects, music, textures, levels, anything that isn't code.
- Defining “ portable build”
- If you had that folder on your disk, you could run the executable, and the game would work. No extra steps needed.
- This means installers are not supported.
- Comfort Requirements
- To avoid motion sickness, titles should:
- Track head movements properly or render visuals stereoscopically.
- Connect visual movement tightly with user input.
- Hit a 90 FPS threshold on a minimum spec computer. (GTX 970 + Intel i5)
- Avoid sudden changes in brightness, sudden changes in acceleration, jerky movement, dropped frames, inconsistent scales and follow other best practices for VR motion comfort.
- To avoid motion sickness, titles should:
Out-of-home VR specific suggestions:
Many titles that work perfectly for consumers playing at home don’t work as well in an out-of-home setting where hourly employees or student workers are monitoring stations with end users that have never played VR before. The following are suggestions and strategies we’ve gleaned from surveys, backend data and countless hours talking to operators.
(Suggested but not required)
- Reducing the time from game launch to actual gameplay is important.
- End users are paying by the minute to play. Operators tend to not use titles that have lengthy load times, long tutorials or that require complicated movement in a “menu environment” to actually jump in to gameplay.
- Reduce complexity of menus.
- 95% of customers are first time VR users. Complex menus kill immersion and create a bad first time user experience.
- Simplify input.
- Having to learn and memorize complex input, even with “modifier buttons” is a no-go for most operators. Users get frustrated and will have to ping staff to get help or will switch titles quickly.
- Avoid the use of the Vive “grip” buttons for critical gameplay.
- Operators tend to not use games that require the use of the grip button. Having employees “hold” customers hands to explain how to use the grip buttons isn’t ideal.
- This isn’t a deal breaker for us, we understand the limited scope of buttons developers have to work with.
- Keep movement simple and nausea-free as much as possible.
- Teleportation is best for new users.
- Options are OK as long as they are not accidentally triggered and reset after being changed by the user themselves for the current play session.
- Tutorials are good.
- Tutorials help operators by reducing the amount of time they have to spend teaching customers how to play games.
- Short tutorials are good. Long tutorials not so much.
- Again, customers are paying by the minute. Finding that balance is key.
- Finding immersive ways to make the tutorial feel as though it is part of the experience is important.
- Requiring excessive movement in the physical space is not recommended.
- Operators have 8-12 stations in a small space and are always concerned with the possibility of injury.
- Games that require the user to punch, swing or thrash need to be very carefully designed.
- Many operators won’t use titles that could open them up to liability.
- Enable internet multiplayer. (Not just LAN play).
- While some users do come in groups to play together, the majority come in alone and titles that require LAN play won’t be a good experience for these users.
- If your game has multiplayer, having bots is important.
- Generally VR games don’t have large player-bases and sometimes finding others to play with is impossible. Without bots your title becomes practically unplayable.
- Also, since most arcade-goers are new to VR, bots gives them an easy way to practice before going against VR vets in competitive play.
- Launch the game with the spectator window maximized.
- Operators prefer this, it creates a cleaner visual aesthetic for customers watching friends play in VR.
- No configuration windows on launch.
- This breaks functionality with SpringboardVR.
- It’s a bad user experience for the arcade-goer. The title needs to launch seamlessly, without any other setup required.