Justin Davis: the Creation of a One-Man VR Game Masterpiece
About: Justin Davis, producer, 3D Artist, Animator, Musician & Programmer of Space Dream VR, a cosmic experience driven by music visualization storytelling and gameplay. Following the release of the game trailer, Space Dream VR achieved rank #4 out of over 7000 games on Steam Greenlight, and 2.6 million views on social media. For more information, please visit: https://www.spacedreamvr.com/
Whenever people ask Justin how long he’s been creating art, he usually asks them “when did you stop creating art”? When he was old enough to use a computer, his creativity was enhanced by technology. Naturally drawn to 3D Art & VR, he started 3D Modeling in 2004 at the young age of 11; when Oculus was released in 2013, he saw a whole new possibility of transforming his work into immersive experiences. In the very same year, his first game, “Lucid Space Dreams”, was released. This VR experience was ranked among the top 10 VR games on the old “RiftEnabled” website.
Justin’s current VR game, “Space Dream VR” is the fruition of 4 years of concept development, which Justin plans to continue improving for the rest of his life. Most remarkably, Justin created the entire game single-handedly. Yes, you read that right. As he sees it, working alone is liberating and a dream of his for many years. Contrary to the difficulty of running a one-man studio most might suspect, for him the experience was a non-stop, 9-month ride of fun and excitement, to the point where he had to consciously rein in his creative zeal in order to keep a regular sleep schedule. The game has already condensed into an eloquent statement of what a single developer can achieve.
The greatest challenge he was faced with, as Justin recollected, was designing a vehicle for Space Dream VR. The vehicle’s development is very different from normal video games, as VR vehicle design needs to be entirely based around providing as much comfort to the user as possible. This meant that the vehicle needed to have the largest viewing angle possible, a huge amount of suspension, and a method of seamlessly carrying the player into the driver’s seat. It also needed an intuitive control system, crash prevention, and an air rotation control system; all of which he had to design from scratch. After 6 days of 3D modeling and texturing, and over 6 weeks of programming, the Terra Auxilium was finally created.
Vehicle – Terra Auxilium
Behind his wonderful gaming design, is Justin’s unwavering faith in God. Having previously suffered from drug addiction and depression, Justin was transformed by love after giving his life to Jesus. When this transformation took place, he gained the ability to see fractal patterns in reality, which enhanced his artistic ability. At the church he attended, he met a couple, Bryce & Angela Carseldine, who soon became his sponsors for the Space Dream VR. Justin claims to have reproduced all the level designs within the game from lucid dreams and visions that God had shown him.
For game developers, especially indie developers, Justin recommends Unreal Engine 4, a free and easy-to-use game engine. He suggests that in choosing your game engine, one needs to consider not only the features the engine boasts, but also how simple it is to navigate. Within only a few months of learning Unreal 4’s visual scripting system, and despite never having been a programmer, Justin was designing interactive architectural simulations for multimillion-dollar companies.
Space Dreams Forest Level – Rendered with Unreal Engine 4
To be a good VR game designer, the most important quality, Justin argues, is the self-awareness to recognize your problems, and the mental fortitude to accept and improve upon them. Being successful starts with one’s mental state and attitude before skills. The ability to teach yourself is also essential. Receiving training in college doesn’t ensure a career as a pro games designer, as the skills required to make a successful game take years of practice. Only those who have the patience and determination to learn on their own will be successful developers.