Hello, and welcome to this devlog for my virtual reality project development! *high five*

If you’re new to this site, here’s a quick intro: my name is Jacob Pernell and I am a freelance composer/sound designer for games based in Seattle, WA. I have the pleasure of creating audio currently for a parkour-adventure game called Failsafe, among a few other titles! In addition to my game audio pursuits, I also have a background in game design and development, having assisted in a number of roles at companies such as Nihilistic Software, Toys for Bob, and Namco Bandai Games over the past several years. I love collecting skills/experiences and being a ‘jack of all trades, master of some’ (thus Buckaroo Banzai is basically my spirit animal), and I love bringing people together and forming communities. In that vein, one of the other hats I wear is that of the co-founder/co-director of a game event in Scotland called the Edinburgh Game Symposium!

I am passionate about bringing game worlds to life and immersing players in those worlds. Whether I am composing the soundtrack for a game or scripting a scene in Unity, my aim is to transport players to another realm… to immerse them in another atmosphere and have them be captivated by this other world and story. It is for this reason why I am fascinated with virtual reality, and have been for years. (As a kid, I would beg my dad to take me to the special arcade where they had old school VR machines. I even invested many hours of playtime into Mario’s Tennis on the Virtual Boy. People look at me funny when I tell them I actually enjoyed playing it…)

I feel that virtual reality is absolutely a step in the right direction for the future. Not just for gaming, but for education, healthcare, and many other fields as well. Given my audio background, I recognize the importance sound and music plays in creating presence in any given experience. Now with 3D spatialized audio in VR, the way audio is created and implemented is so much more important for creating that sense of presence and immersion. No longer can you just create a stereo ambient loop, plop it into your scene, and call it a day — it’s time to get a lot more creative about how we are approaching audio design (and, well, design as a whole) for VR experiences. Figuring out how to solve these creative challenges is exhilarating to me, and is what inspired me to start doing VR development. I am excited to be here exploring and experimenting, to try and obtain fragments of answers to some of these questions.

I am thrilled to be part of this field that is changing the way we play and hear games. My plan moving forward with my development is this: I will be prototyping and will release a small VR experience approximately every 3 weeks. I have a journal full of VR ideas I want to create, but I’m going to pace myself an take it step by step, starting with small bite-sized prototypes. My initial ideas are inspired by a desire to experiment with audio creation and implementation for VR, to figure out what sounds and feels right and perhaps try to move closer to understanding and discovering some baseline standards in VR audio. In the future I will branch out to experiment with other elements of game design, such as environmental storytelling, narrative design, and whatever else I am curious to explore at the time.

I am creating this devlog partially as a way for me to stay accountable and on track with my own experiments. But, it is also a way to engage with you, the VR, game dev, and game audio communities! Think of it like coming to hang over at my house while I’m having a mini-game jam every ~3 weeks. I encourage all of you to comment whenever you feel inspired to do so, whether you have a question about what I’m doing, a suggestion for how to make my code more efficient, or want to just say hello! With such an exciting and (relatively) new field absolutely exploding right now, I am very much in favor of opening up discussion as much as possible. The sharing of ideas and promoting conversation among our communities is how we are going to continue to facilitate the rapid evolution of this field and art form.

I have just completed the first week of development on my first prototype, a Rainforest scene — you can read the devlog for that here.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the ride. 🙂

– Jacob

P.S. If you would like to receive an email notification whenever I release a new devlog post (approx. 1 email each week), sign up for my VR devlog newsletter here!