Behind-the-Scenes of ‘Stormland’ with Oculus Studios Executive Producer David Yee

Oculus Blog
November 6, 2019

We’re just about a week away from Stormland launch, and we’ve been celebrating with some mini-Q&As with our favorite insiders. First up was Insomniac Games Principal Designer Duncan Moore, followed by Lead VFX Artist Yancy Young. Today we’re back with another installment—but first, the third and final clip in the Stormland Overview: Sypher’s Log video series.

During the launch day stream on November 14 at 1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT, you’ll be able to follow along with the Insomniac team as they play on Twitch, Facebook, and Twitter. In the meantime, here’s what Oculus Studios Executive Producer David Yee had to say.

Oculus Studios Executive Producer David Yee (right) with Insomniac Games Senior Community Developer Tim Salvitti and Facebook Technology Communications Manager Alaina Laszewski at PAX West.

How did you get your start in the game industry?

David Yee: I started in the game industry in 1994. I was going to college and got a job working on strategy simulators and then spread out into other genres. One of my favorite early projects was as a designer on the first EverQuest (another designer put me in as a guest NPC with my own Magik shop in one of the starter towns).

Soon after, I moved out to Westwood Studios to work on the Command & Conquer franchise. Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with world-class developers including Insomniac, Ready At Dawn, DICE, and Harmonix.

What role did you play in the development of Stormland?

DY: One of my roles is to help guide our developers to build something that is authentic to their creative vision while exploring and pushing the boundaries of VR. In many ways, I act as a sounding board while asking a lot of questions to see if we can do something that’s never been done before.

One of my favorite examples with Stormland is the concept of being able to climb on any surface. When we first talked about exploring this feature a few years ago, there weren’t any other VR games that allowed you to do this. Another example is when we were talking about the ability to move through a larger world and how it was hard to build something at that scale when we didn’t have a good way to move through it. Being able to talk to the team about all of the different locomotion options that we had seen or wanted to try was part of figuring out the structure for Stormland and how it all fits together.

One of the best parts of my job is that these conversations with Insomniac started four years ago. We’re releasing Stormland soon, but a lot of what we see in the game was built on working with this team for years.

What’s your favorite part of the game and why?

DY: My most favorite mechanic for Stormland is harvesting. Breaking apart a weapon or collecting plants is a really tactile way of interacting with the world, and it felt pretty good from the very beginning. I can remember first trying the feature and breaking all of my weapons to the point where I had nothing to use during the play session because I would snap everything in half as soon as I got it.

A lot of VR talks about presence as a visual thing. For me, tactile moments where you interact with the world and have it respond to your touch—in a way that just makes sense—is equally, if not more, important for convincing players that they’re being transported to another world.

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, David! We can’t wait for the Rift community to experience the slipstream for themselves.

Pre-order Stormland today to snag some limited edition Oculus Home statues and prepare to #ReclaimYourWorld on November 14.

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