Introducing the 2019 Oculus Launch Pad Scholarship Recipients—Plus 2020 Applications Now Open

Oculus Blog
July 31, 2020

Our fourth annual Oculus Launch Pad program has come to a close! Last year, we welcomed 100 new developers from diverse backgrounds to join us for two days of hands-on learning and invited them to continue that momentum through Oculus Connect. At boot camp, we spent two days sharing best practices, unique perspectives, and inspiring ideas. Launch Pad attendees then had four months to build a prototype that could be submitted for consideration as part of our Launch Pad Scholarship program. Today, we’re excited to introduce the 2019 Launch Pad Scholarship recipients and their VR projects that are helping to push the industry in exciting new directions.

Detour Bus
Zachary Flores & Ezra Robinson

Detour Bus is a casual, virtual-reality, construction-comedy game, where players build complex winding highways around themselves in 3D space, to take the Flores family on a roadtrip across a post-infrastructure America.

Detour Bus represents the future of games and immersive technology as inclusive, safe, and accessible media. By creating experiences that are available to a diverse group of people, we can encourage more people to explore VR and become more involved with the industry. Simplifying an experience to use one button and capitalizing on feedback currently built into VR hardware—such as tracked controllers, haptics, and spatial audio—helps players feel the wonder of VR without friction. This game serves to explore what accessibility can look like in the VR medium, and how aesthetics can support accessibility-first design.

Luna: Episode 1
Charlie Wannissorn

Luna is an interactive animated VR series about the journey and friendship between you and a little girl who becomes a cyborg after a life-saving surgery. Her life takes a turn when the AIs become infected by an OS update and start killing humans. Hunted by the droids and rejected by the humans, Luna has nowhere to go. You, a commercial droid, encounter Luna and somehow become uninfected. As you fill in the role of her parent to protect her, Luna’s purity starts to shine in this hopeless, apocalyptic world.

Dylan Paré, Scout Windsor, & John Craig

Discover how gender bias affects identity development through an interactive, first-person narrative experience where your choices shape the environment. Transform the space to show who we can become when we tap into our memories through interactions with meaningful objects and re-story our lives and our world towards belonging.

Justin Palmer, Jonathan Schrack, Jonathan Marlin, Elliot Boyette, & Kathryn Hicks

MEND is an asymmetric, cooperative platformer. Two players work together to explore the game world, complete challenges, and solve puzzles. One VR player, and a friend with a controller, must take advantage of their unique perspectives and abilities to progress through the realm. Can’t quite make that jump? Ask if your VR buddy can help bridge the gap! Suspect something sneaky your fellow platformer may have missed? Reach out with the Touch controllers and investigate the scene for invisible secrets! Teamwork and collaboration are the cornerstone of MEND’s gameplay.

Jasmine Bulin, Austin Krauss, & Dave Dorn

Neverboard is a social space for hanging out and playing your favorite board games in a whole new way! Filled with easy to pick up 2-4 player games and delightful interactions, there is something for everyone to discover. Friends can join from anywhere, you can eat virtual pizza, and you can even flip the table. Through the magic of VR never will you have to explain the rules, shuffle cards, or clean up, and most importantly—never will you have to play alone again.

Michael Lee, Kristin Kirk, & Eric Mai

PLEASE is a top-down rhythm-based game that subtly teaches people socio-emotional intelligence through music and play. PLEASE’s story depicts alternative and expanded views of the internal suffering that people unintentionally project onto each other, deepening skills of listening, empathy, and the taking of attacks less personally.

Control a mute avatar, learn about different characters’ trauma, and help them feel listened to by solving puzzles and surviving music-based bullet-hell gameplay. Make decisions that can alter the outcome of the story, and learn how to better harness empathy and compassion!

Rafael Brochado, Guillaume Nicolas Bailey, John Michael Ruiz, & Rahul Joshi

Tablecraft is a cross-platform multiplayer VR game designed to enhance players’ relationships to, and knowledge of, STEM. It uses a scalable learning design, built around self-directed goals and customization, combined with its peer-to-peer online framework, letting an entire class of students collaborate in or outside virtual reality.

Vault of Stars
Robin Moulder-McComb, Cordelia Wolf, Chris Castaldi, Colin McComb, Christina Irwin & Angle Gomez

The living constellations of the Great Zodiac have long served as a shield against the emptiness and entropy of the Void. But the Void’s corruption has seeped through the Vault of Stars, summoned by the evils of humanity. The stars have fallen and shattered the World Tree, plunging the world into night. The constellations have risen again as unholy shadows.

Vault of Stars is an open-world puzzle adventure game, set on the islands at the base of the World Tree. You fly through the world as a spirit of starlight using our innovative rubberband movement system. You will travel across the islands of the Vault, restoring the light or purging the shadows. Discover the story through cave paintings, crumbling ruins, and animated memories of the past that replay like ghostly echoes.

Oculus Launch Pad 2020 applications are now open through August 20! Click here to apply now.