The Great Pug - West is now live on VRChat! This is a new unique second location of The Great Pug that was built with Oculus Quest in mind. It is smaller, has a lower player cap and has fewer moving parts.
Some of you may have seen work was being done to port The Great Pug to Oculus Quest. If you had an Oculus Go or an early Oculus Quest, you might have even tried it out yourself! But I have chosen to not move forward with that port at this time. I’d like to clarify why this is with this post.
First off, the Oculus Quest is a pretty powerful device for a first gen all-in-one VR HMD. I was able to get The Great Pug to run at 72 FPS throughout the world when solo and measuring with the OVR Metrics Tool. And there were still more elements I could tweak and iterate on to lower the render time of the world. Even the mirrors were working much better than I expected! But the graphics are not the whole story when it comes to VRChat.
As it stands now, The Great Pug has a player cap of 22. This provides a full and active-feeling Pug. And very frequently public instances have more than 22 people in them.
For those who don’t know, VRChat has the concept of a soft player cap and a hard player cap. The soft player cap is the number you set as the World author, up to 40. The Hard Cap is double the Soft Cap, up to 80 players. So for The Great Pug, that means, potentially, 44 people could join a single instance. This setup allows you to join a friend even when the world they are in is full. And allows a few people to all join an instance at the same time that only has one more slot open without getting bounced out because they didn’t win the draw.
VRChat on the Oculus Quest does not support 44 people in a single world, even if you were to optimize it down to just 1 or 2 draw calls that would say, just display the color blue. Nor does it support 22 in a single instance well at this time. Especially if that world has anything resembling a detailed environment. This means that The Great Pug would not support the current player cap for Cross-play.
ObjectSync / Pickups
The Great Pug is a bar and has lots of drinks and other objects to pick up and play with. All of these are synced over the network. This can be a heavy CPU load. The resources we have on PC are far different than on the Quest. The Great Pug currently has a large number of Pickups to support the feeling of a full bar, and to provide a variety of options of objects to interact with. I would have to reduce them down to 10% the current count to match what is currently being implemented for synced Physics Objects in the official VRChat worlds created for cross-platform Quest use.
Currently, the Quest-compatible version of VRChat does not support synchronized video playback via the VRChat SDK video player components. These are very important for live events and the parties I hold throughout the year. Being forced to remove these, or to make the event silent and still just for Quest users is a non-option.
I hope VRChat can enable synced video playback in Quest client in the future. But even then, the limitations on the hardware and what it can play may prove to be compromising restrictions that limit it to very specific use cases with small groups of people.
I have hopes and aspirations to continue to expand and improve The Great Pug. I am very much looking forward to Udon coming out later this year. I will be utilizing it to make The Great Pug more dynamic. I envision using it to spawn and despawn synced objects, do complicated logic, change the way it is decorated, add basic games, etc. These are things that I am not yet confident in being able to do down the road without major performance impacts on the Quest side of things. That said, no one knows how it will play out! Don’t take this as evidence that Udon on the Quest client will be bad!
I hope that as VRChat optimizes and refines the client that I will be able to increase the player cap of The Great Pug past 22. I am a fan of dense busy Social VR spaces, and I hope to evolve The Great Pug in that direction over time as things improve. This, of course, goes hand-in-hand with me continuing to try and find more areas and techniques to optimize The Pug, along with the community moving towards a culture of more optimized avatars that are not so greedy about resource usage.
I also expect that VRChat will implement other new features in the future that may (or may not) be performance intensive. I want to have the option to implement these things without compromise for Quest.
The Great Pug - West
All of this said I had to make a difficult decision about what to do. Optimizing the graphics was not going to magically make the Pug work on the Quest, even if I cut out Night View and The Roost and the basement on the Quest side of things.
I have a strong view that The Great Pug is a singular location. There may be instances of it, but there are not multiple versions or copies of it. When I decorate for a party, I do not upload a secondary party version. I decorate The Great Pug like it’s a real location. And when the party's over, I take down those decorations and that event is over. The next time it happens I’ll decorate a little bit differently.
All of this means that making a second copy of The Great Pug, just with a smaller player cap, and fewer pickups was not going to cut it. This is why The Great Pug - West was built. I wanted to make a second world that feels like a second unique “franchise” location that would be built with mobile VR in mind, and the current limitations that the hardware and the VRChat client have. The Great Pug - West has a player cap of 8. Up to 16 can join before hitting the hard cap. It also has a greatly reduced number of pickup objects. And it is designed to be a smaller, more intimate space fitting the reduced player count.
The Great Pugs
Moving forward, I will still be updating The Great Pug just as before. And I will be maintaining The Great Pug - West too! I’m excited to have two different spaces with two different focuses, and I hope you are too. Parties will still be thrown at The Great Pug, and I’ll see what I can do to carry that party over to The Great Pug - West! (Come on video player support!)
Should things dramatically improve over time, I am very open to resurrecting the mobile port of The Great Pug. I have confidence in the VRChat team being able to squeeze more performance out of the client over the long term. We will see how things play out!
Feedback and Bug reports for The Great Pug and The Great Pug - West can be filed at The Great Pug's public GitHub repository: https://github.com/owlboy/greatpug-public/