The Story of 3lb Games

In 2024, with Apple’s entry into the spatial computing market, it’s fairly obvious that virtual, augmented and mixed reality are not just for gaming. Spatial Computing is making inroads into industry, healthcare, education, and how we connect with friends and family. However, the underlying experiences built for these purposes is technology that was created and refined in games. Game mechanics and design enable apps that more closely emulate real life and have led to an explosion of use cases for virtual and mixed reality beyond gaming proper.

The journey of 3lb Games as it transformed into 3lbXR exemplifies the trajectory from 2D gaming to the rising adoption of immersive technology across industries and use cases. Founded in 2008 by Robin Moulder, who brought with her an extensive background in engineering and music, 3lb has taken their expertise in game development and turned it into tools that facilitate the creation of experiences with the latest affordances of spatial computing.

The first VR game the company released was Space Dragon, in 2017, for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive PCVR headsets. The high complexity of Space Dragon required experimenting with available tools and gaining proficiency with movement and interaction in 3D space.

As early as 2016, when Space Dragon was in development, 3lb offered a VR Movement System for Oculus and HTC Vive that was the first asset ever approved for the Oculus Touch in the Unity Asset Store. The VR Movement System helped reduce motion sickness, and was rated highly by developers who used the system.

“When intent aligns with action, movement in VR feels both intuitive and natural. The key to our system is that it improves the connection between a user’s intention to move and their perception of how and when they move. By eliminating sensory conflict, we significantly reduce one of the biggest contributors to motion sickness.”

Robin Moulder

The experience 3lb Games gained in working on the VR Movement System sparked the insight that there was a demand for tools that could speed and facilitate development. Working on the open-world puzzle adventure game Vault of Stars under an Oculus Launch Pad scholarship in 2019 gave the 3lb Games team further experience in all the mechanics that make a VR experience successful.

Seahorse Temple Puzzle

Using their experience as early adopters in the VR space, 3lb Games was tapped to help create showcase titles such as Slime Rancher VR Playground and Nature Treks VR.

As headset capabilities raced forward, 3lb was close on its heels. Hand tracking, multiplayer, and Mixed Reality modes required new, advanced development skills to implement, even as more and more people with creative ideas began to enter Spatial Computing. 3lb Games was there, remaining ahead of the curve, experimenting with each new capability.

3lb Games tested their new, expanded systems working with XR Workout to implement new capabilities into their exercise app, the first of its kind to do passthrough workouts, full body workouts, including situps and pushups in XR.

Meanwhile, the company ventured into healthcare and training, creating experiences for the Tucson Medical Center, Henkel, Xenon VR, and the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas. Each of these presented their own challenges and required that 3lb further expand their platform capabilities.

With the release of Grokit, a Mixed Reality game with hand tracking for multiple simultaneous players, 3lbXR showcased the fruits of their years-long efforts. The idea behind Grokit was to create a multiplayer mixed reality game with an intuitive design, where players of all skill levels could grasp the game quickly with limited gameplay instruction.

Grokit was built as both research and development and a showcase for the capabilities of the very latest XR headsets and of 3lbXR’s GroKit Core platform, which was launched in 2024. GroKit Core is a spatial computing & AI platform built on the principles of game design to give enterprises and developers across all industry verticals a tool to create fully realized XR applications and immersive business solutions. READ MORE

3lb’s move toward the GroKit Core development acceleration platform shows that the company values not only their own success, but that of others in the XR and Spatial Computing space. The future is one where we use all the technological tools at our disposal to enhance our learning, socializing, and entertainment. 3lb’s journey from game development to Spatial Computing development platform provides an example of how the market is maturing and of how the principles and mechanics of game design will power adoption of XR across education, healthcare and industry.

Categories Blog