VR took over rAge 2016. One couldn’t round a corner without seeing a Oculus Rift or HTC Vive. Playstation VR also had a huge stand dedicated to showing off their new headset. If you looked around, though, there was a little understated stand that had a little more than the norm. Blue Ocean VR had a green-screen walled cubicle surrounded by a few laser units and a powerhouse PC. It looked unassuming until I peered closer.
More than your average VR setup
What I saw was this: laser sensors in the stand assisting the HTC Vive VR headset in movement tracking. All this kit linked up to a monster PC. We’re talking about live motion capture combined with VR gameplay. You crouch, your avatar moves down with you. Jump, and it’s detected on-screen. Let that sink in for a moment. Can you see where this technology might go into the future? Two controllers with trackpads and triggers allowed players to control a first person shooter. This was part of what the creators of the Oculus Rift and Vive had in mind. The game on display had players use the two controllers to wield a gun and shield against waves of drones. The higher the wave level, the more demands on your reflexes.
A combined setup detected body movement in conjunction with the headset. Controls were simple: a simple click to fire on the triggers, and hold for weapon menus. The wired connection from the Vive headset limited free roaming. The games on show had to cater for this handicap by limiting movement. The main purpose of this demo was to showcase the potential of VR, and I can confirm this with conviction.
So began the demo
Blue Ocean VR’s assistants handed me the controllers. The Vive felt a little tight around my head. Once the game began it didn’t matter. It’s easy to understand why the 2160×1200 resolution and low latency mattered so much. Technical specifications just heightened immersion. Head movement felt immediate, the controllers felt light in my hands. This made controlling the game easy. I felt that immersion could’ve been deeper with feedback gloves. It was a pity that they were not available to test out. Aiming felt natural and leading shots with various weapon fire modes was intuitive. Choosing various fire modes was just a matter of clicking on a touch-pad. The shield in my left hand became a necessity as lasers bolted past my field of vision.
The drones attacking me grew in numbers with each wave. Once I reached Wave 10, the game ended. A late-level drone defeated me. That ended the demo. The experience was an eye-opener. I saw the potential of what VR could do in the future. Imagine how much we could reduce the cost of training with the right kind of equipment? I can see how astronauts, pilots and racing drivers will reap the benefits of VR.
Mixed Reality – taking cosplay to a new level
Blue Ocean VR also demonstrated Mixed Reality. That meant players’ actual appearances were emulated in-game. Imagine a ninja cosplay working in a similar-themed game? Thats what we saw. MR proved to be a bit of a challenge with player animation and player tracking glitching during gameplay. Let’s remember that this is a young technology and that we’re going to see major improvements over time. Imagine what a powerful tool a good VR setup could be for engineers with the right simulator? Yes, emulating reality will never replicate reality. Looking ahead, VR will provide a great learning platform. The next 5 years are going to be quite exciting.
Blue Ocean VR is opening this Saturday at Bedfordview (15/10/2016). They’re looking to showcase what VR can really do. Why not pay them a visit?
Contact details are below:
905 Bedford Centre Office Tower, Cnr Smith Rd and Van Der Linde Rd., Bedfordview, Gauteng, South Africa
072 733 5346
Latest posts by plut (see all)
- Movie Review: xXx 3 – The Return of Xander Cage - September 4, 2017
- Movie Review: T2 Trainspotting DVD - August 21, 2017
- Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts DVD - August 18, 2017
- Movie Review: Power Rangers 2017 - August 18, 2017
- Movie Review: The Lego Batman Movie – Why so serious? - August 11, 2017