This week Virtually Mine had the privilege of providing guests at #RiskMinds in Amsterdam with the Playstation VR Experience of Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-Wing VR Mission.
Guests jumped into the cockpit as Rebel pilots of an X-wing Fighter trying to survive an onslaught of attacks, dog fighting their way through the far reaches of space in a bid to win a motion controlled BB-8 Droid.
Another awesome event serviced by our VR Specialists and the first of many in a busy December for Virtually Mine! Thanks for having us Accenture!
We produced content for Vauxhall's Luton plant for their health and safety week in November 2017. The plant employs over 1,400 people operating in what can be dangerous areas if people aren't aware of possible H&S hazards.
What we did - Pre-event
We provided storyboards to the Vauxhall team that were created specifically for the production of 360 images and videos. We then visited the Luton plant to capture 360 images of the 5 different scenarios. These scenarios were staged to include various hazards for the users to spot, such as; people on their phone while driving, incorrect protective clothing, standing in a hazardous areas and so on.
Once all images had been captured they were edited to remove any irrelevant objects such as the tripod and photographer. Graphics were also overlaid to illustrate people speeding in the car park.
What we did - During event
We welcomed the Vauxhall staff in groups of 15 to put on the headsets and experience each scenario for a limited time. They then had to mark down on an image where they saw the H&S hazards. All 15 headsets were synchronised so each user saw exactly the same image at the same time on our command.
The session concluded with a member of the H&S team using a touch screen monitor to pan around the 360 images and point out the hazards within the space. At the end of each session all equipment was cleaned and prepared ready for the next group.
Virtually Mine provided all content, tech, assistance and networking solutions throughout the 5 days.
It was a very productive 5 days at Vauxhall. We saw over 1,400 employees for many of which it was their first VR experience, some of which had never seen some divisions of the plant featured. All were educated on typical and not so typical H&S hazards and because it was a virtual, participants could cover more ground in 10 minutes than they could do in 45 minutes.
The ability to transport groups of people to different scenarios virtually meant time was saved and there was less downtime for Vauxhall Luton during this important week of health and safety.
Standing in your room at home or at an event with a big white plastic gun in your hand pretending to shoot deadly spiders the size of a bus might seem a little odd for a fully grown adult. But inside the PSVR headset it’s a matter of life of death!
Farpoint has made a real effort to take legitimate gaming to a VR platform. It’s designed in such a way that it quashes many of the difficulties we see users having in VR. For example, enemies largely approach from straight ahead and movement is for the most part restricted to forwards and backwards to avoid the need to whip your head around - PSVR one, motion sickness zero. But fear not! You’ll have little time to notice the game's limitations as you’re captivated by your Aim Controller.
Looking at the gun in reality you’d be forgiven for mistaking the Aim Controller for a piece of drainage pipe in your bathroom. But inside the PSVR it’s transformed into a deadly weapon. The integration of the Aim Controller is seamless, it’s a thing of beauty! Every shooter should require the aim controller.
Holstering the Aim Controllers makes every battle significantly more realistic. In pulling the trigger you can see every moving part of the gun operate to fire your bullets towards the onslaught of jet-pack wearing baddies. The need to hold the gun up to your eye to utilise the sight on the gun immerses you in the chaos playing out in front of your eyes. The shudder of the gun in your hands as your spray the enemy adds to the realism and in just five minutes you forget you’re not actually holding a shotgun!
Compatible Games with the Aim Controller:
The Brookhaven Experiment
Farpoint feels like a stepping stone to something much greater. The locomotion issues of VR leave the game with little hope of greatness, but it does well to limit game play in such a way that you can experience a first person shooter in a small space in your living room. However this game is elevated by the Aim Controller and we’d buy it over and over again just to experience the controllers brilliance.
We wait in anticipation of a AAA game that can harness the Aim Controller in a FPS with depth to its campaign mode and aesthetics to match.
We now stock the TPCAST! An add-on for the HTC Vive that enables the user to roam free of cables while in VR.
One of the major problems facing high end VR right now is that you are tethered to a PC by a long cable. This cable shoots all the data from the PC to the headset and into your eyeballs delivering you the VR experience. In some cases this isn't a problem but for games and experiences that require the user to turn around such as Holopoint, The Brookhaven Experiment and most RPG's, you will get tangled up. Not only is this a health and safety issue, constant coiling of the wire causes it to degrade and ultimately shortens it's life span, meaning downtime of the whole HTC Vive headset while you replace the cable.
Above: Up until now this was our best option. Fishing anyone?
With the TPCAST you simply connect the cables provided into the Vive, replacing the original USB, power and HDMI cables, strap the receiver to the top and the receiver to a battery which fits in your pocket and you're on!
Check out the video below from TPCAST which gives you an idea of whats in the box and how you connect it to the HTC Vive.
The phone call, the video call and now the VR meet up. The meeting room has changed drastically over the past 20 years, giving people the opportunity to quickly connect and converse. But sometimes you need a little more than a quick call or perhaps you want to show your audience something that can't be done with a video call. *fanfare* Intro the VR meeting, yes an actual meeting as opposed to a call. I popped my first virtual meeting cherry not long ago, it went something like this...
I just met Han Solo
I recently met with a client in Toronto, Canada, I didn't travel out to Canada, I sat in our office in Essex, England. I donned the HTC Vive and waited in the lobby of VR Chat, a virtual world made up of spaces (chat rooms) where you can meet real people, play games and chat, you can also create and submit your own world or space.
The objective of the meeting was to run me through the programme ahead of an art installation. Users will, in pairs, teleport into a dedicated room in VR Chat and be greeted by people from around the world. These people then toured the guests through a series of spaces which were huge immersive submissions for a competition titled Beeple VR Design Competition.
As I got familiar with my surroundings I heard someone say "Hi, Russell?". I looked around and was greeted by Han Solo of Star Wars fame. It wasn't the real Han Solo of course but an Avatar of the person I was meeting. Han walked up to me and said hi, then he ran me through the controls which enabled me to move, interact and gesture as a normal person would. As I had wireless controllers in my hands; every wave, hand on hip and head scratch was animated onto my Avatar, further enforcing the reality of the experience and making it seem real.
Han then said "follow me". As he pointed to one side a portal opened up, he then walked through it and vanished. Doing as I was told I walked through the portal and was transported into a huge space with a massive sculpture which was easily 100 feet high.
Once the tour had finished my mind was blown, the spaces designed by digital designers on offer was one thing, but the fact I was walking around a virtual world, talking to someone as if there were actually there was incredible! Everything I saw was literally out of this world but this can easily be scaled down to lets say, an office space with meeting rooms for example. Users could wear VR headsets and meet with others from around the world, making the experience much more intimate than a bodiless video call.
Facebook are onboard
Oculus, the company that brought you the Oculus Rift and Gear VR is owned by Facebook. One of their recent keynotes focuses on the social aspect of VR and how it might be used. Check out the keynote below.
Immediately you can see the use of facial expressions, presentation of media, and the use of 3D objects which may benefit industries that work with product or packaging design. Oculus Rooms which currently sits in the Oculus library and accessible for free is another example of Facebook's push into the world of social VR. Further reaffirming their interest in this form of meeting place and one that is already being used by 10,000's of people all over the world if not for business but leisure.
Is meeting in VR the future?
I think so, but its not an immediate threat to the likes of Skype just yet. There is still a long way to go before we have headsets in every office. We will need to see a huge uptake of mobile based or standalone headsets, not requiring a PC, before big businesses adopt this form of communication as the norm.
When we see school kids meeting up in VR to study and chat as we did with MSN Messenger, then businesses will follow suit and we can all be Han Solo in our next meeting.