VR is going to be big in 2016. That’s a given. Here at Wareable HQ, we’ve already had our collective brains blown by experiences on the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR. Heck, even some Google Cardboard apps are pretty incredible.
But while gaming is obviously the key ingredient for the success of the VR industry, there is much more to get excited about than 360-degree Forza or a potential new Half Life adventure.
Some people are thinking outside the box for what to put inside the box. Sundance 2016 will see 30 pieces of virtual reality storytelling showcased, alongside three feature films, one live performance and 11 installations.
After last year’s intriguing, experimental line-up of experiences, Robert Redford’s film festival is now mixing up and coming pioneers with bonafide Hollywood powerhouses in its New Frontier exhibit.
Virtual reality can put people anywhere they want to go. Facebook didn’t buy Oculus for just gaming.
Lets have a look at some other cool uses of VR already in the works…
WEAR – Galactica VR rollercoaster
Alton Towers, a UK theme park, has revealed plans for a VR rollercoaster. Galactica, opening in April, sees people strapped in facedown, equipped with Samsung Gear VR headsets to transport riders into a space themed experience, encountering frozen and molten planets and wormholes. It mixes the virtual world imagery and audio with real world movement and forces as you hurtle around the ride.
The ride takes you to the outer edges of the solar system, to visit volcano planet Nero 5 and frost covered Kepler 9. More destinations are coming soon too and you’re guided by Eve, a fictional AI. In theory, Alton Towers could change the theme and virtual location of the rollercoaster whenever it wanted to.
An existing ‘coaster, Air, is being modded for the new ride and there will be shoulder straps in place to stop heads moving to the left and right, to help with motion sickness.
Like The Void, a kind-of VR theme park, Galactica is based around making the virtual reality world as immersive an experience as possible. We can’t wait.
NEARLY THERE – Cloudhead Games
Cloudhead Games, the people behind the upcoming VR title The Gallery: Call of the Starseed has used a HTC Vive to motion capture an actor’s performance while inside the game.
Rather than relying on an actor’s ability to pretend to be in a certain situation during a green-screen scene, VR has the ability to take that actor inside the scene so he or she can see exactly the world the director has put their character in.
“We provided the actor with a real world to perform in, devoid of the strain of an abstracted environment, green screen or real-world distractions,” explained Cloudhead Games’ Mike Wilson.
Obviously this first attempt is gaming based but there’s no reason the method can’t be applied to movies. Andy Serkis’ job just got a bit easier.
SQUARE – VR Porn
So obvious it was going to happen and so, so unneeded. HD porn is where innovation in that genre should have stopped – even 4K is a pixelated step too far.
Take this quote from our in-depth VR porn feature titled ‘Why the future of smut is behind the headset (NSFW)’:
Immediately you’re in the room. Not just watching a room on a screen, but a whole room that envelopes your senses. You can see carpet beneath your feet, an ornate bed head. Look above and a crystal chandelier hangs above you. Wall-to-wall vision with exquisite detail.
Then a girl walks in. Gravity-defying curves, high heels, bouncing as she moves. Every hair is defined, her skin tone is real, completely touchable. Her form fills your whole field of vision as you lie on the bed.
Too, too much. No thanks.