Virtual Revelations


so…had my first VR experience today. Oculus Rift. I’m kind of a Luddite in my normal day-to-day but it was around and I thought why the hell not.

seriously, y’all, I’m giddy just thinking about it 10 hours later. it was such a revelatory, epiphanic, near-religious (and whatever other histrionic superlatives I’m forgetting) experience…I had to play it cool and pretend I wasn’t having the time of my life.

anyone else stoked on VR? if so, what kinds of interesting applications do you think are to come in future developments/iterations? what did you like/not like about it?

interested to hear everyone’s thoughts.


where should I even start?

3 weeks ago I went to Legoland in Günzburg, Germany. They have a VR roller coaster.
Funnily enough, it was raining, so they didn’t give me the VR headsets meaning that I went on the roller coaster without the VR feature and thought that the roller coaster ain’t shit. . Later that day I went back when the rain stopped and went on it again but now with the VR feature. It was one of the most intense roller coaster rides I’ve ever had.

Basically this video sums it all up (i know it’s from Florida, but in Germany they have the same thing):

Other than that, I see VR being applied at businesses where it helps you imagine things in your life, like for example Ikea is building a VR feature, where you would place your desired furniture directly in your room so that you can see how it actually fits in your home environment.

At the moment, I’m just praying that by the time I retire (say in 40 years) they will advance enough in technology so that me and my retired friends can play VR Counter-Strike or Quake pon net.


I went to VR world in NY with some work colleagues last year. They had a small game - more like a demo - where you went up a tall building in a lift, which then opened out into thin air with just a thin plank in front of you. You were then instructed to walk along this thin plank. To support the illusion there was indeed a small plank in the real floor in front of you, so you could feel it with your foot.

What really surprised me was how hard it was for lots of us to do this. We were all digital designers and quite tech-literate but some people in our group were just too scared and had to abandon it. It was surreal to watch grown adults in helmets too terrified to basically take a few steps along the floor which they knew was in front of them. I could do it, but it took a lot of willpower.

So the experience left me very impressed/intimidated by how immersive even fairly rudimentary VR environments can be.


Only experience I had so far with VR was on a roller coaster as well, at Six Flags last year. It had the same intensity as all the other coasters except I was able to keep my eyes open the entire time since I had a screen strapped on to my face.


Sorry, forgot to mention this last night - another thing we tried out at VR World was Google’s “Tilt Brush”. Has anyone used it? It’s essentially a drawing/painting app for VR, but given that you’re in a VR environment with the things you’re creating it’s more like doing sculpture than actual drawing.

We only got 8 minutes or so to do it but I found it pretty mind-blowing, especially once I got the hang of it and entered a kind of “flow state”, crouching down to texture the underside of the robot I was hastily assembling. It’s such a weird experience to be making computer art in such a tactile and physical way. If i got a VR system this is probably the first app I’d buy for it.


@proximitybay that is so awesome. what I love is how quickly you adapted to it like it was a perfectly normal thing to be doing.


i hate to be the first midlly negative person in the thread honestly but i think, having tried 3 out of 6 major platforms (psvr, vive, cardboard - other three are oculus, gear vr and windows mr), i’m really not sold on it at all. im not sure if its specifically my eyes not really working well with it or if its specific to how a game looks but so far all my experiences have either been somewhat disappointing/not entirely absorbing (i lack the ability of suspension of disbelief so i rarely get truly immersed). the tech is here properly but i think its still heavily within the early stages and has a long way to go before itll feel less like a fad that got out of hand.

for my verdicts on the 3 ive tried;

cardboard: frankly, pathetic, but its not proper vr so yeah. lots of motion sickness was caused by this thing; screen tearing didnt help it either. i could also see the lines of the lens super clearly. imo a good vr set would mean i dont even realize the lenses are there, thus allowing for better immersion.

vive; my initial test was at egx last year, playing a warioware-esque party game. it was alright? decent lenses, and with the deluxe headstrap the thing is supported on my head nicely. makes you sweat like a motherfucker though. second experience was with my girlfriends set which was one of the ifrst ones that got sent out on release iirc. noooot good by any means but she doesnt have the money to get the deluxe headstrap or upgrade to the pro (honestly sideeyeing valve for not providing trade in discounts to the pro or something for early adopters). it seems alright but its not great, basically.

psvr: it’ll help by saying off the bat that all my experiences with it have been with a ps4 pro. the second important bit is to mention that your experiences in psvr heavily depend on two factors: (1) how tall you are and (2) the kind of game you play. job simulator on psvr is an awful port and is unplayable if youre as tall as i am (6’4") due to how psvr tracking works. however for sit down games, it works a treat. you NEED to make sure you have plenty space for it if you want to get it working really nicely though. immersion is dependent on the game for me.
most games dont do it but i have two notable experiences which REALLY did it for me; eagle flight and the last guardian vr demo. eagle flight is masterfully created; intentionally designed to be easy to control and not give you motion sickness - the real treat of it is the mode where you just fly around the city, the rest of the game is not as good. absolutely stunning game and incredibly fun to swoop around everywhere.
last guardian vr demo is literally a demonstration of vr using the last guardian as an example; far as i know its not a demo for a full vr version of the game, much as id love that. but its a short sample of the game with the psvr running at full resolution and My Fucking God it is absolutely stunning. Trico is bloody massive and adorable, and immersion fully set in for me when it came to looking down a cliff edge which immediately pinged me into anxiety mode. For a free demo, it’s seriously impressive and you need to check it out if you have a PSVR.
Other notable decent games that worked well for me in psvr that didnt falter in immersion sorta; thumper (the game becomes somewhat easier to a degree in vr since you can focus entirely on the game), until dawn rush of blood (its a shooting gallery but in a wonderfully charming yet gruesome framing device of being stuck on a cursed rollercoaster). accounting+ is also worth looking into if you havent done so yet; but dont look up any gameplay since that’d kinda ruin the game (tis a short experience).

TL;DR edition: It’s amazing that we have the tech to do VR properly considering this shit was a pipedream back in the 80s and 90s, but its still not fully there yet imho. a lot of games just fail to fully initiate the immersion thats required to properly enjoy the games, the tech is still largely expensive and inaccessible to people and you still need a ridiculous amount of room space for games to work properly. but its getting there for sure. and with most technology evolutions, for me, its both exciting and terrifying as all hell.
Psvr = best budget option
cardboard = dont even bother
vive = its alright innit?


I guess that’s the elephant in the room that wasn’t addressed in this thread immediately enough :grimacing:
The increasingly prevalent nature of technology turning illusion into reality and all that.


i am not a technophobe by nature but with the way things are at the moment it seriously looks like we are headed toward a very cyberpunk-esque future. what’s one cornerstone of that genre? hyper realistic vr that some people get addicted to and never leave from. granted this is a long time before something similar will happen and as such makes me look like an overly paranoid idiot, but considering the way non vr graphics are already getting to the point of being a bit difficult to discern from reality? yeah.


IMO VR has still a long way to go, i think VR is fun, but there is not enough meaningful games or software for VR and i think it needs to get a lot cheaper for mainstream appeal. For me, i would love if the FOV would get bigger /i have used only VIVE and google cardboard but it doesnt really count lol /, what i love about VR is the perspective and i would really want that more games would play around that and would find more interesting, more interctive/physics based movement systems. What i don’t like about VR that its often seen as something that needs to simulate reality, but i think it’s kind of backwards thinking thought, there are cons un pros about VR and i think devs need to figure out how to use them for their advantage.


Yeah this is by far the biggest issue with the platform at the moment. Too many people just making toys or shooting galleries instead of proper software/games that make it worthwhile and not just a fad/toy.


IMO that mindset is very understandable in this day and age. It’s not so much of paranoia, as it is of the uneasy uncertainty of the future, which many presume to be dreadful in various manners, with hints of cautious optimism once in a while. But considering how sci-fi fiction up to decades ago seems to be fulfilling in reality in the most unpredictable ways, both good and bad, it’s not bad to have some caution and fear.


I think the problem here is that people in general does not know what the purpose of VR is and they immediately associate it with reality (as its name says as well).

Coming back to my Lego roller coaster experience, I wasn’t looking for reality, I was looking for something that is the opposite of it, something that it’s hard to imagine.

Moving forward, I hope that by the time i’m retired, VR will be developed so much that with the help of it, I’d be able to do things that I wouldn’t be able to do because of old age. Of course at the moment the price of it is high, but once the market develops, the prices will go low…just remember, how much money did you pay for your first nokia 3310 and how much money does a random smartphone cost now?


I should have said in my previous posts - a lot of the stuff I played with at VR World was less than impressive and a lot of it I’ve forgotten by now. It wasn’t just the technological limitations, it was the lack of imagination shown in how to apply the technology.

I played a driving game, for example, where the VR aspect really didn’t add anything to the experience. You need to look at the road ahead of you most of the time anyway, so being able to look around was kind of pointless. Then there were a couple of bland 3D shooters that were conceptually no further ahead than Space Invaders.

The Tilt Brush thing was interesting to me because it didn’t try to simulate “reality” and it wasn’t just a game that had been ported into VR: it treated VR as a creative medium and was a step towards doing things that could only be done in VR. It was exciting to get a glimpse of its potential but the overall experience of the games/apps on offer at VR World certainly didn’t make me want to invest in any VR kit right now.


From a negative aspect (not trying to change the subject), what ever happened with AR? It kinda failed no? Is that expected to happen to VR?


i did the soundtrack for a VR animation that had a Eno-esque philosophy of not much happening but supposed to induce calm and serenity. It focused more on hyperrealism and repetition, was quite an interesting student project


I think the fun part of dystopian literature is that it will probably never be exactly as we imagined it. sure, it gets close sometimes (and sometimes truth is much stranger than fiction), but there are just too many people who like fun and sunshine to ever let the world become one damp, sprawling suburb of Hong Kong where it’s always nighttime.

that said, I do think that when (not if) VR develops to a certain degree (like, if Nintendo somehow figures out how to let me become Mario), we, as a society, are in serious danger of becoming drooling deck jockeys jacked into the simulation, a la Black Mirror or Infinite Jest.

will definitely keep my eye on new gear and pick something up when I can afford it…I don’t think I’ll “wait til it gets better”…for now, you can catch me sailing a legoship down a legolake…


No one really figured out a reasonable use for AR that isnt like that Hyper-Reality video or just a tiny novelty like characters popping out of books or cards. That’s basically why you dont see much of it.

note that when i say “isnt iike the hyper reality video” i dont mean to imply that someone made a similar thing that closely mimicks it. that would be horrifying. google glass came close but failed ultimately


Nah, there’s tons of it and it’s going to keep increasing. Millions of people use facebook/snapchat/instagram filters every day. That’s AR. Pokemon Go is AR. Google Translate (camera feature) is AR. Lot of maps are doing AR.

Frankly, having worked at a VR studio and having done AR work too, VR is trash. It will have a use for experiences that are completely isolated of anything but it will never be “mainstream” in the way that AR will. AR is where it’s at and it will keep improving as tech catches up and it expands beyond the bounds of, usually, “hold this phone up over something”. Hoping to try the new Magic Leap maybe next week.

(Do not forget also that headphones that give you audio cues, or directions, also technically count as AR. AR is anything that augments regular senses not just visual stuff overlaid over camera.)


I think giving such a broad definition of AR is giving it a bit too much credit for what its worth honestly otherwise you could claim several million mundane things we take for granted as AR. I would not count camera filters as AR, I’m not sure anyone uses PokéGO’s AR mode other than for the occasional goofy screenshot and Google translate’s AR function seems to be limited to specific phones because for me all it does is act as very shoddy OCR.

It’s nowhere near as interesting as a technology as VR is. VR is trash CURRENTLY because no one knows how to apply it in a proper way that isn’t a complete and total fad/expensive toy. But it has way more potential than AR does or ever will. if anything the most we’ll get is a lot of AR stuff, once figured out properly, will be just incorporated into daily lives and we wont see it as “AR” anymore because that’s just a daft marketing term more than anything else.