We need to talk about VR pt2

I hope you guys didn’t get too heated by We need to talk about VR pt1

It’s strange. It seems the more you care about something, the more critical you are of it.

This is especially the case for me, reliving those nostalgic days of trying out new technology as a kid. Nothing more so than trying out new technology on a gaming platform I have so many fond memories of. The soft hum of the Playstation 2 jingle. The first time the new spangled Dualshock 2 rumbles in your hand, from failing to turn a corner on Gran Turismo. The memory card read error, because you unknowingly turned the Ps2 off whilst the game did this new thing called auto-saving… Maybe not the last one.

If anything this is the bumbling apology to a subject matter which hasn’t reached it’s maturity.

I want to tell you my experience of VR, and I really want you to focus on the bold highlighted word. I hope this isn’t too condescending. 

I want to tell you about the intense rush of interest and genuine exploration I felt, as I cautiously waded through the creation I built on Google’s Tilt Brush.  It’s not something you can put into words in an article, but seeing a creation, as poorly drawn as it may have been, being plucked to life by the waving of the controller. It’s your creation, and it’s your journey you’ve taken to make it. To add to this, it’s yours in this virtual 3d space, and that is what is key to the experience of VR.

Most applications of VR I have interacted with had something I would consider ‘Michael Bay Syndrome’. Take the ‘Brookhaven Experiment‘. A game that in the style of any zombie movie cliche, you’re the last one alive, left alone to fend for yourself with only a intermittent flash light and a pistol.

It sounds incredible given the new 3d environment, but consider this:

You’re static, their is no physical feedback, only sound.

This is where the “Michael Bay Syndrome” comes in, and the game falls flat. The idea that everything cool is happening around you, explosions, death, fire! But you’re completely static like Michael Bay himself, scared to break that 4th wall. It completely ruins immersion, and more importantly: ruins interaction.

This is where my apology comes in, do yourself a favour, don’t do what I did. Don’t expect the impossible, and VR application developers: focus on walking, before you can run.