One of the coolest things about working at Milled is the opportunities to try new tech. Most times, new tech isn’t as awesome when it comes out and it’s better to wait for the 3rd or 4th gen before making a call but VR has come and come fast. Most of the headsets we’ve sampled have met our average expectations but the VIVE stands out as top so far!
The great thing about this kind of tech is that it can make you look as majestic as a rhino on a skateboard. Check me playing a game called Audio Shield to the sounds of the Bohemian Rhapsody
I know, right? It’s the only thing that looks more idiotic than a silent disco to the external observer. The thing that makes it so much better is that being immersed in the virtual reality realm, you couldn’t care less about how stupid you look to the outside world because somehow the outside world ceases to matter.
I can make the comparison to being 7 years old in 1997 and experiencing the euphoria whenever Viper transformed from that red beaut to the Defender…and thinking “YES! THIS IS SO REAL!” as only a 7 year old can.
Since I’m no longer 7, the prospect of a the same set of endorphins and joy I felt back then, returning, is rather appealing so how did this gear stack up?
With a menu that placed me in Gotham City and a bunch of games killing zombies and beating roman gladiators, the tech is able to handle great coding. Sure, if the coding is lazy, the graphics won’t make full use of the tech but for those games that are deved well…it’s more awesome than adding tuna to your two minute noodles.
You’ll need to forgive the all the sweat as it’s easy to get intense, especially in what became my favorite game, audio shield. It’s not just waving your arms around like a maniac…there’s a lot of thought that goes into it and, since most people find it tough just to apply their minds alone, applying your mind and your body simultaneously is pretty damn tough.
If you thought Dance Dance Revolution was the defining feature of the 2000s and Guitar Hero was the defining feature of the 2010s then Audio Shield, basically a combination of the two in VR, is what this decade is going to be about for you! Armed with red and blue shields, you have to protect the world from whatever those things are flying at you. In the video above, that’s what I was doing. Looks timid right?…imagine stepping up the beat though…and because you can get any video off YouTube to rock to, you could pump up quite a workout…like to Sandstorm:
The tech I used belongs to our friends at New Reality and they have massive plans to extend VR beyond the realm of gaming. In-house dev Niekie van Niekerk explained that once you overcome the view that VR is all about gaming, the applications are limitless. Currently they’re in talks to develop software for VR application to streamline various productivity functions and and enable visual aides to promote efficiency in the workplace.
His colleague, Steve Pinto, took us through the ropes and showed us around everything part of the kit from the machine running it to the infrared sensors surrounding the player.
Somewhat of a connoisseur for tech, Steve’s eyes light up with the kind of excitement that speak to a knowledge of an exciting future when he explains how this is the future…which is actually right now.
The gents at Robot Games are certainly worth talking to if you’re keen on stepping into the future as it’s happening.
What’s the catch?
Aside from a sweaty headband, the drawbacks are few and far between. Indeed, as Niekie confirms, coding will become more detailed but not necessarily more difficult as technology catches up itself. The games are only as real as the the developers make them but the tech itself as at a point were we probably could start questioning metaphysics without a degree in philosophy.
As awesome as the tech is, there are elements which could be frightening. If you ever find yourself listening to serial entrepreneur Mark Sham, you’ll soon learn that this fear stems out of a lack of understanding of the future. Now the choice is up to you. Get on the cool kid train and embrace the coming change or, as freaky as this may sound, succumb to the Matrix.