Thursday, June 19, 2014

Gaze-based Games For The Mainstream VR Win

A lot of VR experiences that we were promised simply aren't ready yet because we lack the means for reliable input and locomotion. To experience a first person game to the full degree we require at least 3 pieces: a headset to view your surroundings, a controller to manipulate the world, and an omni-directional treadmill of some sort to get around.

The gaming rig of tomorrow?

While there are considerable advances for control and movement (projects like Control VR, Omni, and Infinadeck), the headset is really the only piece as of now that is within striking distance of a mainstream consumer audience.

So what does this mean? Well, until control and movement catches up, that the initial commercial "built-for-VR" successes will be games where gaze plays heavily into the gameplay and movement is either slow / non-critical or tracked / not-possible.

Upcoming title "Private Eye" looks very promising.

Not only that, but until we see a wireless VR headset, gaze-based games that keep the action to a 180-degree field from the user's front are also more likely to be well received. I've found that even with the best VR demos, if you have to look over your shoulder more than once, that your gaming rig will soon end up a wired mess.

We don't all have the luxury of an awesome setup like this!

There's something behind me, isn't there?

I've been working on a small gaze-based demo which I'll post in the next entry. In the meanwhile, here's some upcoming VR games that utilize gaze-based gameplay and look like a lot of fun:
  • Private Eye - A cinematic, psychological thriller for the Oculus Rift, where voyeurism meets mystery, played out against a 1950's New York city backdrop.
  • Classroom Aquatic - Players play as an exchange student in a school of dolphins, going through a semester that they're in no way prepared for. They must resort to cheating in order to become the best student in school!
  • The Gallery - Trapped in a subterranean temple, you will journey through esoteric worlds in order to discover the true meaning of The Gallery and the key to your ultimate salvation.

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