Chris Gayomali on FastCompany writes about the use of Oculus Rift in journalism, where the Des Moins Register, Iowa, USA, is using virtual reality and the Oculus Rift to reach out to its readers in a five-part interactive story ‘Harvest of Change’.
Gayomall writes, “When you put on the Rift, you are beamed into a helicopter hovering over a lush green field. Then, you’re dropped into a digital replication of the Dammann family’s farm, replete with animals, tractors, and buildings. All of it is built on top of the Unity 3D gaming engine.”
The production company that created the interactive experience is TotalCinema 360, located in New York City, which specializes in 360 degree video and virtual reality technology.
Source image: http://totalcinema360.com/oculus.html
TotalCinema creates 360 video using cameras with multiple lenses to simultaneously capture different sides of a scene. These images are then stitched together. You can watch these images on computers, mobile devices, tablets, and the Oculus Rift.
The gaming platform Unity on the website states, “Game development ecosystem: a powerful rendering engine fully integrated with a complete set of intuitive tools and rapid workflows to create interactive 3D and 2D content”.
We know something about the Oculus Rift, but for those of us without one what is it like to use?
So, Dreamlight asked Alan Porter, one of the creators of ScatterShot a podcast on film, video and games, to tell us.
Alan writes: “Video games, in general, require the player to suspend disbelief to truly accept the story being told. For most, this isn’t an issue; simply picking up a controller provides a mental tether to whichever environment is displayed on the screen, while others participate knowing it’s “just a game”.
The Oculus Rift attempts to bridge the gap between these groups, providing immersion into painstakingly created worlds by way of Virtual Reality.
The device itself looks not unlike a blacked-out snorkel mask, strapped to the head by large elasticated bands, and finished off by a pair of oversized headphones. The setup looks cumbersome and heavy but is surprisingly comfortable (albeit slightly hot on the head for prolonged periods). This reviewer was lucky enough to test the Rift on Alien: Isolation, (cover art shown here) a game based on the series of movies, with the twist being that the player has no access to weapons of any kind – run or hide, these are your options. Source image: forums.robertsspaceindustries.com
“As soon as the game began the feeling of existing in the world was uncanny. Looking around by moving your head feels novel at first but quickly becomes entirely natural. I quickly forgot that I was sitting on a sofa on a noisy exhibition floor; my brain was telling me that I was on the Nostromo, being hunted by an 8 foot tall Xenomorph.
“More importantly, it also told me to be scared. The Oculus headset gives vistas depth and objects structure in a way that even the most advanced 3D televisions cannot and, as such, provides a level of atmosphere I’ve never before experienced. After 20 adrenaline-fueled minutes I slipped back into reality, slightly shaky and extremely excited.
“While the hardware is groundbreaking, it’s not without it’s faults. The resolution of the displays is arguably not high enough yet, and motion-sickness is all too common with certain titles (Eve: Valkyrie, a space-based dog fighting simulator provided many a stomach-churning moment for me).
“Regardless, the device provides something much more evocative with the potential for something truly new. It’s less a nascent medium and more a new color in the palette; a new key for the stave. It only requires the right artist to wield it in the correct manner to create something completely transcendent. And I, for one, will be first in line.
Dreamlight: A few words about Alien: Isolation. This is a first-person survival horror stealth game developed by The Creative Assembly (out 7 October 2014) and published by Sega, part of the Alien franchise.
Creative Assembly is looking for a high-end character artist, 3D FX artist, animators or sound designers. Here is the link to their jobs page: http://www.creative-assembly.com/jobs
Finally, if you want to hear Alan on ScatterShot you can find him on iTunes here https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/scattershot/id666034349?mt=2
Or: http://jellycast.com/ and type in Scattershot.
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