Lessons learned from our first mission:
Major accomplishments, and useful information
The good news : we got VR Flying Adventure working in the Rift, and let me tell you : flying under the Golden Gate Bridge, through volumetric clouds, at 70mph about 3′ above deck… a total rush. I flew in and around the city for about 30 minutes, totally absorbed, free, in bliss. Further, there was a palpably sublime moment when, flying across the surface of the water at speed, I looked down and saw something on the face of the waves: it was my avatar’s reflection, distorted in real time. Spine tingling.
The bad news : humans and birds are not at all built the same. We first modelled the simulation so that a human flyer would be belly down, in a sort of yoga cobra position, abs engaged. The challenge is : while a birds eyes are on the *sides* of its head, and its head is naturally aligned for the bird to view forward while prone… a human’s eyes are on the *front* of our heads; and while prone, we are naturally looking downward. thus, if we are using “natural” forward propulsion, as one might imagine superman or ironman doing, we humans are forced to *seriously* arc our necks back in order to see “forward” towards where we are headed, and to more naturally navigate our flying world.
The consequence : after 30 minutes of VR flying, my neck really hurts… and that’s coming from a trained acrobat, supposedly used to such contortions.
Fast conclusion: we are fast coming full circle to Palmer Luckey’s assertion that “present-day VR is a seated experience”. Going to start exploring alternate methods of navigation metaphors, including:
- levitating chair, a la Professor X
- cockpit, a la an F-18
- saddle riding, a la How to Train Your Dragon
- we also might simply try rotating the camera 90° up
relative to the avatar body
Until our next post, enjoy the screenshots.
Downloadable demo coming soon.
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