A Virtual Reality (VR) experience at VR Lab [updated]
Update 2016-12-06: Updated this post to reflect the additional stuff from my green room video.
I was recently invited to a VR (Virtual Reality) event. And honestly, the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the invite was — Are we going to be watching some 360° video in some cozy location?
Yes, I’m skeptical about VR. After all, I’ve tried Samsung’s Gear VR. Seen one, seen all… Right? Wrong.
VR Lab SS15 is about 1-2 months old. Everything there looks very clean and new. It occupies the first floor and they have seven “rooms”, with one special “green room”. This green room is where VR Lab will record a video where it will feature you in the virtual world. It is supposed to be something similar to “Who Framed Roger Rabbit“.
At the time of posting this article, my video is still not ready yet. I’ll update again when the video is ready. See below for extras on the green room.
The guys at VR Lab was more than happy to help me put on the HTC Vive headset. According to them, if you are wearing regular sized spectacles, you can wear the headset over your specs. Since my eyesight isn’t that bad, I didn’t try the headset while wearing my specs. You can adjust the focus but generally, it should be all good once you have the headgear secured (tightly) over your head.
The HTC Vive headset itself is not really heavy. But it is not light either, in the sense that after a while, you do start to feel the strain on the neck. This probably means you should not really play too long (like 2-3 hours) on your first try. Give you neck (and eyes) some rest! Actually, it is a good idea to go with friends.
The VR experience…
…Is amazing! Coupled with the controllers, you get to actually interact with the virtual world and it makes a whole lot of difference compared to the passive experience if we’re just watching 360° videos on say… Google Cardboard. So you end up with an immersive expr
I tried out different “games”. There is one where you actually shoot virtual arrows from a virtual bow — you need to actually perform the action similar to how you would do with a real bow and arrow.
I also tried the “Job Simulator” and prepared a sandwich. It felt real, even though the virtual world seemed cartoonish. The whole experience is actually so immersive that at one point, I actually had an “accident”. I somehow got too engrossed and forgot I was in a virtual world, and casually leaned on a virtual serving counter. Needless to say, that incident made me look comical in the real world. Yes, if you’re engrossed in it, you might just forget you are in a virtual world.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, trust me, you will want to try the Lightblade VR. You get to wield the lightsaber and deflect attacks. The only disappointing bit is that the extra missions are currently locked. I have highlighted this to the guys at VR Lab. Hopefully they can unlock the other options so one can get to try the lightsaber duel, or customize the lightsabers’ looks.
Fancy getting the whole set and live out the experience from the comfort of your own home? VR Lab is also selling the whole solution… At RM9999.
Whether you will like VR or not, I believe this is something we should all try out at least once. Some would argue that bungee jumping is also in the similar category (must try at least once), but well, at least this one is “virtual”, though I did share earlier, it can get a bit real.
But seriously, I think it is really worth trying out. Go with a group of friends. Book the twin room. Hang out for a few hours. I’m very sure everyone is going to have a great time. If you’ve ever played with the Nintendo Wii, it’s similar. But with VR, you’re actually in the “world” itself.
And if you think it’s going to cost a lot, well, it isn’t. At RM35 per hour for a room, I think it is decent.
Personally for me, I enjoyed it enough and found the experience to be interesting that I plan to bring family and friends there just to let them try it out. I think they will all come out #MindBlown like I did.
I received my green room video yesterday. Here are some photos of Adrian “Hawkeye” Tai defending the castle with a fiery arrow…
And here’s the full video:
Note 1: The price list above is taken while I was there and can change over time.
Note 2: The VR setup in VR Lab SS15 uses HTC Vive, which means you’re getting SteamVR/ Valve contents and experience.