Using the Oculus Quest to bring house-scale VR to the masses.
Arguably one of the most attractive features of the Oculus Quest is the headsets inside-out tracking technology, which not only removes the need for external sensors, but allows for more opportunities in terms of potential playspaces. The Quest’s simple, but intuitive Guardian System allows users to draw their own custom boundaries in which to play inside. Turning on developer mode opens up even more possibilities by removing the Guardian System entirely, letting users roam freely in VR.
The Oculus Quest’s free-roaming capabilities could be a game-changer for the at-home VR industry by allowing users to immerse themselves in larger, more complex immersive experiences; similar to that of various location-based VR experiences offered at an ever-growing lineup of immersive arcades.
If you need proof of the standalone headsets viability as a location-based VR platform, take a look at the work being done by Reality Rebels, a small team currently in development of a local multiplayer house-scale VR experience which automatically generates custom levels based on the layout of your home, office, or any other location you choose to play in.
The team, composed of one developer and four playtesters, has documented their efforts in a series of videos uploaded to their personal YouTube channel. These updates showcase new improvements and additions to the prototype experience, such as a VR elevator that transports users between procedurally-generated levels, randomized windows and obstructions, and artificial intelligence that reacts to the user’s presence as well as their environment.
We had a chance to chat with Reality Rebels and learn a little bit more about the exciting possibilities surrounding their ongoing prototype experience, and what we were told paints a very exciting picture of the future:
VRSCOUT: How did the project initially come to life?
REALITY REBELS: “Imagine walking around your house in virtual reality. Except instead of your house, you are walking around a spaceship, or defending a bunker from zombies with your friends. Unfortunately, you can only find this type of experience at commercial attractions. They are few and far between, tickets are expensive, and the experiences are short.
However, with all-in-one virtual reality headsets, we thought it might be possible to create similar experiences in your own home. So our team, one developer (me) and four play-testers, has been working non-stop to make it happen.
The positive response to our progress has been overwhelming. Behind the scenes we are discussing partnerships, licensing, and more with other companies. We can’t wait to share more details about what is coming.”
VRSCOUT: What were some of the biggest challenges in developing these procedurally-generated house-scale levels?
REALITY REBELS: “Other companies have posted prototypes online showing players walking around levels mapped to their space, but those prototypes only work in those specific spaces. You could not play them in your own home.
We wanted to create an experience that adapts to the unique layout of any space. This is difficult from both a technical and artistic perspective. We don’t know what your space looks like. Our system has to figure out how to put together a level that both fits your unique space and fits the theme of the game.
We are also experimenting with ways to reuse your space. For example, you can enter an elevator which will seamlessly bring you to a new level based on the same layout.”
VRSCOUT: You’ve stated in a previous post that you plan on eventually turning this prototype into a full game. Are there any specific concepts you’ve been considering? The post goes on to suggest “walking around a spaceship, defending your house from zombies.”
REALITY REBELS: “We are considering many ideas. They range from individual experiences to a metaverse platform that would act as a hub for these experiences. However, it’s too early to announce anything as we’re still focused on building the core technology that makes everything work.”
VRSCOUT: Clearly, the experience is still in its early alpha stage. Are there any plans for a sideloadable demo in the future? I’m sure many users would enjoy simply walking around their homes in VR.
REALITY REBELS: “Once the experience is more polished and user-friendly we would love to put out a demo.”
VRSCOUT: The local multiplayer is a fantastic addition to the experience. What are the possibilities of online multiplayer?
REALITY REBELS:“Online multiplayer poses a lot of interesting challenges. Our main focus is on local multiplayer. However, online multiplayer is something we are interested in exploring further.”