Marvel: Avengers’ Tower – Tony Stark’s Lab
As a part of a partnership with Age of Ultron, Gear VR users can gain access to the high-tech workshop that is Tony Stark (aka Iron Man)’s lab. Inside the office area are robotic arms to assist with rapid prototyping and other technical tasks. The walls are filled with glass, giving the space a pristine look that any wealthy billionaire like Tony Stark can afford. Looking in front shows a curved Samsung screen that contains a couple of options to choose from. A simple flick of the touchpad on the side of the Gear VR initiates the modes of interaction.
The first selection produces a trailer on the Samsung television of the new Avengers movie that’s soon to be released. The second option gives the viewer the ability to scroll through documentation of various items made for the Avengers team. The third selection pops up the infamous Iron Man heads-up display that hovers over objects strewn around the lab. Light from the room fades out and illuminated wireframes of items nearby bring your focus to things like Captain America’s impenetrable shield and Loki’s dangerous scepter. Samsung also snuck in a small product placement for a smartwatch that allows the Avengers to communicate with each other in real time.
After checking out the lab, it would be great to see other movies with complimentary experiences like this. It adds a whole new level of interactivity that gives the viewer bonus features that would not normally be seen in the silver screen itself. Exploring the virtual workshop really felt like I was there.
Hold on to Your Seat
This is a 3D 360-degree video demonstration that was inspired by the fanciful world of Zarkana, a stage production that’s typically seen in Las Vegas. The footage was directed by Felix Lajeunesse & Paul Raphaël from Felix & Paul Studios. 360 degree binaural audio was captured and mixed by Jean-Pascal Beaudoin of Apollo Studios. The whole experience clocks in at 1 minute and 14 seconds giving just a brief glimpse into the stage act that is Zarkana.
The demo starts out with several people dressed in white with white face paint, laughing and pointing at other members of their crew. Attention is directed toward the center as two guys in tights come out and are lifted into the air by a cloth strap. They twirl around as the team watches them with joyful amusement.
Since the 360-degree camera was positioned on stage it provided a perspective that wouldn’t be seen at the live event. This literally put the viewer right up to where only the actors and performers reside, making it much more exciting than just feeling like you’re sitting in the crowd.
As the Gear VR press release describes, Protocol Zero by DeNA allows “players to infiltrate enemy grounds undetected in blackout conditions with hi-tech optics including night vision, X-ray vision, and thermal vision.” Just be careful not to get caught by the hidden cameras located around or the game mission will suddenly end.
The difficulty is a bit harder than originally thought. Getting through some of the levels takes a good amount of focus and time, which is something that is not typically found in quick demo lines. Still, this is an experience that first-person shooter enthusiasts will love. The triggers on the handheld control fire bullets at enemy targets which is a lot of fun.
Other Titles on Display
Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot
One of the more talked about VR demos that surfaced at Comic Con early in the year was this adaptation of the American science-fiction movie, Pacific Rim (2013). In this demo, users pilot a 250 foot ‘Jaeger’ robot called ‘Gipsy Danger’ during a battle against the kaiju ‘Knifehead’, one of several alien creatures from the film that packs quite a punch.
Temple Run VR
One of the more popular demos at SDC 2014 was the official version of Temple Run, made specifically for virtual reality. Imanji Studios has adapted the widely downloaded smartphone game into an immersive world for the Gear VR.
Players can run, jump, dodge, and slide through the various levels while avoiding randomly-generated obstacles along the way. This is all in a first-person perspective, which varies from the hovering view that is found in the regular smartphone version.
im360VR by developer Immersive Media is a “complete solution for 360˚ video experiences on the Gear VR,” according to the company. “Production teams toured the globe, recording footage of some of the world’s most impressive locations, before returning to develop a high performance player application tailored to the capabilities offered by the Gear VR.”
Oculus 360 Photos
Oculus 360 Photos is a 360 degree photo viewer created by Oculus which is expected to also be available for the Oculus Rift. Since we didn’t get to try this demo, we aren’t sure if the 360 Photos app is capable of 3D 360 or just 360 alone.