Now in our 5th installment of our ongoing series covering some of the most promising content to come out of the Oculus Mobile VR Jam, we take a look at three submissions that awake in the user a childlike wonder of life, the Universe, and everything.
The final winners in the two category tracks—Games and Experiences—will be announced on June 3rd at 10:00am PDT. But don’t forget, you can vote for your favorite Mobile VR Jam app until May 27th, which will net a team $10,000 in cash and the title ‘Community’s Choice’.
The finalists have already been announced, but that won’t stop you from voting for any and all of the over 300 submissions. We’ll be highlighting the titles we think show particular promise over the next couple of weeks until voting closes.
Constellations are just illusions, lines our ancestors drew between distant stars so they could pass down their oral history with something of a celestial backdrop to help them remember. Later they helped sailors navigate the globe, and now: they help us understand the nature of the Universe.
Brought to you by Drash, maker of the hugely popular Titans of Space guided tour, and Mars is a Real Place experience—to name just two—we now take a look at the heavens from our own corner of the solar system through the lens of a virtual telescope—aptly named Telescopic.
In Telescopic your task is to find individual stars within a given constellation, all the while learning about its physical characteristics. Did you know that B-type stars have from 2 to 16 times the mass of the Sun and surface temperatures between 10,000 and 30,000 K? Well, did you?
You can learn tidbits like this and much more in the comfort of your swivel chair (recommended) or in a traditional front-facing chair given the two modes available in the app. You can also survey the stars freely without any need to fulfill the list of objectives like “Find the brightest red giant in the Hyades Cluster.”
Tana Pura, the title of the song in the experience, is inspired directly by the Tanpura, a traditional Indian drone instrument. In the translation from Hindi, “Tana refers to the style of music, whereas Pura translates to ‘complete’. The visual narrative shows an abstract evolution from dissonance to a sensation of completion,” says the developer Mike Tucker.”
In Tana Pura you are gently lifted through a dark-scape dotted by a ceiling of stars as you watch the subtle interplay between two forces; one a mass of orange ribbon, and the other a cloud of blue-green petals—all of it dancing to the beat of some invisible force of nature.
The music sets a calm, but curious tone as you go higher and higher into the fray of playful back and forth between the entities. I came out relaxed and searching for words to describe what I had seen. This, unfortunately, is the nature of VR.
SoundScape is easy. It asks absolutely nothing of you as you fly around what I can only call the planet from The Little Prince. The colors run together, converge and tessellate on the surface below.
The only way to navigate is by looking directly where you want to go. Up for up, left for left, and so on. There are no objectives to speak of, only the golden-rimmed portals that change the world to one of few environmental ‘flavors’.
The soundtrack is similarly confiding, making this app perfect for therapy or anyone who needs a meditative experience to calm their nerves. Flying around a constantly shifting planet sounds a lot better than smoking a cigarette during a break. I wonder if they’ll give us ‘VR breaks’ in the future?
We’ll be covering as many titles as possible right up until the winners are announced on June 3rd. In the mean time, don’t forget to vote for your favourites right here and stay tuned for part 6 of our round up.