The HTC Vive, despite its levels of public exposure in recent months, still has an air of mystery surrounding it and in particular certain demo’s used to impress those who’ve tried it. 2 of the most anticipated (and least seen outside the demo booths) are the DOTA 2 Secret Shop and ‘Aperture Science’ Robot Repair. Developers NODE, behind the forthcoming VR title Hover Junkers, have no released the most detailed gameplay videos yet of both experiences in action, filmed using their HTC Vive developer kit.
Currently the high water mark for Valve’s forthcoming flagship SteamVR Headset, the HTC Vive, feedback and reactions to Valve’s in-house developer virtual reality demo’s used in the promotion of the hardware has, somewhat predictably, bordered on delirious.
The two demos in question are the ‘Aperture Science’ Robot Repair demo and the more recent DOTA 2: Secret Shop. Both of these experiences were developed by Valve and both have, with one exception, been hidden from view outside of those demo booths. Until now.
The DOTA 2 Secret Shop VR demo, has barely been seen at all up until this point and for those yet to try the HTC Vive is a neat window on its capabilities. A VR prototype, built in the world of the hugely successful DOTA 2, sets you down in the wooden shack of a mysterious shopkeeper. The shack is packed to the rafters with mysterious entities, magical creatures and intriguing looking nooks and crannies. This is the only video we’ve seen thus far to show gameplay of this detail and it demonstrates that fine attention to detail and a keen sense of mischief and fun on the part of the developers. Animation and lighting is beautiful and as the NODE guys take it in turns to uncover the shack’s secrets, each one of them finds something new. It looks stunning and really illustrates the ways in which VR can illicit joy and playfulness in what is, in essence, a very simplistic experience in terms of gameplay mechanics.
The Aperture Robot Repair demo gameplay is the most detailed yet and emphasises why virtual reality from Valve is potentially so exciting. An excellent demonstration of SteamVR’s room-scale tracking, the experience cleverly restricts your movements around the space with a carefully sized virtual environment and interesting mental barriers to keep you stepping beyond the polygonal boundaries. The demo is exquisitely detailed, with painstaking attention to animation and incidental production design, not to mention typically sartorial humour running throughout. Check it out for yourself below.
The HTC Vive is set to become available in limited numbers towards the end of this year and widely distributed in Q1 2016.