I took a look at a very early version of a DK2 enabled Senza Peso demo recently (see the above video) just after Oculus’ second VR Headset shipped and it remains one of the most impressive VR showcases out there. Seems Epic Games thought so too as they chose Kite and Lightning‘s VR mini opera to showcase Unreal Engine 4 at this year’s PAX Prime in Seattle this week.
Senza Peso, Leading the UE4 VR Charge
Senza Peso epitomises some of the reasons VR can and will offer entirely new forms of entertainment and ways to tell stories. This is no game, with no interactive elements save for the player’s ability to glance around at the visual splendour it offers up. But it nevertheless offers a compelling and emotive experience through its on-rails series of audio visual set pieces presented as it is through the Oculus Rift in glorious immersive 3D.
It’s a staggeringly good looking showcase for it’s host engine, Unreal Engine 4 too. And as Epic Games has made clear from UE4’s development and eventual release earlier in the year, Virtual Reality is front and centre in it’s focus for delivering a next generation game development platform.
Senza Peso will join other UE4 flagship titles on Epic’s stand at the forthcoming Seattle based Games show PAX Prime.DK2 is Available
What’s the New Demo Like?
K&L were kind enough to give us early access to the newest version of Senza Peso, now compiled against the latest Oculus SDK and running at glorious 1080p with low persistence. The previous version I’d tested was an early demo originally shown at E3, compiled against the much older SDK 0.3x and as such required hacks to run with the launch DK2 drivers. I commented at the time looked to be running at a non native resolution with aliasing artefacts – there were also some frame rate issues.
The new version I’m pleased to report looks glorious on the DK2, launching smoothly and for the most part running beautifully, with judder / frame rate drops only rearing it’s head occasionally. Witnessing these set pieces again with vibrant colours and great contrast levels plus that killer low persistence was a treat for the eyes, with particle effects once again being particularly impressive given the resolution bump. And of course, positional tracking is present too, adding an important touch of immersion to the experience.
Bottom line, as with the DK1 version, if you own a DK2 you must own and try Senza Peso. It’s up there with the best and offers a glimpse at what I can see being a compelling, emergent form of entertainment – the VR mini opera.
Developers Kite and Lightning are cultivating quite a reputation amongst the VR community as artists capable or pushing the boundaries. Road to VR’s Ben Lang was lucky enough to try one of K&L’s sensory VR experiences ‘The Genesis’ recently and was mightily impressed. K&L seem to be embracing this new era of virtual reality and their work thus far, so early in VR’s gestation, makes me wonder what they’ll come up with in the future.