Sandbox VR, the location-based VR attraction, will be opening up to third-party developers soon, as the company will be releasing an SDK for its Sandbox ‘holodeck’ VR attraction platform.

Sandbox operates a number of VR locations in major cities across North America as well as Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau, and Jakarta. Combining both branded content such as its Star Trek: Discovery experience and in-house developed games, Sandbox offers its experiences in 20-minute gameplay chunks for around $40 per person, accommodating up to six people per session.

The company says in a blog post that anyone with the know-how will soon be able to develop new VR experiences for its location-based attractions using its upcoming SDK.

Company CTO Idan Beck says its Sandbox SDK will have capabilities like “high-performance inverse kinematics, rigging, and motion capture capabilities,” and will include support for Unreal Engine, Unity, and Native.

Sandbox’s locations make use of a few technologies that developers likely don’t have, such as the company’s haptic guns and its multi-camera motion capture system. Sandbox says however that developers can create using more modest setups such as an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive.

Since professional motion capture can cost thousands of dollars, Beck says the company’s framework is going to “abstract away that component and put in placeholders so you can still build for VR without these expensive systems, with full confidence that things will translate correctly when deployed to our full-body motion-captured holodeck.”

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Furthermore, Sandbox says its upcoming networking framework will make it possible to create a mocked-up, multi-user development environment for testing and building experiences.

“We’ll make it as easy as possible to build experiences that can take full advantage of the custom high-performance peripherals that we create for our holodecks and ensure compatibility with the HMDs and computing systems that we employ to power our holodecks,” Beck says.

Developers looking to create for the Sandbox VR platform can request access here. Beck says early developers should expect SDK access later this year.

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  • Regis Souza

    This is very cool, unfortunately there is no such a thing near me

    • Moe Curley

      Ironic statement.

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  • Kimberle McDonald

    I would have appreciated a comparison to Project Sansar.

  • The way you guys load videos is annoying. I can’t adjust the volume. Not cool at work.

  • Hivemind9000

    Seems like they are only licensing to develop for their location experience. Doesn’t say anything about the business model or revenue share. It’s weird that they are doing a public SDK announcement for something that would require (close to) AAA quality – meaning expensive development. Surely they should just be talking directly to game studios?

    If developers could also release on other digital platforms, and Sandbox monetize through licensing their SDK, then I would understand this announcement.

    • Idan Beck

      The intention of the SDK is actually to enable the VR development community. To your point, we didn’t discuss the economics and mechanics of distribution since this is an early announcement so we can have exactly these conversations.

      I don’t anticipate we will limit the use the SDK, and there is a consideration to make it even open source – also something we’d love feedback on. But in short, we didn’t really address using the SDK for other platforms given the initial pass will likely not contribute much to say Quest development. The goal of the SDK to allow development using a quest / vive etc has less to do with supporting those platforms and more to ensure that developers don’t need to go out and buy expensive hardware / build custom environments to build stuff for Sandbox.

      Hope that helps clarify a bit, and would obviously love more feedback on things so please feel free to reach out directly!

  • mellott124

    Their VR rifle? Aren’t they just using the PPgun out of China?

    • Idan Beck

      Heya – Idan here, We just recently completed new in house developed gun peripherals (pictured in the blog post) which are being rolled out to store locations in the coming few months. We had previously rolled out custom “wand” peripherals align side our recent UFL experience as well, and those have been live in stores for some time.

  • I don’t believe this. You can’t test a multiplayer LBVR solution by just using some emulators. You need real feedback.