There were plenty of new needs throughout
P.O.L.L.E.N.’s development. As headset prototypes
were released from different hardware companies,
the development team had to adapt to varying
requirements across different devices. Its initial
plans based on the early Rift prototype were validated when Oculus released its second prototype
in 2014, and so very little of P.O.L.L.E.N.’s virtual
world had to be remade.
The project was more significantly affected by the
2015 release of another headset, the first HTC Vive
prototype, which offered unique elements such
as the ability to allow players to see their hands
on-screen. “That was a game changer,” says Mr.
Sinerma. “It really makes the experience VR.”
As the team began to imagine the Vive’s pos-
sibilities, it continued to work on the Rift version.
Developers had to guess which game-play peripher-
als Oculus would include: Would the Rift use only
motion controllers or also a traditional controller?
“We agreed early on that for VR, motion control-
Explore a world-famous museum without leaving home. Overcome
a phobia through exposure to panic-inducing environments. Tour a
physical store before making a purchase online. Virtual reality (VR)
application projects extend far beyond the gaming industry. SuperData Research predicts that by 2020, games will account for only a
quarter of VR software sales.
There’s plenty of business-to-business project potential. Chicago-
based InContext Solutions, which provides software to clients in the
consumer packaged goods industry to help them develop in-store
promotional content, has jumped into VR. It uses the technology to
simulate proposed retail programs for clients—especially those who
were initially skeptical.
“Years ago, people weren’t sold on the
fact we could simulate real-world concepts
and scenarios in a virtual environment,” says
Tracey Wiedmeyer, chief technology officer,
InContext Solutions, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Thanks to the new availability of VR headsets,
that’s no longer an issue.
Now VR is so compelling that clients are
asking Mr. Wiedmeyer to port content from
the company’s ShopperMX desktop platform
into headset displays. Beginning in February,
his team spent six weeks developing a 3-D
application that can play 360-degree videos
on a Gear VR headset. It released that app in
April even as a smaller R&D team of three full-time employees plus a couple of part-timers
worked on translating the full, interactive
ShopperMX experience to a VR environment.
The short video project offered useful
feedback for InContext Solutions’ larger VR
project, because the testing process revealed
differences between VR hardware platforms.
The same video that delivered a fine viewing
experience in an Oculus Rift caused motion
sickness in a Samsung Gear VR, Mr. Wiedmeyer says.
To ensure the project delivers a product that works well on all
devices, the project team has ramped up testing to refine the user experiences and to align with various manufacturers’ evolving hardware
requirements. Mr. Wiedmeyer says his clients are satisfied with the
prototype, but he wants to push the VR product a little further.
“We’re close, but our destination is that this has to be magnitudes easier than desktop. Otherwise, why put on the headset?”
“If you are not working on
VR 100 percent, it is really
easy to fall behind our
rapidly changing industry.”
Virtual reality projects are popping up far beyond gaming.
on the fact
in a virtual
Chicago, Illinois, USA