HTC Vive pushes mobile room-scale VR, real-world props
Developers working with the HTC Vive have lots of new inspiration today, as HTC rolls out code and tutorials for novel VR applications that could lead to exciting developments in mobile room-scale VR, real-world props, location-based entertainment and mixed reality video.
We’re most intrigued by the potential for mobile room-scale VR, which we saw in a demo at CES 2017. Using a Vive Tracker and a smartphone, a second player can join in on a game being played by a user wearing a Vive headset. Making PC-powered VR expandable via mobile seems like an excellent way to make virtual play more social, which could help generate excitement for the medium and bring premium VR experiences to more users.
HTC is also providing a developer tutorial for creating a sample game called Virtual Graffiti. Game development involves 3D printing a custom prop (in this case, a spray can), affixing it to a Vive Tracker, and then integrating its signals into the game. Perhaps this knowledge will give rise to a bevy of custom controllers and props for Vive experiences.
Developers also have some new information for creating experiences designed for a specific event or location, such as an arcade or a conference. These types of VR excursions go hand-in-hand with mixed reality (MR) video, which gives viewers a sense of what a Vive user is experiencing in VR. Bystanders can get a taste of the virtual action as they wait for their turn behind the headset.
HTC is clearly hoping that providing tools and info to developers will engender a wealth of immersive new experiences for the Vive headset. Compelling new content could give it a much-needed boost over its most direct competitor, the Oculus Rift.