VR Connects London 2017

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Virtual Reality was the biggest change to happen to the Gaming Industry in 2016 with multiple high end headsets becoming available on the market.

The most popular being:

  • HTC Vive
  • Oculus Rift
  • Playstation VR

Steel Media held the perfect event for discovering the latest trends in the VR industry:

VR Connects London

VR Connects was a fantastic opportunity for game developers and creative thinkers to show off their products to the VR World including one company that was showcasing their game after less than a month of development!

It also allowed a number of experts to share their thoughts and views on their predictions for the VR industry as well as what’s happening right now.

Along with Virtual Reality, PG Connects was running alongside the event to show the latest and greatest mobile apps, some I found much pleasure in playing.

The first thing to catch my eye at VR Connects was this:

Polyphonia VR

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Being a musician, this is a Virtual Reality experience I couldn’t miss.

Polyphonia allows users to manipulate the shapes they see in the world around them to affect the music playing in their headphones.

For example, you change the colour of one shape and you can suddenly hear the drums.

These shapes float around you while you’re transported to a whole new universe

To top it off, there’s a funky pair of drums to have a go on too.

Polyphonia has been tested on ages 6 to 60 years old so really is the game for everyone! It’s set to be released in late 2017 for all major headsets.

Battlezone

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Wanting to explore all things VR (and in need to see the PSVR), my next stop at VR Connects was Battlezone.

Created by Rebellion, Battlezone VR is the reboot of the 1980 battlezone first created by Atari. This time round, they game is all more realistic and definitely more immersive.

You play as a tank whose goal is to destroy all of the incoming targets.

This game has sold me on Playstation VR

Why this game was immensely popular, it immediately explained one of the greatest problems with are facing today:

Motion Sickness.

As soon as you move your tank, the wave of sickness hits you and there’s no stopping it. They explained that this game effects everyone differently but I want to meet the person that can survive this feeling.

I think what can make the PSVR seem more sickening than other headsets is the fact you are sitting down with a controller and not using your body to move what so ever! So your bodies real time movement and movement its seeing through this lense is completely different.

However, 

Here’s one company with a possible solution to this ongoing problem

ROVR

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The ROVR, created by Wizdish is revolutionary in new ways to experience VR.

This piece of tech first reminded me of a zimmer frame except it probably isn’t suitable for those who require aid while walking.

This kit allows you to walk around in the game while using a VR headset to experience the world you play in. They make you wear these huge sandals so you can walk on the surface of the “zimmer frame”.

As you are performing the motion of walking, we are one step closer to tricking our brains that we are actually walking while in the game. This should reduce Motion Sickness.

Unfortunately, we haven’t completely solved the dizzy feeling one feels when using the headset, however, the effects while using a ROVR were much smaller.

While using the ROVR, I played first person PAC-MAN. What this meant was I was running down corridors trying to collect the bubble thingys while the ghosts chased me.

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This sounds like fun right? Wrong.

It was like a PAC-MAN Horror Game! You can’t see the ghosts come round the corner and they jump up on you and chase you; I was literally screaming while playing this.

While it was utterly terrifying, I do recommend you have a go.

Looking for other headsets to try, I moved over to this stand:

thevirtualreport.biz

These guys report everything on Virtual Reality: current affairs, things to look out for and more. They gave me all the facts I needed to about the VR Industry.

The thing that drew me to their stand was the game they were currently demonstrating. Watching me glare at the gameplay, they offered me the chance to play (of course, I didn’t refuse).

The game allowed me to play was Raw Data. Now I knew that I could be a bit of a scaredy cat sometimes but this has topped my list.

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The concept of this game is that you find yourself inside a dominating corporation’s HQ and Robots are attacking you from all directions.

While that doesn’t sound so bad, the purpose of Virtual Reality is to throw you into a unique environment, as if you were really in the room.

Therefore,

I truly believed that Robots were charging towards me trying to kill me.

I was freaking out and had forgotten all the buttons. I managed (eventually) to draw my sword and attack with life like moves.

However, I didn’t last long.

Having experienced plenty of VR by this point, I decided to discover what mobile games were up and coming.

Lilith Games

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Lilith Games, originating in Shanghai, China, sold to me that day the power of mobile games.

Mobile apps, in my opinion, have developed a stereotype suggesting they are small games with little story and rather too simple controls.

This doesn’t mean I never played them. I use to love Tiny Wings and Crossy Roads but I’d only play them when I was on the bus or waiting for a friend to get ready; I would never go out of my way to play them.

One game has significantly changed my mind: Abi

You follow the paths of two robots: Abi and DD. These are both robots that once served the long-gone human beings. They travel across the dusty plains left behind, each for their own reason. You find yourself solving a multitude of problems in order to complete your journey.

The trailers show so much personality in each robot that makes you desperate to want to know what happens at the end of the game.

And what can I say about the art behind the game. It has a design you rarely see in mobile games – something that would usually attract me to a game in the first place!

We will definitely be seeing more of Lilith Games on DoubleUpGaming.com soon.

While walking round the expo, there was always a crowd gathered around one particular stand so of course, due to my weak human nature, I also wanted a go.

Chicken Jump

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A wacky game with simple controls and a lot of fun, Chicken Jump sees you command your player when to jump over the oncoming traffic.

This game reminds you of Hipster Whale’s Crossy Roads with its similar characters and design.

The novelty that was drawing crowds to this stand were the controllers. If this was played on a phone or computer, the controls would consist of one tap or button. At PG Connects, they were a little bit different.

Each player had a pad, one that would remind you of a home made Wii fit they that had to physically jump on to make their character jump.

It proved fantastic exercise and well as entertaining. While it sounded fairly easier, I myself struggled to make it past wave 2.

What I particularly liked about this game was that even if your character fell over, they could still continue to jump.

The creators, Fire Punchd, described their game as “Imagine a deadly racing game – where you are the pedestrian.”

Here’s a company creating accessibility to all the games you love, wherever you are with who ever you want to play with:

Hatch

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Imagine Netflix but with Mobile Games. Hatch will offer the unique opportunity to explore hundreds of games from your phone and share memorable moments with your friends.

Working like a gaming social media, friends can comment on your posts and even play the games with you; pretty awesome, right?

Not only that but it also allows you to stream your games rather than downloading them meaning you can play games as big and detailed as you want without worrying about your memory.

You have access to a wide variety of single player and multiplayer games all selected for their detail design and build; not any game will make it onto this app.

But here’s my favourite bit:

Single Games can effortlessly be made into multiplayer games.

By each connecting online from your phones, you can all control the same character inside a game.

When at the event, I was able to try this function and I loved it!

I took control of jumping while someone else made the character walk back and forwards! This is something I never would have thought would be possible.

What have we learnt?

There was a clear message displayed by each VR stand and talk that I attended.

VR has so much potential…. but we’re not quite there yet

The games available on the market are fantastic but the goal everyone is trying to achieve is creating the most realistic experience possible and we haven’t quite achieved it.

What’s going to make it happen?

Time and research. We can appreciate all the headsets we have now and look forward to the ones we have in the future.

What else did we learn?

The VR is going to be used for waaaaaay more than games.

It’s going to be part of so many areas of lives: therapy, training, holidays, buying homes, creating homes, designing prototypes and more.

This infographic explains perfectly why VR is going to be the next big thing!

As for mobile games, they are showing lots of potential for replacing mainstream gaming.

Phones are becoming so much more powerful that they can run incredibly detailed games.

And with apps allowing you to stream the game rather than download them, there will be an endless library of games that people can play.



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