VRCircle Visits VRLA Event

VRCircle Visits VRLA Event
VRCircle visited the VRLA event in Marina Del Ray in Los Angeles on Saturday. Which if you're a numbers person the date is 12/13/14. We won't see that for another 87 years.
Anyway, back to VRLA.
The event is hosted in a motion capture film studio with camera equipment and camera rails overhead. It certainly adds to the atmosphere of the event. There are the usual booths from the small start ups to Samsung and Epic Games.
List of my favorite and notable booths:

Gear VR
Samsung were showing off their freshly minted Gear VR device with the Note 4. I tried theBluVR which demos three separate undersea locations. There are sharks, fish, whales and various simulated creatures swimming around.
Next up was the Cirque Du Soleil demo. You're standing on a stage watching the artists do their thing. The focus of the action is in front of you while the other performers are to each side of you. The virtual photo booth was also pretty neat. You can bring up photos and look around in full 360 degrees. The reduction in the screen-door effect is particularly noticeable here.

Controlling Gear VR

Controlling the menu is via a touch pad on the side of the headset that you can tap to select. There is a back button that will return you to the previous menu.

Gear VR Resolution, Screen-Door Effect & Field Of View
How is the screen-door effect on Gear VR? I would say the effect is half what it is on the DK2. The progression would be DK1 to DK2 to Gear VR. Certainly they need 4K for this to be truly awesome. The Samsung reps would not give any solid details, but did say they were working very hard on a 4K device as soon as possible. This is good news!
Finally the field of view (FOV) is noticeably less than on the DK2. The DK2 FOV is 100 degrees where as the Gear VR is 96 degrees. This does not seem like much, but was something I noticed without looking for it.

Epic Games & Unreal Engine
Showdown Demo
EPIC Games Showdown Demo with Unreal Engine At VRLA Event
Epic games were showing off their Showdown demo which is not yet publically available. Showdown is a slow motion demo with a robot and various soldiers firing at each other. Explosions are going off and debris flying toward you. This is by far the best 3D I have seen yet. I actually wanted to duck to avoid the rocks!
Very impressive demo and I look forward to its release so I can try it again.

Developer Three one zero were there to show off their ADR1FT game. ADR1FT shows great potential as a game for VR. Controlling is via a controller for up, down, roll left or right, stop and accelerate. Although the controller is easy to use the ideal method would be something similar to NimbleVR to detect your hands. Since this game is also targeted for consoles it is probably unlikely this will make it, but lets hope it does.

WorldVix - Vizard
Sid Feddema was there to show off their Vizard solution. In this implementation you were simply superman/girl.
Strapping some hand motion tracking devices to my wrists and a DK2 to my head I was soon flying around a virtual city. 
Not sure what was more fun, playing the demo or watching others fall over as they hit a building.
Good times.

Jaunt VR
Jaunt VR was their showing off their 360 degree movies. Read our review of The Mission
I attended the VRLA movie session presented by Jaunt. The main focus of this discussion was around how to film for 360 video and maintain the viewers focus. In a regular movie you can 100% control what the viewer is watching. However in VR the viewer can turn away from the main action and watch something else behind them. Perhaps they will miss a critical part of the story and therefore their enjoyment of the movie?
Certainly a challenging problem. My personal opinion. Make the scene interesting and true to life. After all if you're talking to someone in real life, you're not going to suddenly start looking behind you, that would be rude!
The viewer should want to be looking at the main scene with perhaps casual glances around but still listening to the main scene in front of them.
Jaunt VR has released 4 additional 360 degree movies trailers recently (I'll be doing reviews on all of them shortly)
The Hobbit VR Experience is certainly pretty amazing. If you have ever wanted to jump into a Hobbit movie, then download this trailer!

Jaunt VR 360 degree movies

Gerald Gottheil was there to demo their ALTVR social media solution. ALTVR based in Redwood City California recently received their first round of seed funding for $5.2 million.
ALTVR puts you in a virtual room where you can interact with others by chatting with them (with your mic). The only physical control is with your mouse to click and interact with others. You use the mouse scroll wheel to turn left or right.
Gerald says there are currently no plans to use the real world keyboard and are looking for new innovative ways to add communication. Even with just voice, it worked pretty well.
Within the VR environment you can bring up Chrome to browse the internet. Can watch videos and share it with others on the virtual large screen within the room.

If you wish to attend VRLA. There is an event every month. You just sign up on their meetup page.
"VRLA is a monthly virtual reality meetup event in Los Angeles designed to build and foster a community of VR developers, vendors, hobbyists, and enthusiasts. VRLA is the best place to get hands on time with exciting games and demos, get valuable feedback on your software, and explore this incredible new art form together."

See you there. Although next up is CES2015.

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