HTC Vive Apps/Demos/Games: Why we love them? What makes them good? and their possible future applications.

Disclaimer: I’m currently looking at commonalities between some of these games or apps that have been developed. This is just a personal exploration as well as an opportunity to create discussions and keep learning from this wonderful field.

Before diving into these questions, it’s good to establish some background.

HTC Vive (over Oculus ?) -what’s different

While we still wait for Oculus to catch up, HTC Vive provided us with the ability to create and experience more (moving,action-based) immersive VR. Yes, we will need a bigger space to accommodate and experience the Vive’s true potential, but that’s a small price to pay for immersion (for now). Vive’s wireless controllers are well designed and easy to handle around the VR environment. The HMD is designed to be more comfortable, and complete; overall a better HMD design. It also includes a knob to adjust the lens distance, in order to accommodate users who wear glasses with minimal discomfort. The Vive includes 37 sensors in the headset (seamless and rapid detection of movement), and includes a front-facing camera. Moving towards the software and developed content, the Vive provides a wide variety of experiences, which helps showcase the systems’ capabilities. Some of these games/demos can be deployed in both HMDs, but the idea is to focus on both those that do overlap and those who help demonstrate the Vive’s potential and capabilities.

Lucky’s Tale

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Use of 3rd person perspective
  • Platformer VR game
  • Beautiful 3D environment
  • Delightful characters
  • Introduction to a new world through the eyes of a character
  • Allows/encourages world exploration during gameplay (incentives -> find items)
  • You-control-the-light (where you look/your head is the “light source”) concept

Great use in/of application:

  • Using head movements as a guide to move (light source)
  • Introduce new world through storytelling and characters
  • 3rd person perspective in VR

Adr1ft

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Narrative on the human story and condition
  • Gorgeous graphics/environment
  • 3D movement control

Great use in/of application:

  • Exemplary use of graphics
  • Evoking deep human emotions (ex: isolation, claustrophobia…)
  • Experiencing the feeling of looking down on Earth

Henry

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Engages and implements empathy
  • Eye contact as a way to grab the users’ focus, attention and emotions
  • Creative and emotional storytelling

Great use in/of application:

  • Evoking strong emotional connections
  • Storytelling & narrative (through VR)

Eve: Valkyrie

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Immersive First-Person experience
  • Breath taking graphics
  • Intense gameplay, progression and customization
  • Multiplayer integration

Great use in/of application:

  • Cockpit use to reduce user sickness
  • Incorporation of customization

Fantastic Contraption

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Integration of puzzle solving
  • Playful and whimsical world
  • Innovative VR interactions

Great use in/of application:

  • New way of implementing tools/interactions in a VR environment
  • Rewards and encourages creativity
  • Both fun and educational

Job Simulator

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Rich seam of inventiveness in challenges
  • “Exit burrito”
  • Replace hands with the current interactive objects
  • Funny & whimsical
  • Natural and intuitive controls

Great use in/of application:

  • New interactions in VR
  • Taking something mundane and turning it into something fun
  • Implementing presence

The Lab

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Great collection of VR demos
  • Teaches core concepts of HTC Vive
  • Polished graphics
  • Incorporation of humor

Great use in/of application:

  • Showcasing different interactions in VR (tracking, camera movement…etc)

Budget Cuts

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Integration of teleporting as a locomotion mechanic
  • Stealth-action gameplay
  • Fun and flashy

Great use in/of application:

  • Teleporting mechanics (point and click)
  • Reduce motion sickness

The Gallery: Call of the Starseed

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Beautiful environments
  • The voice acting and narration
  • The story
  • Puzzle implementation
  • Blink locomotion

Great use in/of application:

  • 3D spacial audio
  • Clear, simple, interactive intro tutorial
  • Locomotion integration
  • How to access items (backpack reference)
  • Solving challenges/puzzles

Tilt Brush

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Dynamic brushes and strokes, and color picker
  • Easy and intuitive interface
  • Immerse in your creations
  • Shareability

Great use in/of application:

  • Can be shared with others in VR or as a GIF
  • Encourages creativity and exploration
  • Easy to pick up and start working

Cloudlands VR minigolf

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Fun and straightforward mechanics
  • Natural gestures/interactions (controller is held much like a real golf club)
  • Multiplayer mode
  • Teleportation/locomotion

Great use in/of application:

  • Fun interactions (menus…etc)
  • Potential social VR
  • Natural/intuitive use of gestures

Apollo 11 VR

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Galactic scales and presence
  • Polished and immersive experience
  • Historic recordings

Great use in/of application:

  • Mission and space simulations and exploration
  • Documentary style VR
  • Educational VR

SculptVR

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Ability to scale in and out (micro to macro level) -> teleportation-like
  • Build, create, explore, destroy
  • Change time of day

Great use in/of application:

  • Project collaboration
  • Explore and create various 3D concepts in a space
  • Social integration
  • Incorporate time as a factor to view 3D models and how they would look in the real world according to the sun (shadows…)

Time Machine VR

Why we love it, What makes it good, What VR usage is it showcasing?

  • Control scheme tutorial
  • Time control to avoid getting out of situations
  • Informative subject matter

Great use in/of application:

  • Initial intro tutorial
  • Potential elements for survival horror experiences
  • Educational content or museum installation/interaction

CONCLUSION:

Many of these experiences are not truly finished, however, they show great promise and form a base around all of the endless possibilities we have explored and have yet to explore in VR. Many of the interactions found in these experiences can be re-used, integrated or help draw inspiration for new VR generations. Overall, I’m very excited to see what VR will bring within the next couple of years.

Sources:
On HTC Vive
1. http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/oculus-rift-vs-htc-vive
2. http://www.techradar.com/us/news/wearables/htc-vive-vs-oculus-rift-1301375
3. http://www.wareable.com/vr/oculus-rift-vs-htc-vive-887
Lucky’s Tale
4. http://uploadvr.com/luckys-tale-review-the-hero-vr-gaming-needs-right-now/
5. http://www.vrfocus.com/2016/03/review-luckys-tale/
6. http://www.ign.com/articles/2016/04/06/luckys-tale-review
Adr1ft
8.http://www.ign.com/articles/2016/03/28/adr1ft-vr-review
9. http://metro.co.uk/2016/04/11/adr1ft-oculus-rift-review-floating-simulator-5807802/
10. http://uploadvr.com/adr1ft-review/
Henry
11. https://www.engadget.com/2015/07/29/henry-oculus-story-studio-vr/
12.http://uploadvr.com/henry-hugs-your-emotions-and-doesnt-ever-let-go-spoilers/
13. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCN_L1ZECWQ
Eve: Valkyrie
14. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5gylV-_bUA
15.https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/04/27/eve-valkyrie-carrier-assault/#more-363049
16. http://www.polygon.com/features/2016/1/18/10776080/eve-valkyrie-oculus-rift-virtual-reality-alpha
Fantastic Contraption
17. http://uploadvr.com/fantastic-contraption-and-a-mediocre-mind/
18. https://www.vrfocus.com/2016/04/review-fantastic-contraption/
19.http://www.polygon.com/2016/4/7/11387626/fantastic-contraption-htc-vive-vr-overview-gameplay
Job Simulator
20. https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/04/05/wot-i-think-job-simulator/
21. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxgqg6Zcqkc
22. http://www.gamecrate.com/reviews/review-job-simulator-vr-riot-thats-better-audience/13249
The Lab
23. http://uploadvr.com/the-lab-vive-vr-review/
24. https://www.vrfocus.com/2016/04/review-the-lab/
25. http://metro.co.uk/2016/04/13/the-lab-htc-vive-review-valves-guide-to-virtual-reality-5812957/
Budget Cuts
26. http://www.gizmag.com/budget-cuts-htc-vive-steamvr-interview/42457/
27.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q7dVaembmgc
28. http://uploadvr.com/hands-on-neat-budget-cuts/
The Gallery- Call of the Starseed
29. http://uploadvr.com/the-gallery-call-of-the-starseed-review-unravel-the-mystery/
30.https://www.destructoid.com/review-the-gallery-episode-1-the-call-of-starseed-362153.phtml
31. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBeMBdmo1pI
Tilt Brush
32. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/more-gadgets/Google-Tilt-Brush-5-things-to-know/articleshow/52294586.cms
33. http://www.polygon.com/2016/3/18/11256106/tilt-brush-google-htc-vive
34. https://www.destructoid.com/review-tilt-brush-353038.phtml
Cloudlands: VR Minigolf
35. http://www.tomshardware.com/news/cloudlands-vr-minigolf-htc-vive,31098.html
36. http://www.roadtovr.com/cloudlands-vr-minigolf-is-here-and-real-minigolf-should-be-scared/
37. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNrj9Ll6RBs
Time Machine
38. http://vrrelated.com/time-machine-vr-review/
39. https://www.destructoid.com/review-time-machine-vr-361494.phtml
40. http://www.roadtovr.com/review-time-machine-vr-htc-vive-steamvr/
SculptVR
41. http://store.steampowered.com/app/418520/
42. http://uploadvr.com/sculptrvr-multiplayer-future-vr-available-today/
43. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQWo2rrolLk
Apollo 11 VR
44. http://immersivevreducation.com/the-apollo-11-experience/
45. http://www.virtualrealityreviewer.com/apollo-11-virtual-reality-experience-review/
46. https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2016/04/11/apollo-11-best-vr-game/

UX Designer