NASA, VR And A Melbourne Team Combined For A Journey In Space

I wasn't sure how popular it would be on the show floor, but when I saw queues going around the corner for Opaque's Earthlight project at PAX Australia it put a smile on my face.

Gamers, it seems, were pretty happy to try out VR experiences that broadened the scope of what a normal game could be. But a lot of people still have issues with VR, and floating around in space can exacerbate a lot of those.

Opaque Media Group, the developers behind Earthlight and other avant-garde projects, are pretty aware of the unpleasant aspects of virtual reality. They've been working with the technology for years, having won awards and plaudits for their Virtual Dementia Experience and The Forest Project experiences.

Opaque's latest project is Earthlight, and the team wanted to make the experience as comfortable as possible. It's a VR trip on the International Space Station, where you use the HTC Vive and touch controllers to climb out and around of the ISS. NASA also helped Opaque on the project to improve its authenticity — although, being a commercial venture, it's not officially endorsed because that's out of the agency's remit.

I took some time to ask Norman Wang from Opaque about it all, and we spoke about what help NASA provided, VR, dealing with queues at PAX, blockbuster tie-in projects and more.

If you want to find out more about Earthlight, you can do so at the official website. Alternatively, you could also watch the cool 360 trailer again because that's awesome as hell.

Earthlight is due out Q1 next year and will support the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and Steam VR headsets, as well as standard gamepads if you don't have a VR rig at home.


Comments

    I finally managed to get a spot in line on Sunday at around 10:15. I got my sms saying to come to the booth at 5pm. Absolutely the best game experience I had at PAX. Cannot wait for this one to come out.

      I must have been just a bit in front of you. Was glad to finally get in, we had some media guys in front of chewing up most of the booth for awhile though.

        You weren't wearing a red shirt, were you? This sounds super familiar.

          No I remember a red shirt a bit further behind me... I don't think I was wearing much memorable that day, black shirt jeans iirc :-P

          It was a really cool demo though, still glad we squeezed in and the guys at the booth were all really nice after what must have been a tiring day.

      Hey B-ob,
      If you don't mind I'm actually going to quote you to the rest of the dev team, I think it's a really nice compliment for everyone to hear. We're really sorry that you had to wait so long, honestly we weren't expecting such a strong turn-out to the booth and one of our Vives was down for the day on Sunday.

        Go for it! I said to those at the booth afterwards that it was worth the wait, and it absolutely was. I was saying to my partner when I got home on Monday that this is the game / program that will take VR from being "just gaming" to a mainstream experience. Glad to have been able to check it out and looking forward to seeing things develop over the next few months. :D

      Checked it on Saturday, but felt like it was the least immersion I got compared to trying out PlayStation VR (under water tech demo) oculus rift via zero latency, and I'm a sucker for space exploration. Movement and view felt very limited. But from what I can tell the attention to detail on the space station was great.

    These guys do great stuff. I've been fortunate to have one of their team members as a tutor at Swinburne, then to also get exposure to their work in things like guest lectures or events they help run around here. :)

      Hey Valhalla,

      Thats great, make sure to let the tutor know! I'm sure the team would love to know their students enjoy our work outside of Swinburne.

    Unfortunately I never got in to see this. Never got my SMS.

    I know it's expensive but I really do wish companies/developers etc would bring more VR units to shows like this. Having 2 or 3 units for 10K people is never going to get the point across.
    VR is really one of those things that people have to try. You can't show it off in a youtube trailer.

    Last year there were about 10 Rift head sets on display and the line for that was 3 hours long too.

      Hey Inquisitorsz,

      We're really sorry about that! It was actually a combination of super late notice for us to be at PAX and we actually did not expect such a strong showing and a crowd, as we were hoping there would be a multitude of PAXAus VR experiences.

      We'll be following up with every number we took down and hope to make it up to people who missed out.

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