A discussion with our VR Specialist - Jamie Lamb
Jamie is our resident VR specialist, working with our interactive team of game engine artists to deliver amazing VR Interactive Experiences. We sat down with him to find out what he considers when delivering our VR content.
OK Jamie – hit us, what’s the latest with VR?
So to explain where we are now, its a good idea to look back and how we got here. Virtual Reality’s latest iteration first came about in early 2013, with both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. These were tethered headsets meaning you were connected to a high-powered desktops, that often cost over £1200. Early VR training platforms knew what they wanted to achieve, but but they had little to no interactivity as they were often low-quality game type platforms, or 360 degree safety videos.
Skipping forward to 2023, and the landscape has changed. There are numerous headsets available such as the Meta Quest, Pico 4 and many more. The most important different from previous headsets is that they require no desktop or external tracking sensors, and offer high quality hardware built directly in to the headset. This is so compelling for training as we can now create training platforms directly on to the headsets, that are now being used in industries like medicine, policing and construction. VR Training has changed, it is now more cost effective, immersive, untethered and safe.
What is your experience in VR training?
I have developed and worked on medical training platforms, focusing on neuroscience training. The platform allows students in neuroscience to experience and understand different testing environments, and gain the qualifications required to use tools safely. The platform was developed in Unreal Engine 5, and had additional features such as outputting live data to a web based platform for analysis on training completion.
What are the pros of VR over other training services?
I have already touched on a few of the positives, but primarily it is immersion in your environment. E-learning and other older training styles ‘fail to offer the hands-on experience that helps people to retain new knowledge’.(simplelearn.com) VR Training allows us to learn by doing. As people, we learn from the repetition of actions, by building these actions in to VR simulations using both hands with controllers, and introducing the practical, as well as theoretical, side of learning.
What challenges does VR Training face?
The main challenges of VR Training are motion sickness, and accessibility. HealthLine.com goes in to detail on this:
“When you’re playing a VR game, your eyes register the movements being simulated around you… Your inner ears also sense that virtual movement is happening all around you…(these senses) send these mixed messages to your brain simultaneously. Your brain becomes confused and disoriented, causing motion sickness to occur”.
Some of my top tips to get people to stop feeling motion sickness are:
- Limit Movement – Allow the person to direct themselves in the space. Do not move the player without action.
- Get your scale right – I should not feel like Alice in Wonderland where the room is too big or too small.
- Keep it minimal – Don’t overwhelm the player with too many objects. Nobody likes a busy environment.
- Keep frame rates high – We work very hard to keep our scenes optimised and running smoothly. The Meta Quest runs at an industry standard of 90Hz. Dips in framerate will make people feel sick. We don’t see the world in stutters.
At Do Digital Agency we can offer these services. We create cutting edge interactive environments in Unreal 5, and have experience building platforms from online configurators and virtual reality environments. VR is the future of interactivity, coupled with our web based platforms to get the most out of your experience. The technology is evolving rapidly, and we expect virtual reality experiences will become increasingly more commonplace, immersive, interactive, and of higher visual quality.
Come and speak to one of our team members to see what we can create for you.
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