What Is the Hyper Reality VR Experience?7 min read16/06/2019
Hyper reality is the immersive technology that allows users to explore a computer-generated environment and interact with physical objects within it. Like fully-immersive virtual reality, hyper reality isolates users from real-world surroundings and sounds with special hardware that typically includes a head-mounted display and controllers. Hyper reality VR is the next step compared to fully-immersive VR.
The hyper reality concept appeared because of the emerging consumer-ready VR headsets. When Oculus Rift, a well-known head-mounted display, run a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012 raising $2.4 million instead of initially planned $250,000, three founders from Australia (Tim Ruse, Scott Vandonkelaar, and Kyel Smith) decided to create a free-roam virtual reality experience. In 2013, they developed Inversion VR, a single-player game.
In a year, the developers presented the improved version of their game at a digital innovation conference called Pausefest. Inversion VR finally got a multiplayer mode that enabled four players to play the game at once. On August 14, 2015, the founders made the zombie apocalypse game publically available. From this moment, this first free-roam game had got the name Zero Latency allowing up to eight players to play at the same time.
Hyper reality is a free-roam virtual reality experience that enables users to move in an open space with wirelessly connected VR hardware. Hyper reality works by fully superimposing physical environment and objects with computer-generated content. Unlike augmented reality that only adds an extra layer of content, hyper reality replaces real-world objects with virtual ones.
Thus, users explore a virtual environment while physically interacting with a real one. This enables them to feel and touch what actually exists only in a VR headset. For example, when experiencing hyper reality, a user sees an ancient door in the virtual Medieval castle and then opens it. In fact, he or she physically opens a typical modern door in the special interior created for a specific hyper reality experience.
Based on the Change Blindness Redirection, hyper reality experiences can make users feel the area much larger than it appears in reality. For example, technique Zero Latency venue in North Melbourne, Australia, has an area of 400 square meters while players travel from 700 square meters to 1 km2. This becomes possible with multiple changes of direction.
Although, rotations are added when users aren’t focused on the visuals, thus making redirections unnoticeable. Change Blindness Redirection implies adding rotations during human eye blinks that occur about 15 times per minute. At these moments, users can’t detect major motion changes. The main sense of this technique is to synchronize 3D graphics rendering with the moments where users blink and see.
Hyper reality VR also uses motion capture to track the user’s physical location and head orientation. This technology allows accurate generation of players’ in-game avatars wherever they are and whatever they look at. Proximity sensors built in VR suits notify users when they leave the physical play area. To improve immersion, hyper reality experiences can use various haptic feedback techniques, for example, fans and water atomizers installed across the play area to generate wind and simulate rain.
Hyper reality vs virtual reality
What Is the Difference between Hyper Reality and Virtual Reality?
What Is the First Free-Roam Game?
Hyper reality and virtual reality are similar technologies because they rely on the same hardware and have the same goal. They exist to immerse users in a virtual environment and allow them to interact with computer-generated content. However, hyper reality adds another level of immersion with its free-roam gaming. When it comes to virtual reality, everything that users see while wearing a head-mounted display is virtual. Surroundings, objects, phenomena are all unreal. Users can interact with them but haptic feedback is typically limited with vibration or electrostimulation. This hardly replicates how we feel objects and environments in real life.
To address poor haptic feedback, hyper reality experience developers enable users to explore virtual reality within specially created physical premises where free-roam game players can interact with real-world simplified models of what they see while wearing a VR headset. For example, they may take and fire a 3D torch within a virtual environment while actually taking and carrying a simple wooden stick in reality. Ina addition, toy weapons can be used instead of traditional controllers.
As of now, VR usually allows a single user to remain in the same digital environment while today’s hyper reality games enable multiple players to play a free-roam game at the same time. These players can interact with each other within a game area. With the growing quality of haptic feedback techniques and implementing a multiplayer mode, fully-immersive virtual reality will probably make hyper reality VR disappear. Until then, the latter technology is far ahead.
While virtual reality has different use cases in various industries including healthcare, automotive, and even aviation, hyper reality VR is currently only about gaming. Despite the latter technology is only gaining momentum, you can play a free-roam game in such cities as (but not limited to) Toronto, Stockholm, Madrid, and New York.
The VOID is a VR game studio that provides hyper reality in New York, Dubai, and London. Visitors can play Stars Wars, Ralph Breaks VR, Nicodemus, or Ghostbusters. Before playing, they have to take a virtual reality headset and suit on. Hooked up to the special moving holder, this suit provides players with haptic feedback during a game. They can move freely across the game area and interact with other players in the game.
Depending on a game, players shoot virtual giant lava monsters with a toy blaster, bust ghosts in the apartment, survive a food fight, or travel back in time to try solving a riddle. The entertainment costs $30 per one person for around 30 minutes of gameplay.
Mission Mars is a 5-minute hyper reality experience I have personally tried at the Principe Felipe Museum of Science of Valencia, Spain. Before you enter a special room, you take only a VR headset on. The thing is you don’t know what’s inside the room. When the game is on, you enter a virtual elevator and listen to the story. You understand that you a spacecraft captain and you need to save Mars where you virtually are.
Your virtual space helmet displays various data and highlight targets like in the Iron Man movie. During the game, you have to make simple actions like look left, look right, move forward, push the button, etc. The scary moment is when you need to overcome a precipice by walking along a narrow bridge. When leaving a room after the game, you get confused because this virtual bridge turns out to be just a board on the floor in reality.
Regardless of the short period of time it takes to play a game and lack of interaction, a realistic 3D environment with a typical Mars landscape, spacecraft exterior, and genuine emotions will definitely make you care. The cost of this immersive experience was included in the overall museum ticket price equal to 50 EUR.
Based in Tokyo, Madrid, Pocono, Orlando, Wisconsin Dells, and Melbourne, the first ever free-roam game doesn’t involve special fans or atomizer blowing wind and spraying water for a high-level immersion. Zero Latency will scare you to death. Within a virtual environment, you will have to shoot computer-generated zombies in different locations. For $88, you will be able to have fun in a hi-tech way.
Tick Tock Unlock
Tick Tock Unlock is a Hyper-Reality experience located in Leeds Trinity Shopping Centre, England. The main sense of the single player game is escaping a physical room which looks the way different from the virtual one. The free-roam game lasts around 15 minutes that will be enough though to give you unforgettable emotions for only £12.50.
Hyper reality experiences vary from vendor to vendor but they provide a way higher level of immersion compared to traditional fully-immersive VR. It rather exists as a means of the entertaining technology since other use cases are unknown. However, it may create a new development vector for the overall virtual reality industry that will soon be much closer to a realistic simulation of real-world physics.