I’m sure most of us have experience with Google Maps – the go-to smartphone app to get from A to B, dragging yourself along roads in satellite mode, giving you a satellite image of the earth and its buildings.
Well, the very smart people at Google have recreated every inch of the planet and given you the opportunity to go and see whatever place, city, mountain or landmark; whatever you want!
Using the controls, navigate yourself around the blue planet and see what the world has to offer without leaving the room. Visit Ayres Rock, Australia; the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco; Times Square, New York; and more.
One of the most bizarre things about Google Earth VR is the ability to put yourself into StreetView. While I have come across certain locations that are unavailable for it, such as some Greek Islands, the vast majority of locations do have it. When I booted up the experience for the first time, I stepped foot on Exeter High Street and despite it being 10 years in the past (Google need to update their photos), it was so realistic!
StreetView is great for viewing landmarks too. I mentioned Ayres Rock earlier, or Uluru as the aborigines would say. Get there immediately through the use of a menu or try to find it in Australia’s Northern Territory yourself. Behold the grand size of the 863m tall monolith! It will absolutely blow you away as you really are standing right next to it.
Another neat feature of Google Earth is the ability to change the time. While flying through the atmosphere, you can quite literally pull the Sun around the Earth, turning the day to night, and vice-versa. This has an effect on the world too as city lights switch on, giving you a whole other aspect to explore.
For those of you used to the way Google Maps navigates, you’ll pick up the controls and movements easily and will likely become second nature after a few minutes. However, for those of you not used to Google Maps’ navigation, you will find the controls awkward. It can take a little while to get used to how the buttons work. For example, the most effective way to move around the planet is to have the planet in front of you. However, to be able to move in closer to an area, you have to hit a button to tilt the Earth below you. You’ll get used to it, it’s just a little finicky to start.
If you’re not particularly interested in the fast-paced Beat Saber or the strategy of Superhot, I highly recommend you give Google Earth a go. If you’ve got a VR headset at home, the game is completely free, though you’ll require a headset tethered to a computer. There’s no objective to complete so you can take your time and have an awe-inspiring adventure around the planet we called home.
Check out the trailer below and book now!
What is VR?
Virtual reality is the technology which allows you to put yourself into a different environment that doesn’t actually exist through the use of a headset.
The idea is that you wear a headset and the world around you becomes whatever you want it to be. You can turn your head and interact with virtual objects, with your motion as it would be in real life.
This shouldn’t be confused with AR – Augmented Reality. An example of augmented reality would be Pokèmon Go, where something virtual, the Pokèmon in this instance, comes into our world.
How can I experience it?
On the market currently, you have many VR headsets that have a smartphone slot, which allows a user to watch videos in Virtual Reality. While the cheapest on the market, you also have no real way of interacting which is where the cost begins to ramp up.
Widely regarded as the best VR gaming headset is the Valve Index, not only one of the more expensive models but also requires a very powerful computer. Similarly, the HTC Vive (1st Gen), HTC Vive Pro (2nd Gen) and HTC Vive Cosmos (more affordable 2nd Gen) also require powerful computers. As it’s the computer giving the headset its power, these headsets require you to be tethered by a wire, although the Vive Pro does have an expensive adapter, allowing a user to go wireless.
The best choice computer powered headset for the average consumer is the Oculus Rift S. Oculus’ 2nd generation headset is relatively cheap in comparison to other on the market, has the widest range of games with access to multiple online game shops, and doesn’t require a computer as powerful as the previously mentioned headsets. One of its biggest benefits is its ability to be played without the use of external sensors. You know, those little boxes that will sit in the corners of the room? All the HTC headsets and the Valve Index require them but not the Rift S.
Likewise, the Oculus Quest also doesn’t require external sensors and also happens to be the most sold VR headset to date. This headset is wireless, using a mobile phone processor to create the picture. However, with a lesser processor comes lesser performance. Though this doesn’t seem to be a huge deal to the general public as its manoeuvrability and adaptability is a massive benefit. Unfortunately, as it isn’t tethered, it only has access to the Oculus store, losing out on a huge variety of options but there is a solution…
After the release of the Quest, Oculus began work on the Oculus Link, a cable that connects to the charging port of the headset, with the other end plugging into a gaming PC. Suddenly the Quest’s game library opened up massively, with access to titles through software such as Steam VR.
Most recently, however, Oculus has released the Oculus Quest 2, a new portable headset, designed for the standard household, with better performance than its predecessor and depending on the memory size, potentially at a better price. Again, not tethered and for a similar price of the new PS5 and XBOX X, no doubt this headset will sell well with Christmas just around the corner.
So hopefully that’s explained what VR is and how it's accessible. At iVR, we use HTC Vive Pros for the more powerful games but also have some Oculus Quests so that you can try out the VR experience without a tether. Play a range of games and immerse yourself in a variety of experiences at iVR. Book now with 50% off when you book a session at iBounce Exeter.
Scott Cawthon took the indie gaming world by storm in 2014 when he released Five Nights at Freddy’s. The game’s fanbase grew exponentially from exposure as YouTubers created content with the game. The simple gameplay, deep story and jump-scare nature caused the game and the YouTubers playing it to go extremely viral.
The first FNAF features you, a security guard on your first night shift in a pizzeria, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, based on the American pizza franchise, Chuck E. Cheese. Similar to Chuck E. Cheese, families would flock to the restaurant to enjoy their pizzas and the entertainment put on by animatronics, Bonnie the Bunny, Chica the Chick, Foxy the Pirate Fox and Freddy Fazbear. Through discovery, rumours and minigames, you piece together the dark, dark secrets of this pizza franchise from animatronic accidents to murderers stuffing children into the animatronics, causing the vengeful spirits of such animatronics to come to life and become murderous themselves…
Wow. That went from 0 to 100 real quick…
The gameplay was extremely simple. You’re stationary with electronic doors either side of you. You have a window to see out of your security room, even when the doors are shut. You have cameras scattered around the pizzeria with screens in your room so you can keep an eye on the locations on the animatronics. With the power low, you must be efficient. When the animatronics are near, shut the doors or be destroyed… Survive this for 5 nights and you win the game!
Every FNAF game since has been this concept and FNAF: Help Wanted VR is no different. In fact, you can play all the levels from previous FNAF games in VR! Rather than clicking buttons to open and close doors and change camera screens, you must physically push buttons and of course, the animatronics are far, far scarier and making the entire experience extremely immersive.
With Halloween fast approaching, check out the trailer below and book a session at iVR and give Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted a go!