To get straight to the point, for me this is simply the best DK2 demo experience so far. Tomáš Frooxius Mariančík has developed Sightline: The Chair as a tech demo that allows you to experience a wonderful array of different environments all from the ideal position for VR. It’s wickedly atmospheric and has deservedly shot to the top of my demo lists for VR newbies. It’s the best way to blow out any preconceptions of VR being a new 3D fad and is a real showcase for the medium with intuitive controls, great scene design and some techniques that can only be achieved with the latest generation of HMDs.
Are you sitting comfortably?
Sightline: The Chair starts simply enough with you sat at a desk, observing Frooxius on a screen (in 3D video) describing the experience you’re about to have and how to progress by looking around the environment. This is really all there is to it, but from the simplest rules chaos ensues!
Land of Confusion
I don’t want to give too much away, but things get pretty trippy from there in. Showers of fireworks from will-o-the-wisps you control with your gaze, landscapes that shift unsettlingly as soon as you take your eye of them, rooms that are not as stable as they appear and some dark, alien scenes that hint at the awesome power of this new immersive technology.
The first two guinea pigs gave it 10/10 and it elicited the expression ‘absolutely bloody amazing’. I was on my own when I ran through this the first time, but I still let forth a gush of expletive-ridden superlatives. As with all the demos that run at a reasonable pace right now, the graphical quality is not that high, but neither is the resolution (even on the DK2). But as you’re probably aware by now, responsiveness, orientation and interaction are the keys to presence. This demo nails the first two due to the seated nature and the DK2’s excellent tracking ability. It bends the rules with the interactive element since you’re making things happen just by observing the environments. Clever? Yes. Genius? Possibly. Evil? Probably. Even though I had to shut my eyes in a couple of parts (there’s no place like home! there’s no place like home!), this was the demo that made the wait for the DK2 worth it. Absorbing, entertaining and exhilarating.
You really have to try this with headphones for the full effect. If you have a fan, leave that pointing at your face throughout, just to get the most out of the outside areas. Also make sure you’ve left plenty of room around you to allow yourself to twist and turn, because you will want to look around (you kind of have to). Except this bit, which is plastic pants time.
Download Sightline The Chair now from Frooxiius’ site.