Swim intimately among whales, otters and other creatures of the Californian Pacific Ocean in BBC Studios' new virtual reality (VR) game – released on Lenovo’s new Mirage Solo with Daydream headset – which doesn't need external sensors to play.
BBC Earth: Life in VR follows a mother sea otter as she forages in the Pacific coastal waters. Players can explore kelp forests, plunge into the depths of an oceanic trench, and see up close the behaviours of animals who live there, such as giant squid, a gargantuan sperm whale and even tiny microscopic plankton. See the beautiful 4K imagery in the game's trailer below.
The VR experience has been created by games studio Preloaded, in collaboration with BBC Studio’s VR team. It’s designed to be played on the new Lenovo headset, Mirage Solo, that allows Google’s Daydream platform to standalone for the first time without the need of a smartphone.
The headset provides all you need to have a VR experience, such as BBC Earth, where players experience the full freedom of movement, such as swimming underwater. "Six degrees of freedom" can be explored through a scenery collision system built with Voxel data of the terrain.
This is made possible with Google’s WorldSense technology, which combines data from the device’s internal sensors and cameras to track the headset’s position and orientation in space without requiring the fixed stations needed for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets. This means players can move around freely with only the headset needed to play the game.
Another impressive feature of BBC Earth is how the animals are aware and respond to the player and one another in a real-time behaviour system, and move dynamically based on their respective positions. This makes the player feel more involved in what’s happening around them, rather than feeling like a passive onlooker. This is enhanced further with a spatial-specific sound and music system and a GPU instancing technique which brings 16,000 krill to life as a swarming mass around the player.
BBC Earth: Live in VR is available to download free from Google Play now.