Come with a mate or a group and tackle the virtual challenges
Sydney has a new place to go and experience VR. The Virtual Reality Rooms centre (level 1, 484 Kent St) offers up group experiences that can be shared by up to six players, though as few as two people can do it together.
Currently two experiences are on offer, both built specifically for this, so you won’t be able to try them anywhere else. They’re not traditional games, per se, but rather adventures that rely on teamwork to get through. As such the Virtual Reality Rooms people emphasise that these are great for corporate team building days, or group parties.
IN SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SUCK
We went along and played the Cosmos experience, in which our team was tasked with escaping from a space station. It was pure puzzle, and at first we totally sucked, missing obvious clues, but once we got into the swing of it and a natural leader emerged (good job, Dominic), we made good progress.
Typically, the puzzles had us working cooperatively, for example to turn off security devices by inserting specific things into particular places, or having all four of us in a group take a position on a console and arrange a shape to unlock the next level. Some dexterity was required, you have to scoot around in zero G so that took a bit of getting used to, and we lost two good men along the way who couldn’t handle the motion sickness. Unfortunately that meant we couldn’t actually finish the adventure as it was structured for all four players needing to contribute, but the good and patient people, from the centre came in and joined our group to help us finish.
The other experience, which we didn’t try, was a horror scenario involving a kidnapped child who must be saved.
In each we were seated in a room on comfortable gaming chairs, all facing each other. The hardware runs off top-end Asus PCs equipped with proper Nvidia 1080 graphics cards which were very much up to the task. HTC Vive HMDs were used, and attached to the front of each was a Leap Motion sensor. This was the killer good bit. I’d not used Leap before and it was extremely impressive. With it, you see your arms and hands in the game as you move them in the real world, and the fidelity allows individual finger movements. It’s extremely fluid and precise and gave an immediate sense of presence. Naturally, the first thing we all did was sit there giving each other the finger… with those hysterics out of the way we set about the actual tasks. Headsets with voice comms completed the setup. There was a little echoing but that was easily ignored, and may have been teething issues as we were there before it had officially opened to the public.
All up they allow one hour to complete each adventure, which costs $49 per person Mon-Thur, and $59 Fri-Sun and public holidays. We finished our run in about 40 minutes, and, as mentioned, we thought we were doing terribly but apparently it was quite a decent time, though we think the very nice staff there were just saying that to make us feel better.
It’s quite good if you’ve never tried VR, or have a group looking for a unique way of doing something together. It’s very conveniently located in the CBD so could be a fun way to spend some time on a night out. The company hopes to open other centres around the country over time.
Find out more, and book HERE.