VRcade

Rate this Article With the continual increase in popularity of VR applications especially in computer games, Virtual Reality has once again found its way into the Arcade game industry. Free Virtual Reality Games - VRcade

With the continual increase in popularity of VR applications especially in computer games, Virtual Reality has once again found its way into the Arcade game industry.

The regular coin-op machines running Mortal Combat or Street Fighter may still be around for some time to come but the attraction of VR as a unique new form of entertainment medium which will draw crowds of curious onlookers and potential players has spawned a new wave of Arcade outlets that cater to this form of gaming.

In the 80’s and 90’s, the emergence of gaming centers where players engaged in active shoot-outs in an assigned area or arena, with obstacles placed in strategic locations providing player cover became very popular. This was called Lazer Tag where players shot at each other with electronic weapons that shot out an optical laser to be received by an equivalent receptor vest. This way, one knew when one was hit by the other.

Today, the arcade seems to be bringing Lazer Tag back, only in a different way. VR arcades are starting to appear in the traditional venues where Lazer Tag used to be. The idea is to have a gaming arena (somewhat the size of a spacious warehouse around several thousand square meters) where several players wearing VR headsets and armed with VR props can run around and interact with each other in a simulated VR environment like a multiplayer FPS.

VRcade is one such company who is spearheading the effort to promote this kind of gaming environment. They recently launched their VRcade system in partnership with Dave & Buster, a popular restaurant and entertainment center chain in the US with several branches nationwide. Starting with their Milpitas CA branch, Dave and Buster intends to add the VRcade arena feature for their customers.

VRcade uses a deployable turnkey proprietary system where all the VR equipment from the control unit, the headset, clamps, and other devices to the alcohol wipes are provided as a single package.
The headsets are custom made and currently use a 5.9 inch screen at 1280×800. The lenses are mounted in such a way that they have a universal fit with no need for dioptic or IPD adjustments. This has worked so far for almost everyone who has used them.

The headsets are also self-contained without the need for wiring or a back pack of any kind. It can receive wireless video and audio streaming and get its power from a small integrated battery.
Tracking is accomplished via an overhead camera array that uses reflective fiduciary markers embedded on both the HMD (headset) and props (guns).

VRcade was launched with 2 available FPS games. Time Zombies an FPS Zombie shooter custom developed by their software division VRStudios and Interstellar Marines Bullseye developed by Zero Point Softwares and adapted from their VR title Interstellar Marines.

VRcade headset and prop gun


The company is currently inviting developers for the VIVE VR and the Oculus to adapt their VR titles to the system and develop new ones for it and take advantage of the large space available for the player to move around, something not possible in a home based room scale configured VR system as the Vive and Rift are.

Also, VRcade utilizes an in-game chaperon system for the safety of the user who cannot actually see the real surroundings despite the adequate space. A voice will warn and instruct the gamer if the physical area parameters have been breached. Even the height and size of the player are tracked by the system that adjusts the game play’s point-of-view accordingly.

Despite its overwhelming-crowd drawing successful launch, the VRcade system still has several challenges to overcome. Things like the sturdiness and reliability of the equipment, the maintenance and the troubleshooting of real-time problems, the customer service throughput (serving customers as efficiently and effectively as not to waste time) and the hygienic issues that affect the system. It is public so a sweaty face or palm can end up sliming the next user.

Game play wise, the system currently uses simple game interface. Point and shoot the Zombie. However, plans have been made to develop games that have user friendly albeit fast paced and complex controls (drop down menus for alternate weapons fire and the like).

As for future plans and objectives, VRcade is targeting the E-sports gaming industry by creating VR E-sport centers where players can engage in E-sport events with the freedom to run around and compete with or shoot each other. Just like a Lazer Tag match happening in Virtual Reality, players in VR headsets run about, crouch, shoot, jump and pick up objects all over the designated large area while battling it out in Virtual Reality.

This will also create a VR home – VRcade synergy where players can practice the VR game at home with a room scale version then duke it out in a real VR tournament at the VR arcade center. Micro Transactions and sales will also be interlinked for an integrated business model for both VR home and VRcade.

For a price of $5 (USD) for 5 minutes, VRcade offers a pretty good deal for experiencing VR while being able to run around a 225 square foot space, especially for those who have never experienced VR or are just plain curious. So, if you happen to be one of the above, do get in line and seize a chance to give it a try. It’ll be very much worth it, that’s for sure!

Rate this Article

Follow us on Facebook

Articles

A Comparison Between the Oculus Go and the Lenovo Mirage Solo A Comparison Between the Oculus Go and the Lenovo Mirage Solo Both Facebook and Lenovo have come out with their all-in-one integrated VR headsets. Let's check out the difference between the two of them. Read Is PlayStation VR The More Affordable Choice? Is PlayStation VR The More Affordable Choice? When the PSVR was first launched, it beat the other two VR systems in the high-end VR bracket in terms of sales. Sony's market advantage was that the PSVR was a much less costly console based system rather than a PC one. Let's take a look if that advantage still holds today despite several price cut-offs that have been implemented in the VR market. Read Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed  Reality - What's the Difference? Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality - What's the Difference? We currently have what we can call three general Cyber Realities; VR, AR and MR. Let's take a quick look on how they differ from each other . Read Does Does "Ready Player One" Depict The Possible Future of Virtual Reality? Cyberspace has always been a popular topic of interest and the pursuit of connecting too and being within it, but as to how actually far are we to really achieving a global cyberspace virtual reality is still left to a lot of speculation. With the recent release of the film Ready Player One, one may be able to have a pretty good idea what and where the direction of our current cyber technologies are taking us. Read Tobii's Eye Tracking for Virtual Reality Tobii's Eye Tracking for Virtual Reality Using eye movement as a way to control devices has been successfully implemented not only for military, scientific or technology fields but for commercial and entertainment applications as well. Tobii is a company that specializes in the use of eye-tracking and is currently applying it to Virtual Reality. Read What is Oculus GO?   What is Oculus GO? Oculus is coming out soon with a third VR headset which integrates everything needed into it. Described as a cross between the Rift and the Gear VR, let's take a look what this newest addition to the Oculus family can bring to the table. Read CloVR: Turn Any PC Game Virtual Reality-Ready CloVR: Turn Any PC Game Virtual Reality-Ready Gamers are clamoring for a way to be able to play regular PC games in VR. A start-up company in Malaysia is currently developing a smartphone app that will do just that. Read