A twitchy Caterham Superlight R500 and Australia’s most iconic racetrack, Mount Panorama, made me believe in VR.
It was one of those ‘oh my god’ moments as I threaded the open wheeler up through The Cutting towards the top of the mountain. In reality I was in a racing chair, using a Fanatec racing wheel and a high-end gaming desktop, playing Project Cars with Oculus Rift. In the Oculus headset, the pre-dawn light filtered through the trees, and I was in the Caterham’s cockpit, the racing wheel tracking perfectly with my gloved in-game hands. Sure, I’ve driven round Mount Panorama in
Forza Motorsport and other games countless times before, but this was something else. The racing line made sense now, and I could gauge the turns with more clarity and, well, instinct. With the freedom to turn my head I could look into the corners, while the wheel translated everything that the slippery Caterham was telling me.
Then at E3, the yearly gaming expo held in Los Angeles, I had another moment when I wore the Microsoft HoloLens and went on a guided tour though a hangar ripped straight from Halo. . A set of floating arrows gave me directions through the corridors, and a wall became a window to a bay where ships were taking off. Further on, a model of a level from Halo 5 gently spun on its centre axis, and by shifting my gaze nodes of info sprung up off the model.
These were simple demonstrations, but butb utterly powerful nonetheless – the opportunities for gaming, education and our lifestyles are incredible. You can read about both the Oculus Rift and HoloLens starting on pages 14 and 32, alongside the other tech that signals 2016 is the start of something very special indeed.
Enjoy the issue.
Paul Taylor, Editor