The Google Cardboard is an accessible and inexpensive Virtual Reality mobile headset. It isn’t designed for serious or long-term use, can only be used in conjunction with a mobile phone or mobile device, and you even have to put it together yourself. However, it is instantly accessible, available for a few dollars, and it provides users with the opportunity to determine whether VR is the experience for them without having to invest $1,000 or more on hardware alone.
Google even provides a blueprint for the design, which means that if you have a spare cardboard box lying around, you can create a completely DIY version at no cost. The VR experience on all mobile headsets is limited, with full immersion only really coming from PC gaming at the moment, and the fact that you have to hold the Cardboard headset does further detract from the overall experience, but the accessibility of the unit does help make up for these shortcomings.
There are also many apps already available for use with the Cardboard, and as well as some entertaining games, you can find some useful apps and other tools that really benefit you.
Horror is the ideal genre for something as immersive as VR. Your field of vision is hopefully entirely taken up by the content that you are viewing. If the app developer has paid attention to the inclusion of atmospheric audio, has ensured that the VR experience is as smooth as possible, and they have genuinely put some effort into the production values of the game, then you can expect an alarming and frightening VR experience even from the Google Cardboard.
In Chair in a Room you have nothing more than a flashlight to guide you, and objects pop up around you. Think 5 Night At Freddies but even more immersive than that and you should get a reasonable feel for just how frightening this game can be. House of Terror VR is another app that lets you move freely around, while 11.57 and Sisters are more a challenge of your fear levels, expecting you to basically sit still and try not to jump out of your skin.
If you are looking for a VR experience, rather than a gaming app, then there are a few options available to you. Some of the apps are not strictly VR, simply allowing you to view 3D images. In fact, Google has updated its Street Views map to enable exactly that and if you download the 360 camera app, you can take and add your own images. However, this isn’t really a VR experience, and you will need to look elsewhere for this kind of full experience.
War of Words VR is quite limited, in so far as it currently only offers a single poem, but it does show off some of the potential storytelling and immersion options that are likely to lay ahead of us. While Siegfried Sassoon’s poem The Kiss is read in the background, you are given an experience of what life was like during the war. One particularly poignant scene allows you to follow a bullet in slow motion as it travels towards a soldier. Perhaps not the most cheerful VR experience, but still definitely worth watching.
Virtual Reality has excellent potential as a means of educating. The fact that users are completely immersed in whatever situation is put in front of them means that they will be more inclined to learn. What’s more, the VR experience is more hands on but without the need to actually be hands on. This can prove useful in a host of situations, and VR is already used to help train surgeons without putting the life of patients at risk.
For home use, however, brain surgery may be considered a little over the top. Titans of Space enables you to explore a solar system that is 1 millionth the size of the actual solar system, and you can navigate around stars, planets, and other celestial bodies. It’s really a tour, although you can control the speed of the tour, but the visual representation will make it easier to learn about the planets around us.
The VR sector is blossoming right now, but there is definitely plenty of opportunity for developers that are looking to get into the world of Virtual Reality game and app development. On PC, you can use software like Unity and Unreal Engine 4 to create games and immersive experiences, but there are tools that you can use directly from your VR enabled handset too.
Google Cardboard is the obvious choice for those that are looking at lists of Google Cardboard apps. Install the app, learn the basics of VR, and start to learn how to code and program VR experiences. If you get serious about VR development, then you can use models bought from marketplaces like Best3DModel and create your very own virtual reality worlds.
Most people view potential motion sickness as being one of the drawbacks of Virtual Reality, and developers are encouraged to take appropriate steps in a bid to try and prevent users from being left feeling physically sick after using a VR app or game. However, not everybody is as seemingly level-headed as this, while some types of app naturally have a greater tendency to lead to motion sickness.
Roller coaster simulators are one of the most popular types of VR app. They work well because of the natural movement of a rollercoaster, and the fact that being on a rollercoaster typically means that you enjoy a full 360° view of the surrounding area. Roller Coaster VR is not only one of a set of apps that are all likely to make you feel a bit sick, but there is something about the speed and range of motion, coupled with the jungle scenery backdrop that makes this one of the more violent rollercoaster apps. If you do get motion sick, or if you are a particularly queasy person, then this may not be the best choice of app for you.