Ever wondered how it feels like crunching the snow under your feet and hiking through the chilling blizzards and treacherous rocks to get to the top of a mountain, the Everest maybe! For those who don’t have the real experience, the journey seems thrilling but alongside there are risks that just don’t seem to match up to the responsibilities we have otherwise. Well, for such a kind of audience, HTC Vive launches the “Everest VR”. It is meant to be a virtual experience that will try to recreate such journeys and offer a virtual thrill to the user. In recent years Virtual Reality market achieved some amazing milestones and is already hit market amongst the tech users.
Of course, you will never have to walk on snow and consequently you never know the real experience. However, this is as close as virtual reality can come in teleporting you on a voyage. VR is an art and as they say, art doesn’t necessary need to reconstruct. Just evoking similar emotion is like winning the battle. Everest VR is all about the magical views and the breathtaking environment that the accent to Everest leads through.
To create the experience, Solfar Studios and RVX have partnered together and a couple of other investors to capture as many as 300,000 high resolution photographs of Mount Everest and an accent. The photos have been consequently stitched to create a virtual representation of the topography. You will be able to get 360 degree views of the top notable stops that climbers pass through on their mission to scale the highest peak on earth.
Everest VR can also be treated as a well established educational material for all kinds of climbers – experienced and enthusiasts. It’s like an interactive ride along with someone who is actually scaling the mountain and you are virtually accompanying him. The best thing about the Everest VR is that it gives you the real Virtual Reality game like environment. Before the user is dropped at the base camp, a short tutorial explains the things that you need to carry along to the peak. The controls established are easy to use and are basically hand triggers to reach out and grab an item.
The Vive touchpad will control your movement. Also called as the “relocation beam”, you will need to follow a market that will turn red or green to show directions. Green is where you are supposes to go. The position of your actual feet is calculating using HMD position in real space. When you complete one sequence you will be welcomed by a “hand waving” signal. You will need to wave back with your real hands to move on to the next sequence. Continue till you reach the top!
Without doubt, the Everest VR is currently the most stunning experiences of Mount Everest on a virtual platform. The photo realistic representation is the best you will ever encounter and as opposed to the real accent, you have all the time in the world to look around! The technology that powers this process is an Unreal Engine 4, accompanied by several Nvidia VR tools. Solfar Studios has even incorporated Granite SDK to reduce the workload and optimize the visuals at the same time. Work is still in progress to stabilize the AMD hardware and thus the experience altogether. All you will need is a VR ready Nvidia graphics card (GXT 970 or higher) depending on your hardware; you are even allowed to tweak a lot of graphics settings to make the experience much fancier.
The total journey will take an hour or so. The best part of the journey is obviously the moment when you take the last few steps to the summit. The scenery is breathtaking and one might even suggest that you come to realize that it’s not the real Everest. Several first users have complained about Vertigo kicking in at this moment! So, the experience is not all virtual after all!
Everest VR app is available from the 2nd of August on steampowered.com and the cost is just $24.99. In the initial days, it will just be available for HTC Vive users but we expect it to be soon expanded to other VR platforms like Oculus Rift. Before you buy the app, do clean up your entire room space to hike through and not stumble over real barriers!