High Quality VR vs. Mediocre VR

October 10, 2018

Here at Outer Realm, we have a core philosophy that underlies everything we do - QUALITY.

 

Specifically, High Quality VR (“HQ VR”) as a genuine and powerful tool to help manifest visions into reality. Whether they be an incredible new architectural design for a building or a fantastic space hotel or the prototype for a groundbreaking product, we believe that rendering the vision for these things in HQ VR is crucial.

 

But what is it that separates HQ VR from mediocre VR?

 

The quality of VR can be judged based on two aspects - the technical specs of the VR solution and the impact it has on the viewer.

 

The first aspect of HQ VR, the technical specs, is quantifiable.

These are:

  1. Frame rate - studies have shown that VR rendered at frame rates below 90 frame per second (“fps”) is likely to make the viewer nauseous and disoriented. Really good VR today needs to be at 180 fps (90 fps in each eye).  Not only does 180 fps make the VR experience comfortable, it actually creates a much more vivid and clear.

  2. Quality of the rendering - quite simply, good VR must be realistic. One can’t create cardboard-like architectural worlds or cartoonish environments, and expect the viewer to extrapolate from that what the end product/building is going to look like. People’s imaginations are notoriously limited, particularly for non-designers. So you must provide a VR virtual representation that is as close to the end product/building/environment as possible. Materials in the virtual world should simulate real world materials’ colors, reflective properties, and surface roughness characteristics. Lighting should simulate real lighting fixtures, color temperatures, and shadow casting.

  3. Quality of the headset - to best view HQ VR, you must use high quality VR headsets like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive which have the processing and rendering capabilities to do justice to the content quality. This is critical to understand because many viewers may have previously experienced VR using consumer grade headsets or mobile phone based headsets (like Google Cardboard), and they believe that they will have the same experience  across all headsets. So it’s important to educate them on just how much of a difference a good quality headset makes. It’s like watching 4K video on an old CRT monitor (if that’s even possible) vs. on a state-of-the-art LED TV.

  4. True 3D and Presence - many mediocre VR solutions are really just 360° spherical images. This means that the visuals are actually static. If you move your head, it does not feel as if you moved your head through a real environment - the image jumps with you and you break the illusion of 3D. HQ VR is a virtual 3D world with 6 degrees of freedom. This means that you can move around in it realistically, just as you would in the real world. And with controllers that accurately represent your hands in the real world, HQ VR gives you presence - the sense of actually occupying a space

  5. True Scale - One of the incredible advantages of quality VR is its ability to accurately represent scale. Before VR, there was literally no way to stand in a full scale space other than to build it physically. Now we can stand in a space before it’s built and see exactly what it will look like relative to our human scale long before it’s built. But mediocre VR, because it’s really just a 360 image, doesn’t actually convey scale. Mediocre VR exaggerates and distorts perspective, making it deceptive and misleading.

 

Combined together, these technical specs make the VR closely mimic the real world as much as possible today - a High Fidelity Virtual World. And this is very important to the viewer experience.

 

The second aspect of HQ VR, impact on the viewer, is qualitative.

It basically boils down to whether the HQ VR evokes an emotional response in the viewer and motivates them to respond in a authentically positive manner to your vision.

 

In the case of a broker showcasing their unbuilt condo property, it might be about getting a potential customer excited enough to want to buy a condo. In the case of an entrepreneur, it might be about getting financiers excited to invest in their project. In the case of a product designer in a Fortune 500 firm, it might be about getting top management to support their novel product idea.

 

Part of this is directly related to the technical specs. The better the technical specs, the better the chances of your VR solution connecting with your viewer emotionally.

 

The other part is about storytelling and providing a curated experience to the viewer. If you just let a viewer put on a headset and try to navigate the virtual world on their own, they might get lost or distracted. They might not know what to look for or what they are looking at.

 

Instead what is needed is a mirror of what the viewer seeing onto a monitor so that a host or guide outside the headset can still see what the viewer is seeing. You can then guide the viewer, curate their experience and overlay their VR experience with your story/message/pitch. Mediocre VR doesn’t have mirroring capabilities, so a host is left wondering, “What are is the viewer seeing? What can I say to help heighten their understanding?”

 

Your VR solution should be a clear bridge to a call to action directed at the viewer.

 

Of course creating HQ VR or high fidelity VR  is easier said than done. It’s like saying, “It’s easy to make blockbuster movie. Just come up with the script, attach stars and shoot it!”

 

High quality, impactful VR requires a deliberate collection and coordination of skill sets - technical and artistic. You need top notch Game Developers, Hollywood-level Environment Artists, Architects or Interior Designers, User experience designers,and software engineers.

 

And that is exactly the kind of team we are at Outer Realm. We deliver the highest quality VR that leads to real value. A lot of traditional visualization and architectural rendering companies have tried to translate their skills into VR. But too often they lack the required and correct combination of software skills and domain experience, resulting in a host of mediocre VR solutions entering the market.

 

If you’ve tried mediocre VR and weren’t impressed, don’t dismiss this transformational medium just yet. Contact us to learn more about HQ VR and how it can help you.

 

 

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