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Preview: Elements on OSVR Hacker Dev Kit

Despite having a number of OSVR demos ready for the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Las Vegas, last week, Razer chose to show just one to the almost never-ending queue of intrigued attendees. Presumably a combination of ease-of-use and the desire to minimise wait times, Elements was offered as an example of both the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit and it’s compatibility with existing hardware; in this case, Leap Motion.

Developed through a partnership by the two hardware manufacturers in question, Razer and Leap Motion, Elements was a very simple videogame that demanded very little on behalf of the player yet still managed to impressed. Standing stationary in a bamboo forest, the player was attacked by a number of floating heads coloured either red or blue. In their hands they held the power to defeat these enemies, ice in the left and fire in the right. The player simply had to shoot the opposing element at each head to eliminate it.

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Attacking is a three-step process. First the player must raise their hand in front of their fist-closed, palm up. The Leap Motion, connected through the head-mounted display’s (HMD) on-board USB port and mounted on the front panel, will then detect your hand and present a virtual representation of it on-screen. Opening your palm will summon an elemental ball, either ice or fire depending on which hand is raised, and pushing your hand towards the enemy will then launch it. It’s an immediate and enjoyable design, and though simple, it’s not long til the enemy numbers begin to stack up and the player must dart around in full 360-degrees in order to keep on top of the encroaching hordes.

The videogame experience was very much enjoyable. The visual quality was of a decent standard, though unlikely to blow anyone away, and the detection of the player’s hands by the Leap Motion was actually one of the best examples of the technology that has yet been seen despite the fact that the device launched to consumers back in 2013. Despite the versatility of Leap Motion, the company behind it has been keen to enthuse it’s potential incorporation into virtual reality (VR) experiences. Elements is arguably the best possible demonstration of this intent.

Despite the enjoyable nature of Elements it was undoubtedly a shame that further software demonstrations of the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit were not available. Studios such as Untold Games, Gearbox Software and Techland have been linked to the device in an official capacity, with only the former having revealed their in-development project. Future revelations are likely to come thick-and-fast before the official launch of the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit this summer, and VRFocus will be sure to keep you updated with all the latest details.