We’ve already established how important content is to a given platform, but in virtual reality (VR), not all content is a videogame. There are plenty of non-gaming apps and tools that can be exceptionally useful, creative or just fun to use.With the HTC Vive being the first modern VR platform to offer motion controls in the form of the versatile Vive Wands, a number of developers began exploring what was possible using this new means of interaction.
One of the first non-videogame apps that many users might find themselves exploring is Google Earth VR. There is a wonder and satisfaction to hovering over famous landmarks such as Tower Bridge, or the Eiffel Tower, or zooming rapidly across the landscape to see what your own house looks like from a VR perspective. Common to many subsequent VR apps and videogames, Google Earth VR offers a range of comfort options to minimise any possibility of the dreaded simulation sickness, so users may find its a good place to fiddle with settings to figure out what works for you and apply that knowledge to other VR content.
Do you remember in school, being given one of those grey lumps of clay and moulding it to produce… well, often a great big mess, but at times you could get something glorious. Masterpiece brings this experience into VR, striving for a way to make sculpting 3D models easy and intuitive. Better yet, Masterpiece allows for collaborative design, allowing hobbyists or professionals to create something together.
For those who might be tired of switching between the VR headset and regular flatscreen desktop, there is a solution – stay in VR! Virtual Desktop brings your desktop into the VR environment. This has some advantages in that you are no longer limited by the size of your monitor, or even by the number of screens, allowing you to play YouTube videos on one side and do some work on the other, all within VR.
For something a bit more educational, there are apps such as Overview. An educational, interactive title that utilises data from NASA and the European space Agency to create an accurate model of the solar system for users to explore, winding around Earth out to Mark, Jupiter and Saturn.
For music fans, there are lots of options available, including social music platform TheWaveVR, which offers VR footage of concerts and performances with the option to comment and socialise with fellow fans, including some concerts that are exclusive to the platform. For musicians, there is The Music Room, which puts users in a virtual rehearsal space where they can practice on instruments such as drums, laser harp, steel guitar and chord harp.
Of course, there are many more non-gaming apps available for HTC Vive on Steam and Viveport and its worth keeping an eye on VRFocus to see what is due out next.
Onwards to the future, and discussing what could happen next for HTC Vive.