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Road To VR Exclusive: Project Holodeck Hands-on Demo and Interview with Director Nathan Burba

March 7, 2013 | Howard Lichtman

Story and Images by Ben Lang / Road To VR

Recently I got a chance to meet up with Project Holodeck director Nathan Burba. Not only did we sit down for a detailed interview, but I was also fortunate enough to get a hands-on demo of the system. Project Holodeck is an immersive virtual reality multiplayer platform. Yes, that's a mouthful, but it means something significant. This is a complete virtual reality platform. The Oculus Rift is great, and I can't wait to get my hands on it, but I'm even more excited for Project Holodeck because it is the complete virtual reality package.

Project Holodeck, which will actually be using the Oculus Rift once it's available, is more than just a head mounted display (VR headset). It is a fully immersive platform that provides avatar embodiment - the sense of literally stepping into the game world (with more than just your head). Instead of controlling your character in the Holodeck with a controller, you simply are the character; you walk, reach, grab, and look around the world just like you would in real life. The system tracks your movements in 6-degrees of freedom which means you are free to walk, jump, crouch, and lean and it will be faithfully represented in the game world.

Project Holodeck is still a ways from completion. But the team, working out of USC, has put together something very promising:

I did my best to show what it felt like to be inside Project Holodeck, but I know the video can't quite convey that.

While the Socket HMD (VR headset) really helped suck me into the world, it was the natural interaction with the environment that blew me away and made me realize that gaming as we know it is about to change in a big way.

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