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MTBS3D .@34bigthings developer of the sci-fi racing game REDOUT joins the @official_ita3d! #Redout #VR #VirtualRealityhttps://t.co/f31jVSkLWO
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MTBS3D It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia goes #VR 360 tonight! @alwayssunny #SunnyFXX #VirtualRealityhttps://t.co/gk9mJcVoxo
MTBS3D On this week's show #Zenimax vs #Oculus verdict, and an interview with Tero Sarkkinen, Founder of @BasemarkLtd! #VRhttps://t.co/kbQHe39HI4
MTBS3D Judgement Served With a $500 Million Bill For Oculus. #Oculus #Facebook #ZeniMax #VR https://t.co/gKRTZ77K0a https://t.co/Dri0lGKysG
MTBS3D Bertrand Nepveu of @Vrvana talked with us about their latest HMD upgrades at @CES. #CES2017 #VR #AR #MixedRealityhttps://t.co/R6HEQL6Uw3
MTBS3D .@panasonic discussed their new 220 degree FOV VR HMD with us at @CES. #CES2017 #Panasonic #VR #VirtualRealityhttps://t.co/0PW67eaKIp
MTBS3D .@NGCodec is working on a cloud-based #VR platform. They showed us the potential at @CES. @OlyG #CES2017https://t.co/odlHIRIDZm
MTBS3D We interviewed @SamsungCanada's Chief Marketing Officer at @CES. #CES2017 #GearVR #Oculus #VR #VirtualRealityhttps://t.co/F2HKIiFw1L
MTBS3D We spoke w/@ImmerVision at @CES. They make 360 panamorph lenses for several leading 360 camera systems. #CES2017https://t.co/1hyfeHziTK
MTBS3D We spoke w/@ImmerVision at @CES. They make 360 panamorph lenses for several leading 360 camera systems. #CES2017https://t.co/age4LhRIvp
MTBS3D We spoke to Mark Childs, Chief Marketing Officer for @SamsungCanada at @CES. #CES2017 #GearVR #Oculus #VRhttps://t.co/wsb07lv6OP
MTBS3D We spoke to @kwikvr_sgx about their new tetherless #VR enabling prototype at @CES. #CES2017 #VirtualRealityhttps://t.co/4E6FjFtngQ
MTBS3D We interviewed @GoTouchVR at @CES about their new haptics device prototype for #VirtualReality devices. #CES2017https://t.co/gDHX3dVi48
MTBS3D RT @Robertsmania: Still freaks me out to see myself on videos... Do I really sound like that?!? #VR #SimRacing @MTBS3D #CES2017 https://t.…
MTBS3D We spoke with @htc at @CES about their new audio add-on for the @htcvive, Vive Port, #VR arcades & more! #CES2017https://t.co/dT7nfuGrAw
MTBS3D We spoke to @FibrumVR at @CES about their HMDs for mobile phones and growing ecosystem of games! #CES2017 #VRhttps://t.co/BShIoaqHZi
MTBS3D .@AMD spoke with us at @CES about the long awaited Vega GPU architecture coming up around the bend! #CES2017 #AMDhttps://t.co/pRCSkHHSfj

The Story of Project Holodeck

Project Holodeck is a virtual reality platform designed to make effective VR experiences affordable and possible with readily available off the shelf parts and components.  Their goal is to bring 360-degree full-body virtual reality out of the research lab and into a fun, accessible consumer gaming platform.

Sharing their story and announcing their latest software release is James Iliff, Producer at Project Holodeck and member of the leadership team.


The Moment of Conception

James Iliff, Producer, Project Holodeck

Project Holodeck got started back in March 2012 at the IEEE Virtual Reality conference.  I was visiting there with Nathan Burba and Palmer Luckey as part of the Mixed Reality Lab’s exhibit, and at the time Nate was presenting a research paper on motion tracking and Palmer was working with the Lab on their head-mounted displays. 

Palmer, Nate, and I found ourselves riding in a limo with some famous researches to go check out a telepresence demonstration, and then we realized something:  What if we could get 90% of the VR immersion that you find in a research lab, for 1% of the cost?  We had been working with virtual reality installations for some time, and they were amazing - you could cover your entire body with motion capture markers and achieve full avatar embodiment in a virtual world.  Military-grade HMDs were expensive but had incredible field-of-view.  But few people had access to this experience but researchers at the top of their field and the occasional lucky intern.  Why did it have to be that way? We wanted take this incredible VR experience and do two things:  Make games for it, and make it cheap.

Then Project Holodeck was born.  Palmer had been working on his own HMD for quite some time, and he had numerous iterations (called PR1 – PR4, and others).  His new HMD was made with cheaper components, and we could combine it with consumer-facing motion tracking controllers to have a fully embodied VR play space, not unlike the concept of the Holodeck from The Next Generation!

We instantly started brainstorming all the possibilities.  A zombie apocalypse, an interstellar travel simulator, a pirate ship battle!  A steampunk-style airship game sounded perfect, because players could interact in a 20’ by 20’ play space that would be represented as the ship deck in the virtual world, while at the same time they could fly around in a massive environment and explore.  This idea of micro / macro space got around the spatial limitation problem. 

The ship deck could have cannons, a helm, altimeter, machine guns, afterburners, and all kinds of gadgets.  Players could frantically run around using various instruments and weapons, while having cannon balls and bullets whiz past their heads from enemy ships.  And it all happens hundreds of feet in the air, which is particularly titillating in virtual reality.

This is how our Wild Skies project began – the first game for Project Holodeck.