Oculus Rift-powered VR roller coasters are a thing, and a terrific thing at that.
Thomas Wagner is a professor in the Virtual Design department at the University of Applied Sciences Kaiserslautern. He approached German Roller Coaster manufacturer Mack Rides with the idea of using Oculus Rift headsets to make roller coasters even more exciting.
The manufacturer was perfectly willing, and gave Wagner and his student team access to two Europa-Park rides, Blue Fire and Pegasus. The team produced virtual reality sequences synched to the coasters, and have since performed over 100 test rides.
The video above shows users during and after the experience. They look absolutely blown away. You can also get a brief look at what they’re seeing – one sequence has the player in a ship blasting space detritus, while another has them driving a carriage pulled by a pegasus. There’s also a time travelling sequence with dinosaurs, apparently, and taking away rails made the simulation much more fun.
Find out more about the project on its website. Apparently, as long as the headset and VR sequence are synched, you don’t get sick – and the Oculus Rift’s motion sensors can more than handle the G-force involved.
Perhaps most interestingly, the virtual track doesn’t have to follow the real one for the movements to feel natural. For example, braking can feel like acceleration depending on visuals, and even when you’re moving forwards the visuals can go backwards and feel real. That means virtual tracks can be hugely more ambitious than real world constraints allow.
I want to try this so much I nearly sympathy vomited in delight. Long live VR!