First footage of Harmonix Music VR looks wonderful

By Brenna Hillier, Thursday, 18 June 2015 00:57 GMT

Harmonix has unveiled its virtual reality project and I am ready to spend vast amounts of money on it.

When Harmonix said it was working on a music visualiser for VR headsets, I thought “that’ll probably be a bit of alright then”.

Now that I’ve actually looked at the sort of images it produces via the footage below, I’ve upgraded my expectations to “put it in my life immediately”.

Over on the PlayStation Blog, creative lead Jon Carter said the app is coming to Sony’s Morpheus headset.

“It takes any song you give it and generates a unique, musically-driven event sequence. The resulting experiences range from subtly magical to outright psychedelic, depending on the world you select,” he said.

“Sometimes fireflies show up to compliment a relaxing melody, and sometimes stars descend to engulf you in synesthetic spirals of color. It’s definitely weird.”

Harmonix Music VR is more advanced than traditional 2D visualisers which use real-time audio spectrum analysis, and draws on “internally-developed, amazingly effective song analysis voodoo”.

“We still use real-time data, but we can also look at the entire song, break it into sections, identify specific drum hits, and even categorize the feel of song sections to drive the visual and environmental transformations,” Carter said.

Carter also made mention of the lost art of just listening to music – not listening to music while you commute or work or game or whatever, but just actively listening to music the way we did before portable players became ubiquitous. This is one of my favourite activities for lazy afternoons and I cannot wait to do it with a VR unit strapped to my face and a magical wonderland exploding around me as I dance about my living room.

“Maybe you just want to relax, listen to some chill tunes, and vibe out on a beach where the weather patterns reflect the mood of your song’s sections. Or maybe you feel like having a more energetic trip through a variety of intensely reactive spaces.

“Maybe you like familiar environments with flourishes of musical reactivity, or maybe you just want to be somewhere impossible to really escape with your songs. We don’t want to make those decisions for you, so we’re building a bunch of different worlds, each with its own vibe and level of intensity. Within worlds, you can even interact with objects to trigger further experiential shifts.”

Good old Harmonix. Everything it does is wonderful. Morpheus will release in 2016 and I sincerely hope this will be a launch app. It’s also coming to Samsung’s Gear, apparently.

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