The Laval Virtual opens its doors to the general public on Saturday, April 7 and Sunday, April 8, after three professional days. For its 20 years of existence, this exhibition which is one of the largest in the world dedicated to virtual reality now brings together more than 300 exhibitors from 50 different countries. Next to the advanced technologies, the Show extends into an artistic part, the Recto VRso, where seasoned artists and young creators come to present their vision of this new world.
It is in a huge tent located a few ten minutes from the Professional Fair that the organizers of the Laval Virtual Days have installed the artistic experiments of their VRso program. The 2018 theme, “Real matter / Virtual Matter”, offers an uneven panorama where the experiences of Julio and Juan Le Parc (father and son) tape the viewer from the entrance. These are seven “virtual alchemies” that take place in a black room measuring 3 by 3 meters. Known for his kinetic and animated works, Julio Le Parc has invented a hypnotic scenography, intelligently sonorized, where you float in colorful serial forms. We tell ourselves that we will try, to see, and we start doing all the alchemy, and wanting to do it again. If there was one application needed to prove that VR abstraction also works, this is the one.
Seven Alchemies in Virtual Reality
Julio and Juan The Park
They tinkered with a simple system from a diving mask as we find in the trade and went to film some underwater sequences in VR with a rig (professional filming system) GoPro. The good idea is that you can swim with this amphibious mask, and the simple fact of floating really makes you feel like you’re there. We are totally opposite the Orbital view stand, which is a few steps away, and which makes you pay 1,500 euros to go floating, there too, in zero gravity, having the impression of being in space. The Dolphin Swim Club is non-profit, free of charge and it is already in operation in almost 150 hospitals around the world, as a treatment for depression.
The Dolphin Swim Club
At Wanadev, we say “respect the timeless codes of the arcade”. This is why, in appearance, the games presented on their very animated stand at Laval Virtual are relatively simple. They plunge us back into Doom-like atmospheres, in very high resolution and in VR. Because the core business of this Lyon company is to develop systems for a genre that we hear more and more about: the game room, but in VR mode. Whether it is an arcade room, an escape games environment or laser games, the potential and the applications are great. From 4 m2 to 400 m2, from 4 to 16 people simultaneously, the potential is immense.
Bow Island / On Mars / Spread / Yucatan / Daedalis
It is in the VRin part of the Living Room that we find this interactive virtual dance experience by Gwendaline Bachini. On an arabesque platform planted above the water on which you can move forward, two dancers are waiting for you to bring them to life, interacting with them with your controllers. A strange intimacy binds you to these dancers whom you direct in this virtual environment, and who move according to your position. The touch is not yet ideal, the resolution is that of the headsets on the market, that is to say a little low, but the application is very convincing and touching.
Gwendaline Bachiini (artist) and Remi Quitard (Unity engineer)
CRI Production / Crossed Lab
It was in April 2018 that the VR project developed by the Oceanopolis aquarium in Brest and Green Hill Studios, a young structure dependent on the Technological Research Institute b<>com, was launched. It is an immersive and immersed experience, which sends you to meet the marine animals of the world and the evolutions undergone by the marine environment over a period of two centuries. It is a family experience, up to four people, backpack, like diving bottles, and you can visualize your partners at the same time in the square of 16 square meters of exploration. A small leap motion case placed on the Oculus headset allows you to see your hands clearly and a very precise laser tracer (which the leap motion allows) allows you to point at distant objects, which are documented on a wrist screen that also acts as a photo camera (selfie possible). It’s very fluid, very well done and the collective notion does not detract from the pleasure.
Oceanopolis Aquarium of Brest
Green Hill Studio / IRC b<>com
How about watching a movie in your living room tonight with your friends? It is this project that cineVR is carrying out and whose idea takes up the very principles of Facebook’s “space”, which postulates that VR is “better with your friends”. Exploiting the potential of VR headsets to spatialize the environment and simulate a screen several meters diagonal, cineVR has created a virtual cinema room in which you are seated and where you can invite your friends who are virtually placed next to you and exchange your impressions with them. You can choose the atmosphere of your room, tropical beach, drive-in, or classic room. The application is already available.
It takes some time to grasp the purpose and form of this enigmatic VR game developed as a graduation work by nine students in the master’s degree in games and interactive media at Cnam-Enjmin. It is a witchcraft game based on the tea ceremony: you must make a potion from a list of ingredients, answering the specific requests of a monstrous “lord”, placed above your head. It’s boss fight (fight against a powerful opponent) demanding, without sword or superpower, except for your subtlety and your intelligence.
Kill him with Tea
Master’s degree in games and interactive digital media at Cnam-Enjmin
Another “experience” that uses leap motion and the virtualization of your hands to interact in a very realistic way with your environment. You are on a swing, supposed to simulate a state of floating, and you must touch the different spaces that are presented to you to activate them and move on to the next shot. The introductory part of this state of weightlessness is undoubtedly the most impressive, with a curtain that surrounds you and that you can move, and tear with a stronger pressure of your hand. The other environments are more abstract, but this simple initial experience provides a convincing insight into the degree of finesse that can be achieved today in virtual reality.
Chu-Yin Chen (artist)
Lab. INREV University Paris 8