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Exploring the Titanic in Virtual Reality

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A new game lets you dive deep into the infamous ship’s history.

The golden rule for creating compelling VR content is that you should allow people to experience something that would be either impossible or too dangerous, expensive and/or difficult to do in real life. And by offering up the double-whammy of traveling back to 1912 to watch the RMS Titanic sinking into the cold dark waters of the Atlantic, then letting you explore the wreck which now lies 12,500 feet below the surface, Titanic VR certainly ticks those boxes in spades.

We used motion capture, face-scanning technology and professional voice actors to immerse users in the story Click To Tweet


The game took over 8,800 working hours to create and boasts the largest animated virtual cast of characters ever based on real people inside a single VR experience Click To Tweet

The game was produced by Immersive VR Education (IVRE) a VR/AR developing studio based in Ireland which previously released the award-winning Apollo 11 VR moon landing experience 2016 and more recently completed a VR experience commissioned by the BBC commemorating the 100th anniversary of the RAF 1943: Berlin Blitz

We wanted to create an accurate portrayal of events, so it is not only educational, but also emotional and very engaging Click To Tweet

Immersive VR Education was founded by husband-wife team – David (CEO) and Sandra (COO) Whelan in 2014, where they proceeded to create a virtual learning platform called ENGAGE for universities and corporate educators. Since then, they have grown their team from 4 people to 34 and worked with clients such as the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the BBC and Oxford University.

“We wanted to create an accurate portrayal of events, so it is not only educational, but also emotional and very engaging,” says David Whelan, CEO of VR Education. “To achieve that we used motion capture, face-scanning technology and professional voice actors to immerse users in the story and to enable them to relate to the people involved.”

The story of the unsinkable ship and its 1,503 doomed passengers and crew is told from a first-person perspective of one of the survivors, and the animation sequences – which show people being loaded onto the lifeboats and then the ship itself sinking from the POV of one of the lifeboats, were created using eye-witness accounts.

The story of the unsinkable ship and its 1,503 doomed passengers and crew is told from a first-person perspective of one of the survivors Click To Tweet

Tech Trends Titanic VR Experience EdTech Technology Virtual Reality Consultancy

This is an unusually long VR experience, featuring six hours of gameplay Click To Tweet

This is an unusually long VR experience, featuring six hours of educational gameplay. The project has been in the works for two years now, and is the culmination of a long process that involved raising almost $70,000 through a Kickstarter campaign last year. Overall, the game took over 8,800 working hours to create and boasts the largest animated virtual cast of characters ever based on real people inside a single VR experience

“We wanted to create an authentic experience for users around a topic and setting in history that has long captivated people’s imagination. While the technology is advanced, what we are really doing is bringing learning back to basics,” adds David Whelan. “As children we learn to navigate the world through immersive experiences – think of learning a language or learning to cycle, or as we grow older going travelling and backpacking – the sights and sounds that often go unnoticed by our attention, are all taken in peripherally and form a whole context for our physical and mental learning. Learning through VR/AR is similar, in that it’s an absorbing, sensory experience. Aside from being great fun, this project is a fantastic way to illustrate the effectiveness and potential of VR/AR technology for educational purposes.”

The second part of the experience then gets you to explore the wreck using a submersible and ROV to solve various quests if you choose “mission mode.” These include rescuing a lost ROV, creating a photo mosaic, placing research equipment, or cleaning and preserving recovered artefacts. Otherwise you can just look around the ship in all its detail at leisure.

The golden rule for creating compelling VR content is that you should allow people to experience something that would be either impossible or too dangerous, expensive and/or difficult to do in real life Click To Tweet

Tech Trends Titanic VR Experience EdTech Technology Virtual Reality Consultancy

Titanic VR is currently available for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality as well as on a desktop PC version Click To Tweet

There is a lot of attention to detail in evidence here, and this comes through as a labour of love, down to the fact that the team made sure to include a poignant tribute to Lead Environment Artist Tony Meredith who recently passed away:

“Tony was a much loved and now much missed member of the team, whose final creative and powerful artistry on Titanic VR will continue to serve as testament to a truly gifted master of VR art production.”

While such experiences are effective showcases for the potential of VR Education, they are only the start of the company’s much more ambitious plans to “revolutionise education globally” (Their parent company VR Education Holdings plc was recently floated on the London Stock Exchange and is now a publicly listed company on the AIM market ) as Chief Operating Officer Sandra Whelan explains:

“We are dedicated to advancing how educational and enterprise training content is shared and consumed on a world-wide basis”.

Titanic VR is currently available for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality as well as on a desktop PC version. There are also plans to release it on PlayStationVR next month.

There is a lot of attention to detail in evidence here, and this comes through as a labour of love Click To Tweet

Tech Trends Titanic VR Experience EdTech Technology Virtual Reality Consultancy

While such experiences are effective showcases for the potential of VR Education, they are only the start of the company’s much more ambitious plans to revolutionise education globally Click To Tweet

This article was originally published on VRScout

 

For companies looking to leverage Immersive technologies such as VR/AR/MR/XR Tech Trends offers a comprehensive range of Virtual Reality Consultancy Services.

Alice Bonasio is a VR and Digital Transformation Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio on Twitter.


Also published on Medium.