OXFORD, UK — Motion capture solutions provider Vicon (www.vicon.com) has entered into a collaboration with Sandbox VR to bring about a next generation immersive experience. By using Vicon’s motion capture cameras and its location-based VR (LBVR) software Evoke, the Hong Kong-based Sandbox VR wants to transport up to six people at a time into a new type of VR experience.
Sandbox VR creates advanced VR experiences - adventures that resemble movies where the players become the characters. With two proprietary AAA-quality games already in operation across Sandbox VR’s seven locations, for its third and most ambitious title, Amber Sky 2088, a new motion capture solution was needed. In the futuristic game, users step into the role of androids, granting players abilities far beyond the average human while still scaling the game to their actual movements. To accurately convey that for multiple users in a free-roam environment, precision tracking and flexible scalability were vital.
“Sandbox VR is expanding, and we needed a partner that can work closely with our product team,” explains Steve Zhao, Sandbox VR CEO. “Being able to have quality and reliable tracking is important, but even more important is the ability for a vendor to be our partner and develop tools for us as we grow. Vicon is that company for us.”
Set in the twilight of the 21st century, Amber Sky 2088 takes players to a futuristic version of Hong Kong, then through the clouds to the edge of space to fight off an alien invasion. The odds are against them, but android abilities allow players to react with incredible strength and move at speeds fast enough to dodge bullets. And while the in-game action is furious, participants in the real-world - equipped with VR headsets - freely roam an open environment as Vicon LBVR motion capture cameras track their movement.
Vicon’s motion capture cameras record player movement, then send the data to its Evoke software, a solution introduced last year as part of its LBVR platform, Origin. Vicon’s solution animate player motion in realtime, creating a seamless in-game experience. Automatic re-calibration also makes the experience’s operation easy, and the system’s scalability means less cameras can be used to capture more movement.
“The Sandbox VR team deeply understand VR technology, but they also understand the story experience comes first,” notes Alex Muir, Vicon’s Asia-Pacific Sales Manager. “If the technology takes you out of the story for one second the whole experience is ruined. I experienced this first hand in Amber Sky 2088, ultimately gripping my revolver right to the very end.”
Sandbox VR was founded in 2016 and opened its first location in Hong Kong in 2017. The company has since expanded to seven locations across Asia and North America, with six new sites on the way. Each 30- to 60-minute experience is created in-house by Sandbox VR, and can accommodate up to six players at a time.
The partnership with Vicon is the first step in Sandbox VR’s ambitious expansion plans that will see it open over 40 experience rooms across 12 new locations around the world by the end of the year. In considering its plans to build and operate new locations, the VR makers chose to start with five systems from Vicon, in part because of the company’s collaborative nature. As VR technology continues to improve, Sandbox VR is frequently presented with new options in the type experiences and level of immersion. Vicon’s flexibility and support make it easier and more cost effective to offer the most advanced VR experiences today, and increase the opportunity to expand in the future.