The Different Levels of Virtual Reality - what is "True VR" and what is "VR Lite"?

Virtual reality has a variety of product manifestations and it is often confusing as to which level of VR is the right one to use and the likely cost implications of each level.
To be able to term a product “True VR” you must be able to walk around and fully interact with the environment. Everything else is “VR lite”.

 

 

The following list includes each of the current marketplace products that are currently being promoted as Virtual Reality. It is NOT a hardware list, however the software solutions have been married with the appropriate hardware solutions for context.

1. TRUE VIRTUAL REALITY

Features:

  • Created in CGI modeled enviroments.
  • Viewed on either HTC Vive or Oculus.
  • Fully camera path independant.
  • Unlimited environment interaction.
  • There is no limit on what can be created (exisiting environments can be recreated and imagined environments can be created).

Advantages: 

  • Commercially applicable immersive experience.
  • 100% Creative Control (completely customizable environment).
  • High Resolution Imagery
  • Is “True” Virtual Reality
  • Content can be output into any of the lower levels of VR, therefore all the other levels can be introduced.

Disadvantages:

  • Only one viewer possible at a time.
  • Set-up time for sensors and hardware.
  • Content production time is long.
  • Tethered to a computer.

Best Deployment:

  • Virtual Sales Suites
  • Exhibitions
  • Marketing Events
  • Design Presentations
  • Games

Overall Cost: $$$$$ High

 

2. CGI CAMERA PATH AND HOTSPOT 360°

Features:

  • Computer generated environment.
  • Pre-set camera path.
  • Able to look around while following the camera path.
  • Some interactions possible using hotspots.

Advantages: 

  • Able to be viewed on most devices.
  • Environments don’t need to exist in order to be produced.
  • Both immersive and normal panning 360° views possible.

Disadvantages:

  • User unable to leave camera path.
  • Interactions are limited in scope.

Best Deployment:

  • Online.
  • APP’s with phone VR devices.
  • Also, viewable with Vive, Idealens etc.

Overall Cost: $$$$ Medium – High

 

3. VIDEO 360° FILMED FOOTAGE WITH HOTSPOT

Features:

  • Camera filmed enviroment.
  • Pre-set camera path.
  • Camera view control (camera path preset)
  • Hotspot interaction available.
  • Directional map available.

Advantages: 

  • 100% Realistic
  • Able to be viewed on most devices.
  • Both immersive and normal panning 360 views possible.
  • Some interactivity possible.

Disadvantages:

  • Environment must exist to be filmed.
  • User unable to leave camera path.
  • Interactions limited to hotspots only.

Best Deployment:

  • Online.
  • APP’s with phone VR devices.
  • Also, viewable with Vive, idealens etc.

Overall Cost: $$$ Medium

 

4. STATIC CAMERA CGI AND HOTSPOT 360°

Ala Moana – Interactive Hotspots

Features:

  • Created in CGI modeled environments.
  • Fixed camera with total 360° view.
  • User can move within the environment by clicking arrows to jump to other cameras.
  • Hotspot and Menu interaction available.
  • Sound available.
  • Can be hosted online and shared via hyperlink to devices.
  • Client can host file on own server.
  • File without hotspots can be uploaded to YouTube (360 view still possible).

Advantages:

  • Viewable on most devices: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Cardboard Glasses (Smartphone), Desktop PC.
  • Hotspots can provide a lot of info about the project.
  • Environments dont need to exist in order to be produced.

Disadvantages:

  • Static camera view only (no free movement in environment).
  • No moving imagery.

Best Deployment:

  • Online

Overall Cost: $$$ Medium
 

5. STATIC CAMERA 360° FILMED FOOTAGE

Yosemite – Interactive Hotspots

Features:

  • Camera filmed environment
  • Compatible with HTC vive, Oculus Rift, Cardboard Glasses (smartphone), Idealens.
  • Fixed camera with total 360° view
  • Hotspots can be added
  • Soundtrack, Voiceover and Screen titles can be added.

Advantages:

  • 100% Realistic
  • Viewable on most devices.
  • Show existing environment 1:1

Disadvantages:

  • Environment must exist to be filmed
  • Viewers restricted to static point, no free movement inside the environment.
  • VR device needed to get 360° view effect.

Best Deployment:

  • Online.
  • APP’s with phone VR devices.
  • HTC Vive or Idealens.

Overall Cost: $$ Low
 

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