Virtual reality is going to be a lot of big things. It is going to be the next stage in global socialization, the next platform for education, the next way we learn to empathize with those around us. But above all else, especially in the beginning, VR is going to be about fun – and Holodance is one of the applications aiming for just that mark.
Launching this week on IndieGoGo, Holodance is a virtual reality dancing game developed by Narayana Games that has you rhythmically hitting balls that are coming at you in random locations in 3D space, somewhat like a mix between Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero with your hands as the controls. I recently had a chance to play through an early pre-alpha build of the game and despite bugs here and there the game was pretty darn fun… both for me and those watching.
I played Holodance solo due to constraints with the setup (there was only one Vive available at the time) but the experience is intended to be multiplayer. According to the game’s IndieGoGo page, “When you enter a multiplayer session in Holodance, it’s not you against the other(s) – it’s about mastering the level together and sharing a good time. You can do it alone, on your own, that’s fine – but it will naturally take longer. Just like in real life.” In the multiplayer version, you and a friend will work together to finish the songs – all of which have been composed specifically for VR with binaural audio.
The version of the game that I was shown was on the HTC Vive, but the developers say they are targeting the Oculus Rift with the Touch controllers and Sony Morpheus with its Move controllers as well adding they would like to also make the game available on AR platforms like Microsoft’s Hololens and the Magic Leap device.
Naryana Games are seeking $15,000 to finish building out Holodance and have been very transparent with how they intend to use the funds:
- $6,000 for three more months of development
- $3,000 for three more months of renting the office space
- $2,000 for additional hardware
- $1,500 for IndieGoGo and processing fees
- $1,500 for taxes
With potential stretch goals that would bring support to headsets like FOVE and OSVR, as well as potentially even a tap-based Gear VR version.
One thing you may notice about this video is that I do, in fact, look like a total goober to an outside observer while playing this game.
This is not something that is a new phenomenon for VR, which regularly can make you look… well a bit goofy. In fact a recent Samsung ad for the Gear VR attempted to tackle this issue head on, with an ad highlighting this very issue. But as Road to VR editor Ben Lang mentions the ad fell short of really projecting the correct message, “How much more successful would it have been to have the ad’s protagonist beckon one of the onlookers to the chair, only to see them have the same jaw-dropped reaction?” He asks, and I agree.
Virtual reality may never look “cool” to the outside observer, but as long as the world’s inside it continue to be fun and engaging I will keep dancing like nobody is watching me.