New ‘Space Pirate’ And ‘Fantastic Contraption’ Trailers Go Beyond MR

by Jamie Feltham • December 5th, 2016

How would you show a friend what VR is like without putting them inside a headset? It’s not an easy question to answer, but two new trailers released today might have the best solution yet.

So far, mixed reality has proved an effective way of capturing the magic of VR in a trailer. That process involves filming a player in real life and overlaying their image into the virtual environment they’re playing with. It successfully communicates what someone is doing in VR, and has been adopted by the likes of HTC and Oculus, though it looks a little strange. They also require a lot of equipment and setup. Now Kert Gartner, an indie game trailer maker is experimenting with what he thinks is a better way of showing VR.

Featured in these new clips are Space Pirate Trainer (above) and Fantastic Contraption (below), two games that fully utilize room scale VR on the HTC Vive and, from tomorrow, the Oculus Rift. In both the player appears not as themselves but their in-game avatar. It’s essentially just filming in third-person, though it does mean the game needs its own avatar.

Writing on his blog, Gartner said that filming in this way was more “cost effective” and less time consuming. Filming the experience included using a third Vive controller as a camera (a technique used for non-VR game Battlerite), and controlling a virtual one with an Xbox One gamepad. You can see how the Space Pirate video was made with a behind the scenes look below.

Gartner compared this technique to the work James Cameron did on his acclaimed blockbuster, Avatar. “Now we can do basically the same thing for the cost of a Vive, another controller, and a bit of development work,” he said. “It’s incredible that we can basically film a live virtual action sequence in my basement! The next step will be getting more than one virtual camera in the room so we can have a few people filming at once!”


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