A video teaser popped up for a VR game on Oculus Quest that uses controller-free hand tracking for a familiar musical experience similar to Rock Band and Guitar Hero.
And it already carries the perfect name — Unplugged: Air Guitar.
The game is a side project by Ricardo Acosta that he’s been working on at night. He works at Microsoft on the Maquette art app team but Unplugged is a personal project he’s been developing on his own time.
It is still pretty early in the process and there are some major obstacles to overcome for this project to see the light of day. There are of course questions surrounding copyright and what kind of songs people will be able to play in the finished game. The developer is thinking of partnering with small bands who want to promote their music.
Right now Oculus Quest hand tracking is a cool experiment but also far from perfect. Musical instruments in particular test the quality of the hand tracking system and experienced musicians suggest it is pretty limiting. For example, doing things like playing a physical piano with Quest hand tracking can only go so far with the current implementation. Nonetheless, there are glimmers of hope in ideas related to music and hand tracking with VR. For example, one of our writers, Harry Baker, recently synced up his physical piano to a SideQuest app and used it to learn how to play the Tetris theme on it in VR.
Acosta says he’s thinking of taking Unplugged: Air Guitar to Kickstarter to crowdfund further development. The current idea is an evolution of an idea he explored several years ago with Vive wands and Oculus Touch controllers. You can see the earlier “Rock The Stage” idea in the video below:
As of this writing Quest hand tracking software is still firmly in the experimental category. Facebook is only accepting apps to its Oculus Store that use the Touch controllers and meet their high bar for quality and market viability. But that should change at some point, with some games expected to get new features that’ll make them compatible with the controller-free tracking mode. When that happens we sure hope to see an app like Unplugged available on Quest.
We’ll bring you the latest updates about Unplugged: Air Guitar as we follow the game’s development. You can follow the game’s Twitter account UpluggedVR for updates as well and let us know in the comments below whether you want to see something like this on Quest.