Visited October 2018
I heard that Raindance were holding an immersive festival in London at The Oxo Tower, right at the end of their month long film festival.
I managed to book an entire day’s worth of experiences before they sold out.
The festival had taken the entire first floor, providing a large long space ideal for multiple VR demos.
I arrived on the Sunday morning for opening and it quickly filled up with people eager to try their booked experiences.
Walking around I noticed many different experiences on offer across a wide variety of headsets.
A big draw of these festivals is the opportunity to try experiences and applications which are not generally available as home releases, or are exclusive to the festival.
A big draw for me was the World premiere of HTC’s “7 Miracles” on the Vive Focus; the second time I would get to use the Focus and the first opportunity to use it for any length of time.
I found my first experience which was “Transference” by Spectrevision which was super creepy in the Oculus Rift CV1; Spectrevision is partly owned by actor Elijah Wood who is apparently heavily into VR!
The HTC Vive Focus – 7 Miracles
I’d enjoyed using the Vive Focus briefly at the HTC launch event but only had 5 minutes of playtime so couldn’t get a sense of comfort.
One reason for booking the 7 Miracles demo was the offer of 1 hour and 20 minutes runtime, available in one sitting. The experience was extremely well put together and not overly religious (I do not practise any faith). I found the story effective, acting was excellent and you could tell some serious money had been spent on the production. The resolution of the headset was impressive compared to the Vive and Rift which I was more familiar with.
After about 30 minutes, I started feeling a bit uncomfortable in the headset, with pressure building on my forehead in the sinus area. I tried shifting the headset around which provided a temporary solution. The headset felt front heavy due to onboard compute, and the halo style band didn’t really work for my head shape. This left my forehead supporting the weight, after 45 minutes I started getting a mild headache, but struggled on to the end.
I thoroughly enjoyed the actual VR experience, but found the focus incompatible with my headshape; I would need to modify the face cushion or headstrap for it to work. Despite the seemingly plush looking face cushion, it didn’t have enough density to support the headset weight causing a hard plastic part to press through the cushion against my head.
I ended my morning session with a headache and sore forehead which was cured with some painkillers and a quick freshen up with warm water in the bathroom before taking an hour break for lunch.
Still, i was very glad to try it out and my afternoon session started with the comfortable Oculus Go, so no further headaches!
I had a great day at Raindance Immersive Festival, and thoroughly enjoyed the different experiences as well as getting to use a number of different Headsets.
It’s always great meeting new people in the immersive computing space, and getting to talk with them about their applications and experiences, and how people are receiving them.
Many thanks to the organisers and all the developers for bringing their applications and experiences to Raindance Immersive Festival.
Thanks for reading! Rob Cole, immersivecomputing.org