VR Regatta is an immersive, interactive virtual reality sailing experience. For the first time it is possible to go sailing in your living room and actually have fun.
Earlier this year we had a chance to collaborate with HTC Vive team on a video as a part of Viveport Developer Stories series, giving you a unique chance to learn more about VR Regatta and MarineVerse team. This is the result:
The MarineVerse team is located in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto, Canada. Australia has a very strong sailing culture, because the weather is always so good. It is windy almost every day, there are many sailing clubs and it is an amazing place to be as a sailor.
VR Regatta is about giving people the first experience of sailing. It is also for experienced sailors, who used to sail but for various reasons can’t now, VR Regatta is a chance to enjoy the feeling of sailing at home.
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In VR Regatta, you can relax, traveling the world, from Caribbean, to Japan and Arctic in one afternoon. The boat you are sailing in the game is a small dinghy. We’ve chosen this type of sailboat because it is most likely the boat that most people will sail when they go sailing for the first time.
For gamers and in general people who are more competitive, in VR Regatta we have races. The first race, called “Easy Race” is simple, so that even a kid can do it. In “Easy Race”, you just sail downwind and collect stars. In other races, the complexity increases and your are tasked with completing more complex race tracks, like a triangle course.
VR Regatta also has a multiplayer mode, that enables you to sail and explore islands with others, regardless of location. In multiplayer, it is possible to teleport to a boat of your friend and sail together.
Sailors who tried the game, have good things to say:
Stu Gilfillen, Director of Education, US Sailing: “What excites me about VR Regatta is how it can be used in an educational setting. For those who have never been sailing before, using VR Regatta allows them to learn the basics and put them into practice without introducing any potentially dangerous elements. This approach will give them confidence to take the next step in their sailing, whether it’s as a recreational or competitive sailor.”
Gordon Buchan, Principal Skipper, The Yacht Guy: “VR Regatta is a fantastic way of learning what the wind is doing, how do you trim your sails for upwind and downwind sailing. These are all the things that we take quite a bit of time in teaching our beginner students. With VR Regatta, you can create an immersive lesson, where the students will get a fantastic grounding in how the wind makes the boat move, before they ever step on the boat”
Adam Gristwood, Boatshed Manager, Australian Sailing: “I was surprised how real it was. Definitely it remove a lot of fears, by not having to worry about capsizing.”
Gavin Wall, Regional Manager, Australian Sailing: “VR Regatta is an exciting new development for the sport of sailing. We have utilised this technology as part of our Discover Sailing offerings at a number of events including the Australian Grand Prix, The Volvo stopover and Club opening and Discover Sailing Days. It has proven to be a successful platform to introduce new people to the sport of sailing in conjunction with real life on water experiences”
Gordon Hyde, Sailing Coach: “VR Regatta lends itself to a whole range of training options, and would prove valuable to sailing clubs offering a solution for those days where junior sailors cannot get out on the water or perhaps a senior club house challenge after sailing, with its total immersive graphics it was interesting seeing experienced sailors duck when they tacked expecting the boom to fly over their heads. I foresee this type of technology becoming the norm in training centres as it provides a safe fun way to learn sailing.” “
Riley Whitelum, Sailor & Youtuber, Sailing La Vagabonde: “This is actually pretty good! [..] it would be amazing for education or sports.”
One of the HTC Vive strengths is 360 tracking, which is very important for VR Regatta, because the main control, tiller, is behind you. For that reason, when we do events HTC Vive is our go-to VR headset, because tracking works reliably and it is very easy to set up.
Viveport Developer Award is a great chance for MarineVerse to get the word out and let people know that we exist. The prize money and VR gear helps us keep going, working on our vision of democratising access to sailing through virtual reality.
PS. We have some exciting news about our new project - MarineVerse Cup - make sure to visit our blog tomorrow!