Earlier this week I wrote about a man who combined the Oculus Rift with the Razer Hydra motion controller to show us what Half-Life 2 is capable of being. Now, Razer Hydra developer Sixense has revealed how its upcoming set of motion controllers, the STEM Pack, can be used to simulate Jedi lightsaber training.
Paired with the Oculus Rift, this latest tech demo puts one man in the role of a would-be Jedi finding their sea legs (well, arms) by deflecting blots from one of those floating, laser-shooting training bots.
Note that the player's head is being tracked separately from his hands as he has a piece of the STEM Pack mounted to his head. The STEM Pack comes with leg attachments too, but they're not used in this demo.
"The lightsaber or sword is the true test for a one-to-one motion tracking system in VR, because it requires low latency, and almost perfect tracking of both position and orientation between your physical and your virtual self as you perform swipes, slashes, blocks and counters with the lightsaber," the developer explained about this latest video. "The STEM System and the SixenseVR SDK make this experience possible, and also make it easy for developers to create these types of applications quickly. The experience is a fantasy, but it feels natural because of the near-perfect hand-eye coordination that the SixenseVR SDK provides."
It's clear now why Snowcrash author Neal Stephenson was so keen on using Sixense tech on his MIA fencing game, Clang.
Based on the video, it seems like it would be hard to turn around without knocking into stuff, but the STEM controllers have analogue sticks too, so you could always handle basic movement with those and merely fine-tune your viewing angle by bending your neck. At the very least, it seems like it would work great for close quarters combat ala Infinity Blade.
The Sixense STEM Pack launched a successful Kickstarter campaign last autumn where it raised $605K. No release date has been announced.