11 July 2017

Virtual Hands Are an Unexpected VR Innovation

Oculus had talked much about ‘Hand Presence’ with the launch of their Touch VR controllers last year, but few games have implemented the controllers in such a way that truly deliver on that promise. Combined with Touch, Lone Echo’s impressive procedural virtual hands take Hand Presence to the next level. It is not something you would think is particularly important when it comes to immersion in VR, but our hands are our primary means of interacting with the world around us, and getting them right in VR can make it that much easier to feel immersed and present inside of your virtual body. Lone Echo developer Ready at Dawn has spent a considerable amount of time on the game’s virtual hands, and have achieved hands-down the most realistic looking implementation thanks to a smart procedural posing system which adapts the grip animation to each object and surface based on a physical model.

The robotic hands are not only beautifully detailed, they’re also impressively functional. You can grab any surface or object in the game, allowing you to push and pull yourself around the zero-G environment with ease. Each time you grip a surface you will see a unique arrangement of the fingers which lay upon the surface in an impressively convincing way. Lone Echo turns that rule-of-thumb on its head with some of the best arm inverse kinematics (IK) that we’ve seen to date. Together with the procedural hand gripping, these systems drive added immersion in VR because it makes it easier to feel as if the arms and hands in front of you are really your own. Lone Echo & Echo Arena double down on this achievement by making many of the game’s interfaces and interactions touch-based, with functional virtual touch-screens rather than the all too often seen laser-pointer interface.

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