Having played VR only once in my life, Zero Latency’s multi-player physical-simulation experience seemed abstract at first. Yet, just seconds into the game, it was clear that Zero Latency’s VR experience was an extremely intuitive, transporting and surreal experience.
“I moved, shot, killed, responded and reacted as if I was actually in the created world”
For gaming lovers, Zero Latency is trying to materialise long-held fantasies of being in the actual game-world, instead of playing remotely from a screen and console. Rather than controlling a remote character, I actually got to be the character; I moved, shot, killed, responded and reacted as if I was actually in the created world. As the game progressed, I found it increasingly difficult to reconcile the real world and the game I was playing. As far as I was concerned, I was living in the gaming world.
With light motion tracking sensors, comfortable VR gear and microphone attached, Zero Latency managed to create a physical experience that was comfortable but still somewhat realistic. I felt that the VR glasses could do with greater clarity and gameplay could have been more intense. But this does not ultimately detract from Zero Latency’s intuitive feel which was vital in creating a believable, augmented world.
Speaking of the games I had a chance to try, I preferred the Zombie survival game where hordes of interesting but dreadful looking creepers attacked us from all sides and we had to co-operate in order to survive the waves of attacks. The combination of different stages that demanded different styles of play were refreshing yet simple; a unique blend that kept the game, and in turn, the illusion of the virtual experience alive. The Singularity Game was a little blurrier and did not provide the same twists and intensity as the Zombie Survival, but it was still fun nevertheless.
“An experience that’s true to life”
Whilst the idea of interactive multiplayer VR simulation is still in its gestation, the signs point to a positive future, just as recent think pieces suggest VR’s possible nadir. One can only hope that creators like Zero Latency continue to push the boundaries in their respective fields in VR and inspire new ways of interaction between user and content.
Indeed, as I sat down with John Lilley, Zero Latency’s CEO, he mentioned that the inspiration for their work was founded on a growing desire to fill a void in gaming; to create an experience that’s true to life. Incorporating a more physical and spatially-aware gaming experience, those who are less dexterous with their hands (likely put off by gaming) are able to find new avenues to game and interact with friends in the gaming world. As John phrased it himself, ‘I want to make it a social experience that everyone can engage in easily.’ ‘To tell you honestly, I’m better with my body than my hands.’
Zero Latency’s ambitions may be lofty, but it seems to be pretty grounded in what it’s trying to achieve. Far from just breaking new ground in VR gaming, Zero Latency is trying to change part of the ways in which we interact with games. By shifting the narrative from conventional remote gaming to a more intuitive and social experience, I can’t wait to see what Zero Latency has in store for its own future and what the footprints it will intend to leave on the ever-shifting world of virtual reality.
Jia Wei Lum
Featured Image courtesy of Zero Latency UK – Nottingham Official Facebook Page.