Along with new graphics cards and software features, Nvidia showed off VR Funhouse, its first VR experience, at the Dreamhack convention last week. VR Funhouse highlights each of the company's latest VR technologies with carnival mini-games set in a room-scale, HTC Vive-compatible VR space. The seven included mini-games are Whac-A-Mole, Mole Boxing, Balloon Knight, Fire Archer, Hot Shot Basketball, Wallwalker Toss, and Clown Painter. As a technology demonstration, VR Funhouse is reminiscent of Wii Sports and Valve's The Lab in the way that it introduces gamers to a radically new experience.
VR Funhouse's version of Whac-a-Mole lets players victimize moles with wacky interactive hair powered by Nvidia's HairWorks. In Mole Boxing, players release their frustration on unsuspecting bobble-head moles that are stuck on a sliding spring. As Nvidia tells it, the player can use their virtual boxing gloves to size up and rustle the moles' hair before smacking them in the head and watching their hair blow around.
Balloon Knight and Fire Archer showcase Nvidia Flow, a technology that allows for physical interactions with particle effects. In Balloon Knight, players swing swords to pop balloons that spew confetti when they're punctured. As players swing their swords, the floating confetti reacts to the turbulence. In Fire Archer, Flow is used for combustible fluid simulation. Arrows can ignite flammable targets, and the flame will grow as it consumes the combustible material.
Nvidia FleX, the company's particle-based physical simulation technology, is used in Hot Shot Basketball to simulate the basketball nets and curtains, giving cloth a life-like appearance. In Wallwalker Toss, FleX is used to create squishy-bodied deformable squids that are launced at a bulls-eye board. FleX also powers the Clown Painter paint-gun shooting game. The player wields a pair of paint sprayers that can pop clown balloons or tag the surrounding environment with color.
Two final technologies that aren't simulation-oriented could enhance the experience in VR Funhouse, as well. Nvidia's VRWorks Audio brings ray-tracing techniques to audio generation. With VRWorks Audio, effects like flame whooshes echo in enclosed areas or peter out in more open spaces. The last technique Nvidia has is VR SLI, where one card is dedicated to rendering images for the left eye and another card for the right eye. Nvidia hasn't set a release date for VR Funhouse yet, but we imagine most VR-crazed folks are going to want to enjoy this VR tech demo.