A recent video shows a virtual reality hair cutting simulator that the developer jokes was created to practice cutting their wife’s hair in lockdown.
With the COVID-19 lockdown forcing people to choose whether to let their hair grow wild or take matters into their own hands, one VR developer used their skills to build a haircutting simulator for a low-risk way to practice. It might not be quite as high-tech as the way that Hollywood productions are using VR to make up for time lost to the coronavirus, but it’s still fun to see in action.
Virtual reality has long been an aspirational goal for video games, and one that plenty of people continue to say is just a fad. If that’s the case, it’s at least a very popular fad, with major developers bringing huge franchises like Half-Life and The Walking Dead into VR. The PSVR proved that even players without powerful PCs can have access to virtual reality, and Sony looks poised to take console-based VR to the next step with the PlayStation 5, although it won’t be getting VR until some time after launch.
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While the lockdown haircut simulator won’t be making its way to PSVR any time soon, it’s still worth a look for any aspiring hairdressers practicing social distancing. Reddit user push_matrix posted a video of their simulator in the Unity3D subreddit and explained how the demo was made. The developer used the Oculus Quest for the hand tracking seen in the video, but said that it needed to be connected to a PC because the standalone headset couldn’t handle the hair simulation required. Push_matrix shared a more detailed technical breakdown of how the impressive haircutting simulation was achieved in the thread, though it might not make much sense to non-developers.
Even major developers sometimes struggle to make VR engaging, but there’s plenty of interesting experimentation coming from solo VR developers and modders. Recently, one P.T. fan recreated the infamous demo in a Half-Life: Alyx mod, with predictably terrifying results. Another modder was able to create a VR version of The Witcher 3’s Kaer Morhen for players to explore in first-person. They may not be as polished as major studio releases, but like the lockdown haircut simulator shows, a VR game doesn’t have to be polished to look like lots of fun.
The next generation of consoles and PC-based VR could give developers large and small the tools to make totally new experiences. New innovations like touch feedback could turn everything from a solo-developed haircutting simulation to the biggest AAA VR title into a whole new kind of game.
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