Fallen Planet Deepen VR Immersion with Mid-Air Haptics
Posted; June 24, 2019
Leading independent VR studio Fallen Planet integrated Ultraleap's hand tracking and mid-air haptic feedback technology into their own IP to create an immersive, multi-sensory VR horror experience.
Fallen Planet Studios is an independent development studio whose primary focus is the creation of immersive games and experiences for virtual reality. It was one of the world’s first game development studios to focus solely on VR and is considered to be one of the pioneers of high-quality location-based VR experiences.
Fallen Planet license IP to over 30 countries (a mixture of VR arcades and theme parks). Their horror experience AFFECTED: The Manor was described by VR site Realovirtual as “one of the most terrifying experiences that we have tested on the Oculus Rift.”
One of Fallen Planet’s fundamental aims is to create a sense of immersion and agency in VR. While the quality of visuals and hardware in VR headsets is rapidly advancing, they identified the need to use hand-held controllers to interact as a key feature holding them back.
Ultraleap combines the world’s most advanced hand tracking with mid-air haptics, a "virtual touch" technology that creates the sensation of touch in mid-air. No wearables or peripherals are required: users can interact in VR using only their hands.
Fallen Planet used Ultraleap's STRATOS™ Inspire hardware and the Ultraleap Core Asset for Unity® (or UCA). Using the UCA, the studio was able to integrate hand tracking and mid-air haptics into their existing IP and Unity® workflow, try out different haptic sensations, and iterate quickly with no prior knowledge of the technology.
The result was a brand-new three-minute VR horror experience extending Fallen Planet’s existing IP called AFFECTED: The Visit that required no hand-held controllers.
The experience got incredibly positive reactions from visitors to IAAPA 2018, CES 2019 and Content Tokyo 2019.
A follow-on study in partnership with the ImmotionVR network of VR arcades tested the experience with hand tracking alone, and with hand tracking plus mid-air haptics.
While the results with hand tracking alone were strong, it was also possible to quantify the difference adding haptics made over and above the value of hand tracking alone. Guests who used the experience with haptics had a stronger sense of body ownership and agency (both of which indicate deeper immersion). They were also significantly more likely to replay or recommend the experience.
Fallen Planet are now integrating Ultraleap's haptic technology with their own IP and software to create a profitable turnkey solution for VR arcades worldwide.