The virtual reality invasion has begun, and that means you’ve got some interior design work to do.
This year will see more than a dozen different headsets released to the market, and each of them will come with a hefty price tag. Making choices between Playstation VR, Oculus Rift, and the HTC Vive, for example, is currently a pretty big gamble — sort of like going with Blu-Ray over HD DVD — and one issue you should be taking into consideration is how much space in your house VR is going to require. The short answer is VR developers expect you to set aside as much interior real estate as you can.
Recently, a developer shared a quote with PCGamesN that shines a light on how ridiculous this might get:
“Everyday people do an enormous number of ridiculously complex and difficult things just to get through their day,” Adam Kraver, an architect programmer on Project Arena, said. “Like cooking — that requires an entire room in your house and a special machine to keep things cold; and then you’ve gotta have this thing that makes these super-hot surfaces. So if you’re passionate about that you can do [VR]. If you’re passionate about this and interested in this, you’re just gonna do it.”
To reiterate, if you’re not prepared to treat virtual reality with the same time and dedication as, say, survival — then serious VR might not be for you.
In the rest of the interview, Kraver reiterated that video games used to be larger and more expensive systems than they are now, and people still loved them, so it isn’t unnatural for big leaps in gaming to be accompanied by more demands on the consumer. This line of logic is a little easier to swallow.
So what does the actual space requirement look like?
PC Gamer took a look at space requirements and suggested that it looked as if most VR most systems will require at least a six foot by six foot square range for best usage and safety. That’s basically as much space your body can take up, wingspan-wise. There aren’t very many standing VR experiences that track movement out of the gate, so your best bet is to have a nice swivel chair without arm rests for a lot of the launch titles. For the bigger games, you need to be able to move all furniture out of your way, along with any rugs or tripping hazards.
Oh, and there are going to be just A LOT of wires making this thing work. Those also fall under the “tripping hazards” category. You do not want to take a tumble and injure your body, and you definitely don’t want to yank some $600 hardware out of the back of your PC and break it. That’s what devs in the field are calling “a bad thing.”
The expenses and space requirements will all start to add-up for enthusiasts as you acquire more tech. For example, the Virtuix Omni, which is an entire platform for VR motion built to pair with the Oculus, is an insanely cool device — but it’s also a hefty piece of furniture that doesn’t store easily. You may have to just get rid of that pesky “kitchen” like some lunatics might suggest.
Finally, when considering space and upgrades required for VR, make sure to check the PC you’re running this on. VR requires your rig to output essentially two monitors worth of high-res video in 90 frames per second to keep you in a smooth, motion-sickness-less environment. Anything less and you’ve just spent $800 on the digital equivalent of Ipecac syrup and you’re going to have a bad, messy time.
You know what? Having a different room, away from where everyone else lives, for a possible gaming vomitorium isn’t the worst idea. I get it now.