Earthlight is not just a game set in space, it is an experience that allows you to immersively experience the journey of becoming an astronaut, built in collaboration with actual astronauts as well as people who train and support them.

Earthlight is a Virtual Reality (VR) game that allows players to immersively experience the journey of becoming an astronaut, as well as the wonders and perils of space exploration.

In Earthlight, players are transported into the body of an astronaut and interact with the world through a pair of virtual arms controlled through controllers like the Oculus Touch, SteamVR Controllers and PlayStation Move or with gamepads with dual analogue inputs. With these virtual arms, players will be able to interact with various aspects of the world while microgravity transforms trivial every-day tasks, such as movement or undoing a screw, into complex physics puzzles.

  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
  • View media
Post article RSS Articles


At the inaugural Rooster Teeth Expo Australia convention in January, Earthlight project director Norman Wang talked to us about his desire to see a new kind of storytelling arise from VR. It's something that Earthlight - a VR game in which you play as an astronaut newly arriving at the International Space Station - is itself exploring. And it all begins with a handshake.

"That's something that NASA want to see," Wang tells us. NASA is collaborating in the development of Earthlight to help create as authentic an experience as possible. But that authenticity extends beyond the technical accuracy of life in space to the human interactions that result.

"For them [NASA], space is multinational," Wang continues. "None of this is possible without this multinational collaboration. The reason why we look so much at tacticity [with the HTC Vive controllers] is because we want you, the player, to shake hands, when you go up there for the first time, visiting the International Space Station. The crew is there, they open the door and greet you, and you shake hands."

Screenshot


This is just a small example of a new kind of experiential narrative that is only possible with VR's total immersion and control feedback. "The ability to go out there and shake the hands of the Russian cosmonauts up there, it's kind of a big deal," says Wang. "That tacticity - being able to reach out with your hand and shake someone's hand, rather than 'Press A To Pay Respects', that's the kind of storytelling that can only happen in VR."

It's not just player action that contributes to an experiential narrative. By observing the autonomous actions of the character you inhabit, you learn more about who that person is by simply witnessing things from their perspective.

Screenshot


"We have a central character - a clearly envisioned character," Wang explains. "You are playing as Anna. This is her background, this is her story, this is her training, this is who she is. The way she acts is entirely in keeping with that. Because you can look down and see your own hands in VR, you see your fingernails - does she paint her fingernails? What are the objects in her room? If she's sitting at a desk, does she scribble in the notepad? All these things can communicate.

"The ability to go out there and shake the hands of the Russian cosmonauts up there, it's kind of a big deal."


"It doesn't make a huge amount of sense unless you're in that perspective. Who cares about what's on her desk? But when you're sitting there going through a training brief and you can see the objects on the table, and you can see her writing down the notes or scribbling on the page because she's bored - that communicates who you are."

Screenshot


By combining this kind of subtle, immersive storytelling with an intense focus on creating an authentic astronaut experience, Earthlight uniquely values the broad objective of sending its players into space just as much as the small, moment-to-moment interactions that occur within that context of multinational human achievement. "When we say Earthlight is a game, it is definitely a game - it has a progression," says Wang. "But if we were to strip out the dialogue, then suddenly they [NASA] have a usable training simulation that doesn't require astronauts to be submerged underwater. Virtual reality is never going to replace that training, but it'll make it cheaper.

But will virtual reality catch on as a consumer experience? Just how many people are going to get to visit the ISS and shake hands with the cosmonauts on board? Wang has high hopes.

"Does she paint her fingernails? What are the objects in her room? If she's sitting at a desk, does she scribble in the notepad? All these things can communicate."


"We have almost 40 years of VR history, and people from JPL [NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory] have said that this generation of VR tech is the best they've ever seen," he continues. "That includes their internal efforts. If people are willing to put up with clunky, unreliable hardware to experience virtual reality, it's because they really see the value in that. I think this new generation, even if it doesn't find widespread consumer success - especially with the new pricing, which is a bit unfortunate - I think most industries wouldn't care about that."

Screenshot


In the future, this may not be an issue, as Wang sees 'bring your own device' becoming a more practical way of experiencing VR, though it will require phones which have VR support built into their actual chips. "And then it becomes ubiquitous to have a portal VR headset that you can slot your phone in," he envisions. "Or maybe the headphone is that virtual reality device? I think those things are definitely possible, and whether the consumer takes to that is really hard to say."

Such powerful tech that fits in your pocket is still a pipedream. Until then, if we want VR and the new forms of storytelling it brings to grow, we'll have to be content with one small step for man - or rather, one small handshake - at a time.

889443

UPDATE 16/02/16

UPDATE 16/02/16

News

Earthlight is a VR game that immerses players in the journey of becoming an astronaut. We are developing Earthlight in collaboration with space agencies...

Comments
Guest
Guest

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Guest
Guest

This comment is currently awaiting admin approval, join now to view.

Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.

Follow Report Profile
Icon
Earthlight
Platforms
Windows, VR, PS4
Developer & Publisher
Opaque Media Group
Contact
Send Message
Homepage
Earthlightvr.com
Release date
Game watch
Follow
Share
Community Rating

Average

7

1 vote submitted.

You Say

-

Ratings closed.

Style
Theme
Sci-Fi
Players
Single Player
Project
Indie
Play With
Embed Buttons
Link to Earthlight by selecting a button and using the embed code provided more...
Earthlight
Statistics
Last Update
Watchers
33 members
Articles
2
You may also like
Viscera Cleanup Detail
Viscera Cleanup Detail Futuristic Sim
Redshift 7
Redshift 7 Futuristic Sim
Galactic Crew
Galactic Crew Futuristic Sim
Avorion
Avorion Futuristic Sim
Planet Nomads
Planet Nomads Futuristic Sim