What is goggleless VR and why/when/where it would be preferred
Goggleless VR is as explained by itself, a VR that doesn’t require audience to put on a goggle or headset to experience. VR (Virtual Reality) has been more and more popular these days, for the fact that it makes audience feel like being in an arbitrary time and space and having an almost-real experience. It has been widely adopted by many industries, like Entertainment, Exhibition, Education, just to name a few.
Matterport 3D Showcase (often be referred to as 3D Tour) has native VR support built in. As many other VR solutions, it requires audience wear compatible goggle (a.k.a. headset) to experience. Unfortunately, the requirement of goggle/headset raises several concerns in practice:
It’s not group-friendly
Headset dependent VR is very personal by its nature. As soon as audience put on a goggle, he/she is in the virtual reality by him/her alone. It’s hard to interact with others about the experience and/or to share the feelings, even if other audiences are experiencing the same tour at the same time in other goggles. Each virtual world is independent even if the contents are identical. It’s possible to have avatars in virtual world representing other in-group audiences, but that requires more development effort on the engine and the tour content, and unfortunately, avatars break the reality feeling most tours try to provide.
Besides, it’s often preferred to have an instructor guide the tour and give instructions. This is very hard to be achieved due to the same reason.
Audience is isolated from the true reality after putting on a headset. It means audience will have no idea what is happening around in the real world. So when a VR tour is given in some places not being taken care of correctly, on a booth of some trade fair for example, chances are audience could be accidentally hit by people or objects passing by, or, the audience might hit on something by himself/herself. It can be dangerous and is not recommended.
Display resolution is limited meaning blurry visual
Screen resolution is important as it defines how clear audience could see your tour. Headset displays content on a single screen, either built-in or the screen of a mobile phone. Single screen has resolution limit, and it needs to be split into two visible areas (one for each eye). The highest resolution of a headset you can get in 2019, is 1440×1600 for each eye. This is high enough for most cases, but if you need a headset with even higher resolution, there are unfortunately no options around yet.
As of the day this article was written, Matterport VR mode doesn’t offer all the features as in regular 3D tour. Some of the missing but very useful features are Automated guided tour, Mattertags, Dollhouse view and Floor plan view, etc. Besides, you’ll have to bear with the small navigation dots floating everywhere in your virtual tour.
Designated App must be installed on your device to play Matterport VR tour. And, contents need to be pre-downloaded as well. It’s necessary to have big storage for your device if you have many VR tours to play. In addition to that, ready to re-download the whole content after you’ve made some changes to the source tour and you want the changes to be shown in VR as well.
Lack of ceremonial feeling
The way how your content is to be presented matters. It develops and brews the audiences’ emotion before the content is seen. As we all know, first impression usually makes huge impacts to one’s general feeling about pretty much anything. That’s why simple ceremony is better than nothing. Thus, it is wise to consider how your content will be presented rather than just to play it in small headsets.
Cost and compatibility concerns
Headset/goggle is much more affordable nowadays. However, things may change if you want to show your VR tour to multiple audiences at the same time, e.g. on a trade fair, as each audience will need one exclusive headset. Consumer devices like VR headset upgrade rapidly, and that usually leads to engine/protocol/software change, which means existing devices may need upgrade soon. That’s a hidden extra cost should not be ignored.
Besides, as every headset manufacture tends to build its own exclusive standard, a headset can play your VR tour doesn’t mean it can play other VR content you may have. Sometime you’ll have to convert your content to match the standard your device supports to play it. Compatibility is an annoying reality we have to face with.
Matterport VR tour is a great product and we’re not here trying to find a bone inside eggs. However, if any of these facts be of your concerns somehow, you should consider making your VR tour goggleless. Teleportal can help you with just that!
In practice, these scenarios could often benefit from goggleless VR:
- Impress visitors on an event, e.g. on a trade fair.
- Introduce something to a group of audiences, e.g. in an education class.
- Present tours in a more ceremonial way, e.g. in a showroom/pavilion/gallery.
How to setup goggleless VR for your Matterport 3D Tour
The key to create a satisfied VR experience, is to let audience see the correct content on the direction being viewed. That is, for example, when audience is looking straight forward, the content being displayed must be the content in straight front of the audience in the ideal virtual world, with the expected scale. If the same logic is applied no matter which direction the audience is looking at, audience will feel he/she is in a true world, not the one he/she is physically in.
The success of a headset is by mounting a screen right in front of audience’s eyes, it is able to make sure audience can only see content supposed to be seen, thus a virtual world takes over the real world.
Without a headset on the other hand, to achieve the same effects, screens shall be placed on the directions audience will be looking at. Since audience might be looking at any direction, it’d be ideal to “wrap” audience with screens, e.g. a room with the roof, floor and all four walls be made of screens. It’s ideal but not necessary though. In practice, covering front, left and right direction with screens is usually enough to create strong VR experience. Teleportal starts with a triple-nodes setup by default, users can always add more nodes to the setup.
That’s been said, how screens are to be physically placed in real world, including positions, sizes and orientations, define how good the final VR experience will be. Teleportal makes it very easy to match itself to your physical screens setup, so Teleportal can do the correct computation and deliver the best results. Teleportal even comes with a handy tool to help user decide how screens should be placed to achieve the best result.
The good news is, if not the best, you don’t need to do anything special to your regular Matterport showcase. Teleportal reads your regular Matterport showcase, does all computations on its own and deliver VR results instead of taking VR directions from Matterport VR, thus Teleportal doesn’t suffer from any of the limitations mentioned earlier. With Teleportal, any Matterport 3D Showcase can be turned into goggleless VR tour easily, with all regular showcase features supported, like Mattertag, Dollhouse and Floor plan view, automated guided tour, and more.
The last thing need to be done is to interact with the VR content to navigate the tour. With Teleportal, this is done through controllers. Teleportal is pre-mapped to support Xbox One Wireless Controller.
Alright, that’s pretty much all about it. Thank you for reading through. Have fun amazing your audiences with goggleless VR tour!
BTW, did you know that you’re welcomed to try Teleportal here for free?
About the author :
Mr. Feng Ye (Mark Ye) has been creating all kinds of interesting visual experience for exhibitions/events for over 20 years, and is very experienced in VR content creation. Mark started his VR research and practice in early 2000s, when there were no VR headsets/goggles yet but VR concepts (immersive experience) started to be implemented in exhibitions, like business showroom designs. He knows what the key is to create the best visual experience.