This Game Lets You Practice Photography in VR
You can now try your hand at being a skate photographer with a Vive controller as your camera.
Have you ever wanted to see if you have what it takes to be an action sports photographer? What about a war photographer or maybe even a paparazzo cruising hot spots in LA?
Well now is your chance to get some practice in and make a game out of it at the same time.
Chicago-based game developer Robomodo is showing us an early prototype of their “VR Photo Jam” experience, transporting you into the shoes of an action sports photographer positioned atop a halfpipe as skaters fly overhead.
The VR Photo Jam experience lets you teleport around the skate park to find an ideal angle. You then raise the “camera” to enter viewfinder mode and snap away to capture the action one frame at a time. This is of course a game, so scoring is based on timing, framing, and subject position.
When speaking with Josh Tsui, Founder of Robomodo, inspiration for creating this initial demo came from his love of photography, sniper games, and Pokemon Snap. The team decided to tackle skate photography first since that was a subject they were most familiar with. Robomodo was founded by veteran developers who’ve worked on franchises such as Mortal Kombat, WWE, Fight Night, and of course Tony Hawk. “Working on the Tony Hawk games, we had already experienced the thrill of standing on a half pipe while skaters flew over us, so it was easy to pinpoint that as our target,” commented Tsui.
Interestingly enough for a VR game, when you raise the camera to your face and switch to viewfinder mode, you are going from 3D to 2D, something that may have been challenging to pull off but also mirrors more closely to actual photography.
This is not Robomodo’s first foray into VR, having worked with Three One Zero on their VR title Adf1ft and are also working on their latest untitled VR project.
Is this game more for entertainment or can it actually be used for training and practicing photography?
Although the virtual camera features may seem basic right now, the team wants to build in ways for you to progress through levels, slowly ratcheting up the features. For example, going from Auto to more manual camera operation settings. “It would ideally correspond to the higher difficulty levels as you play,” shares Tsui. “It gets tricky because we want to have the complexity but it should also be enjoyable so there is a fine balance to make.”
The demo only exists as an internal prototype for now, but the team is looking at various options to release to a wider audience and potentially include more VR photography levels like “wildlife,” “war journalist,” “paparazzi,” and even “stake out.”