We did a story earlier this year on where to find other HW nerds in Seattle. But what if you want to specifically find VR nerds? Wonder no more! In this article, we give you a peek inside a huge monthly VR MeetUp in Seattle. It’s a sure spot for a chance to demo VR games and VR experiences and network with fellow weirdos. This group also encompasses AR and immersive tech.

I give you: Seattle VR: Demos & Experiences

I attended this MeetUp in October and was surprised to learn Seattle has a massive and strong VR community. Also, the people I met were friendly and collaborative. Seattle Freeze-schmeeze. Not here!

However, if you worry they might also be lacking that special brand of Seattle-weird, don’t; it’s in there. I didn’t mind, though. I like weird. To top it off, this meeting doubled as their Halloween party, so it was also double the weird. To see what I mean, check out this video of the event below with a look at individual demos:

Sansar

Sansar‘s platform allows for the sale and purchase of characters and character features. So, creators can make a buck on here, not just Sansar. Beyond games, there are also live events where you can meet other users . . . which to me sounded like old school chat rooms getting upgraded for 2018. We got a peek of a virtual nightclub in our video. Perhaps a nice option if you feel like socializing but not leaving your home.

They brought in a trick-or-treating experience aptly named Trick or Treat. It allows you to walk down a creepy street and night and see what each house has to offer. Some characters were sweet and cartoonish while other doors held more creeptastic surprises.

Peek at Sansar’s Trick or Treat VR Game

I tried this one out and was amazed at how detailed the scenes were. Looking upwards, you can even see a realistic night sky!

Go here in the video to see Sansar’s goods:

MXTReality – (Halloween) Maze Walk VR

As the name would suggest, Halloween Maze Walk VR is a virtual reality maze. This game uses an iPhone and some walking. . . Or, you at least need to do some head-bobbing. I was told the game was designed to pick up on the player walking by the natural up-and-down motion of one’s head when they walk. Most people realize quickly all they need to do is bob their head to get their character walking and end up just doing that because humans are inherently lazy. It’s kinda funny to watch from the outside.

Clip from the Halloween Version of Maze Walk VR

MXTReality already has a hugely popular game, Maze Walk VR, available on the Apple App Store under the developer name MyPad3D.

The video picks up here with footage on Haunted Maze:

Daily Magic’s Witching Tower VR

It happened to be a big day for the game production company, Daily Magic.

They were celebrating the launch of their new game, Witching Tower VR, on Steam, and also had a demo available to play. Plus, jello shots. So, I had my own reason to celebrate!

The crew from Daily Magic knows how to party.

I watched as some MeetUp members demoed a harrowing part of the game where they had to scale the outside of a stone tower. There was a bit of man-screeching. For me, it was a nail-biting experience just to watch the other users on a flat screen.

Snapshot from Witching Tower VR

CEO of Daily Magic, Marianna Vallejo, told me their company made games for several years but this one was an experiment. It was their first foray into VR and also taking the game into as dark of territory as they did was not the plan at the onset.

Marianna Vallejo, CEO of Daily Magic, Witch.

To help with all that experimentation was this very MeetUp group! In the closing remarks for the event, Vallejo thanked members for their support and assistance throughout the development of Witching Tower VR. So, the whole-collaborative-environment plan for this group is more than just a nice idea – it’s truly bringing about tangible progress.

Watch the video here to see more about Witching Tower VR:

Haunted Graveyard by Holospark

If you’ve ever had a burning desire to stroll through a haunted graveyard at night, yet at the same time found that too terrifying to follow through with, this experience might be for you. It’s exactly what it sounds like: you get to walk around a spooky, haunted graveyard!

Image from Haunted Graveyard by Holospark.

I hear it’s still pretty creepy, though, so you might want to play it when there are other people in the room . . .

Beat Saber

This one is classified as a “rhythm game.” (I did not know that was a category of game before the MeetUp.) There’s also a lightsaber, so if “lightsaber games” is another category, it’s in that one, too.

A Beat Saber master captured in the zone.

Music plays as the player bounces around trying to lance flying blocks to the beat. You rack up points as you do, or if you’re rhythm inept, it’s possible to lose. This game had the most physical activity going on out of all the demos and all the players looked like they were having a lot of fun. It’s even amusing to watch the players dance around. You can gawk at some players for yourself by jumping here in the video:

Takelings House Party

This game experiments with a new format. The aim is to make VR gaming a more social experience for people who are physically in the same place. It only requires 1 player have a VR headset with the others just needing a normal screen and hand-held controllers. Judging by the shouting and cries from players and spectators, the approach seems to work!

The human character in the middle of the scene represents the player using the VR headset. He’s scrambling about a kitchen trying to kill miniature alien “Takelings” by shoving them in a toaster or down a sink, or whichever other appliance can be used for murder. The little takeling goobers are manipulated by the team of players using hand-held controllers. Those takelings are able to unplug or otherwise disable murderous appliances. In this way, the raucous, competitive battle ensues.

Play the video from here to hear the screams for yourself:

You can find Takelings House Party on Steam here.

MeetUp Member and “Astronaut” Lou Ward

This guy, hands-down, had the coolest costume at this party. See his astronaut suit in strange locations at Lou Ward’s Instagram handle: theecadet

Lou Ward and his glorious spacesuit.

Aside from the sweet spacesuit, Ward has a lot of things cooking in the VR space. It was touching to hear the heartfelt motivations behind his VR projects. The first he mentioned was a bit of a tribute to his grandfather who passed away this year. Ward’s grandfather suffered from Alzheimer’s and he was compelled to create a way to illustrate the experience of a grandchild who gradually loses a loved one to this disease. He’s doing this through a project called Tinker VR.

I admit, I got a little verklempt.

His other project, Monster in the Closet, demonstrates issues of anxiety from the perspective of a little girl. It was intended for Oculus Launchpad but Ward’s team just learned they won’t be receiving development money from the program. I hope that doesn’t stop this guy from keeping on with his creative projects.

To see Lou and his spectacular spacesuit, you can skip to this part of the video:

Attend the MeetUp for Yourself!

Most of this MeetUp’s events have a $5 admission fee, but they also usually have snacks. Even sans snacks, if you want to meet some other VR enthusiasts, this is where to go in Seattle.

If you’re working in the VR/AR space or would like to be, I’m confident this community could help you advance. Whether it’s collaboration, advice, feedback, or connections you desire, this is the perfect place to look.

Or, if you want to learn about new experimental platforms and content, there’s a lot of experimentation going on here! It’s always fun to see and have a chance to contribute to a thing as it’s being formed. Or maybe you just want to play with some new VR/AR toys without plunking down the cash for the equipment.

Whatever the reason for your interest, you can see what events are in the works here: https://www.meetup.com/Seattle-VR-Demos-Experiences/

 

Author

Erin is a digital nomad and directs optical engineering and publishing at Spire Starter LLC: www.SpireStarter.com Her academic background is in applied physics and she used to work for The Man designing optics for indoor lighting, automotive headlamps and tail lights (Corvette, Escalade, Chevrolet Silverado, etc.), optical sensors, and sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads. On the side, Erin is an artist, Christian sci-fi writer, and lover of beer, bourbon, and bourbon-infused beer.