There are plenty of virtual reality (VR) experiences available for those who enjoy heading out into the stars, some more realistic than others. In March developer Magnopus launched true-to-life simulation Mission:ISS for Oculus Rift, made in collaboration with NASA. Now Samsung Gear VR users get to try the experience for themselves, completely free for the mobile headset.
Mission:ISS has been created to provide an accurate representation of the ISS for users to explore, using NASA Space Station models, the VR Laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and feedback from astronauts themselves.
Just like the Oculus Rift version players will be able to dock incoming cargo capsules, conduct spacewalks, and perform mission-critical tasks. They’ll also be able to learn about the station’s 18 year history and hear stories from the astronauts that have spent time in orbit above the Earth.
But Mission:ISS In a blog postingisn’t a straight port due to the performance limitations of the mobile headset. the developer states: “The Mission:ISS development team did some investigating and rather than port the experience directly to mobile using much of the existing code, we decided to redesign from the ground up to get the best quality and interactivity.”
This meant reconsidering the main navigation controls for the Gear VR controller whilst re-optimising both the interior and exterior environments for mobile devices. “Players can still use the same set of basic and advanced controls as the Rift including: snap rotation, pressing forward or backward on the touchpad to move in space, or grabbing walls and bars with the trigger to move through the ISS,” the team adds. “We’ve upgraded you to one-handed rotation in the GearVR release. But we didn’t stop there. Now, we’ve added the ability to roll while floating! Just push forward on the touchpad while twisting your wrist, to roll while floating through the ISS.”
There’s also a bunch of new additions for the Gear VR release, including a faster way for users to jump to a favourite specific mission, an updated tablet interface so that users can now see all the achievements they’ve currently unlocked as well as browse the remaining achievements, plus re-recorded all the voiceovers adding a bit more polish.
VRFocus will continue its coverage of Magnopus, reporting back with any further announcements.