A few days ago this interesting project appeared without making too much noise on the Oculus forum. The Golden Age VR has impressed us with its enormous graphic quality, and gives us a good example of what virtual tourism can mean. It is not a game, it is an experience in which we will limit ourselves to walking on foot and gawping at a landscape from another era.
The setting is a Dutch town of the XVII century. Its creators have reconstructed some scenes from original maps and using references from old paintings. Their idea was to create a 3D movie by the end of 2013 that would show the beauty of this city, but the arrival of the Oculus Rift DK1 made them rethink the project. Everything was built thinking of being pre-rendered, but if it had to be enjoyed in real time some changes had to be made.
The buildings had more than 50,000 vertices and, obviously, they were not designed to be rendered in Unity in real time, so they began little by little to reconstruct the entire scenario. The titanic task began in September 2013, and is now in its final phases. The scenes are very large, some with more than 100 buildings, almost all unique. So they have had to implement a complex LOD (level of detail) system to achieve a speed that works in virtual reality. And according to its creators, they have succeeded, since they get 150 FPS, enough to dedicate 75 to each eye, tested on an i7 4770 with a GTX 760.
When they started the reconstruction, they were clear that it was going to be a virtual reality experience, with what that entails: no flat objects or low-quality textures, everything has to have depth, you have to be able to explore all the buildings, look out of all the windows… and they claim that with the headtracking of the DK2 it is absolutely magical. Every time they immerse themselves in their project, they feel as if they have traveled back in time.
At the moment we have found this information in the Oculus forum, and it will be at the end of the year when we can enjoy it. How long the wait is going to be.