This Virtual Reality Game Comes With Scientists’ Approval
Virtual reality experiences can provoke any number of emotional responses from the user depending on his predilections. If you use the VR headsets to experience the Tribeca Film Festival for example, some people have reported feeling a lot claustrophobic with the headset installation in your face and this experience is made even more so overwhelming with the camera crews and the booming soundtrack in the corner. Sometimes there’s the legitimate fear of getting sick from the experience.
Owen Harris who is a game designer and designed the concept for Deep VR is always delighted to see when a viewer stays longer n an experience than most others. “We want to help teach people these breathing techniques so that they can then manage these conditions outside of the game,” says Harris of Deep VR’s intended stress- and anxiety-reducing goal. “… This is a technology that exists within all of our bodies that costs no money [and] that we have all have access to.”
Deep VR’s therapeutic properties are no fluke. Harris had first developed the game as a concept for Oculus’ first development kit looking for a way out of depression and the personal and professional issues he was facing at the time. Back then Deep VR was merely a crude concept.
“When Oculus finally arrived, I was just really excited about building spaces to just be in,” says Harris. “Spaces that were just kind of outside of this world. So the first things that I was building were simply star fields and spacescapes to meditate in.” Soon enough, though, Harris realized he could build out the experience by incorporating deep breathing exercises.
Both Harris and Smit who are based out of Dublin and Ireland respectively, worked on this project. Deep VR’s evolution is mostly credit of Paulien Dresscher. It was after a meeting with this man that Harris had shown an early version of Deep VR that he was brought together with Smit and they both went on to make it happen. Harris’ early conversations with Smit helped build the concept of Deep VR into what it is today.
Deep VR is fast becoming more than just a calming escape for users, it is now being used to examine the anxiety level of kids.
If Harris and Smit are successful, the two are keen to unveil the game to Steam VR and other VR platforms sometime this year with all of the research backed modifications and improvements and it will hopefully have a meaningful impact on people’s lives.
“I think it’s great to just have a conversation around mental health and the struggles that we all have with that,” says Harris. “In my own country of Ireland, as well as all over the world, there’s massive problems with that and yet people are still embarrassed or shy to talk about their own struggles. Every week we get emails of people sharing their stories with us and how they’re excited about us being able to bring this game so that they can see if it has an impact on their life in the same way it’s had an impact on ours.”