Possible Futures: Dota 2’s VR Spectator Mode

After a few weeks with the Vive, I’m increasingly concerned that VR isn’t yet ready to support full-fat games; smaller-but-broader experiences yes, but a combination of resolution and performance woes hamstrings big huge things. Those concerns are lessened when it comes to watching stuff though. It’s great for that. Makes a good movie-viewer, does a VR headset, and stuff like TheBlu, wherein you’re a wandering spectator in a wonderland, remains glorious. And so this glimpse of a proposed VR spectator mode for Dota 2 [official site] has me nodding enthusiastically. Yes, this stuff will work. Interactive watching might just be the more likely near-future of this stuff.

The Dota 2 stuff arrives towards the end of the chest-thumping Vive video below*. It’s not just watching the game: it’s controlling how you watch, it’s being inside the world of the game as you do, and it’s going to places that TV sports presentation cannot.


No details on when it will happen, but given how big the Vive push is right now, hopefully it won’t be long.

*I haven’t had a lot of luck with the Desktop Theater mode that is the video’s main focus yet, but I’ll check in again soon to see how updates have helped


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    It's not me it's you says:

    That looks properly amazing. I really hope they’ve got that working before the International – I’d love to watch the tourney in VR, with the map in front of me like that!

  2. hollowroom says:

    I’d quite like to VR an online FPS battle – like the old spectator mode in BF2. That would be a good laugh.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      Ooh.. being able to zoom about the place, slow down the pace or rewind good bits.. could be good!

  3. Reapy says:

    That just blew my FUCKING MIND. I don’t know why I didn’t think about this at all. I mean you could build that space to watch things now but on a monitor it would suck, but in VR they can display so much more information in so many god damn ways, they basically control your living room.

    I mean damn people are excited to have ambient lights behind their tv/monitor to light a scene, imagine when your whole room blows right the fuck up instead.

    Jump right off dota and start thinking about how many info streams could be visualized in 3d with all the space around you as a canvas.

    Watch a regular sport with that kind of panoramic overview, then have your fantasy stats on the side, maybe even a mini field in front of you where your fantasy guys are playing out the game in parallel to the points they earn.

    What about watching a movie where if a character dies off they somberly walk into the room and quietly sit down and continue watching the episode.

    With VR it is suddenly okay to build stuff like this where the monitor is just one part of the experience. Man, I can’t wait for 10 years from now.

  4. GiantPotato says:

    I just realized how much I want to play a 4x game where I can stand in the middle of my domain and pick up the armies I want to move.

  5. Razumen says:

    I don’t get it, you’re still just watching the game on a 2D screen in VR, I was thinking it would be more like you’re actually hovering over top of the game world, ala Airmech. This is just kinda meh.

    • Cerzi says:

      I’m hoping that will come in time, but it’s far more of a technological challenge (AirMech was built for VR, dota2 – even with its recently updated engine – wasn’t). It’s a nice starting point that shows off one of the lesser-known applications of VR.

      It’s also more suited to a passive experience than what you’re talking about. If you just wanted to sit in a chair with a beer or whatever, having a 2D screen (or potentially 3D screen) is better than crawling around on the floor watching all the action from your own vantage point.