Alec wasn’t entirely happy when we duct-taped him to a chair, bolted his Rift goggs to his skull and jacked him into a tour of Chernobyl and Pripyat with Chernobyl VR Project [official site]. He liked seeing inside that irradiated corner of Ukraine – known to Those Young People as the setting for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games – but technically it’s messy. It’s split between photogrammetry-scanned environments and plain old 360-degree video, see, coming out a bit disjointed. Well! Today brings the release of a Vive edition, along with an update adding more content and improving those videos.
As a refresher, here’s what Alec concluded about the early version he played on the Rift earlier this year:
“The Chernobyl VR Project is meaty and ambitious, and definitely sets a precedent for this sort of thing: armchair tourism taken to a whole new level, and especially valuable when it works hard, as this does, to educate as well as stimulate. The technical compromises are so great as to make its sad magic splutter frequently, although it might yet to be the case that the finished and also Vive-compatible version can amp things up a little. Even if it doesn’t, the £10.99 price is very much right for what this is, and despite the stuttering presentation this is a hugely worthwhile experience.”
The low quality of the 360 video was one of his main complaints, and that’s one thing this new update addresses. Here’s official word on what it brings:
“This updated edition of Chernobyl VR Project for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift includes a wealth of new and updated content, including higher quality 360 movies, new narrations and interviews, and more realistic environments including better sounds and glass. Chernobyl VR Project on HTC Vive also includes Steam Controller support and optimizations for increased player comfort.”
I don’t know how much higher the video quality is, mind. Probably don’t expect massive changes?