Chernobyl VR Project Now On Vive Too, Updates Videos

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?

Chernobyl VR Project is £10.99/14,99€/$14.99 on Steam for Vive. It’s the same for Rift on the Oculus store.


  1. wykydtronik says:

    Am I missing out? I still don’t have a real reason to pick up VR. Although, touring Chernobyl in VR would be fun. I don’t think my roommates would enjoy me swinging Vive controllers at them.

    • Dinges says:

      It’s called Stalker though :)

      But yea, I guess there could be something of a market for VR walking sims in hazardzones, but they’d have to offer a lot more bang for buck.

  2. Monggerel says:

    Desolation Porn is just a particularly fetishistic subset of Misery Porn so this is morally objectionable to me.
    Now that never stopped me before, but the restrictive price of VR means I can skip this and feel vindicated.

    Make your beliefs pay your rents, gentlepeoples.

    • Blackcompany says:

      I dont see it a desolation. Or not just desolation anyway.

      I see it as Possibility. A radioactive waste unfit for human life…become a burgeoning wildlife refuge. Sure there are probably side effects of the radiation on the animals that live there. But the cats still play; the wolves still hunt. The deer still graze and the birds still fly. Its awfully Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park but its life…finding a way.

      Its also Wonder. Awe. The sheer…contrast…of expecting life in a place, and…finding none. It instills a sense of mystery. Of awe. Like being in a different world.

      Sure I am sorry about the terror the residents must have felt at the Meltdown. And their having to leave their homes, and losing their lives, all because of the negligence of another…strikes close to home, that. And its terrible.

      But in its wake is a mysterious anomaly. A place built for humans, not returned to nature and overrun by animal life in its least molested form. Perhaps anywhere in the world. Its awe inspiring to watch, in a way. And it gives me hope.

      Hope that maybe once we finally screw this all up for ourselves…something else will carry on in our stead. Something more balanced and perhaps kinder. Something undoubtedly more deserving.

    • Poet says:

      Ying and Yang my man, without one you cannot have the other. Personally I love the deserted megamall/abandoned theme park stuff I see, there is something very powerful there that makes me appreciate my life, just don’t ask me what that is.

    • bedel says:

      I was in Pripyat in June, the accident at Chernobyl was deeply interesting to me. Having grown up at the end of the cold war and watching the news about the accident, none of us really knew that this was the turning point that would really be the end of the soviet union and the eastern bloc.

      The scale of the reactors and size of the irradiated area impossible to understand though pictures and video. I imagine VR is going to do a much better job.

      The new sarcophagus is gigantic and I have to thank the countries and citizens of the EU for paying to build it. Ukraine certainly is no in a position to deal with this mess by itself today.

      What you feel is disaster porn, I think of as a historical site.