Striker VR used the opportunity of GDC 2017 to showcase its high-end virtual reality rifle and tease the next generation of mixed reality gun accessories.
Striker VR is a startup of dedicated VR hardware developers. Its product is a realistic-feeling rifle capable of syncing with VR experiences and creating a deeper layer of immersion for gun-based games. Inside the Striker VR rifle is a battery, wireless electronics and a haptic motor. This motor is what delivers the kick you feel every time you pull the trigger.
I tried the show floor model of the Striker at GDC and I can say definitively that it is the most realistic VR gun peripheral I’ve ever experienced. The recoil on the rifle is strong enough to feel almost uncomfortable, which is exactly what you would want in a firearm facsimile.
On top of the push back, the rifle’s weight is also a source of added realism. This thing is so heavy that you’ll feel the strain in your shoulders after just a few shots. This could provide some interesting VR fitness applications for the Striker while also making the fake weapon feel more like the genuine article.
During my demo I was strapped into a wireless VR backpack and given a Striker VR Rifle and an Oculus Rift headset. The Optitrack large-scale positional tracking system provided enough positional horsepower to turn 50 square feet of show floor space into a wide-open digital playground. According to Striker VR, it has forged something of a partnership with Optitrack.
Inside the headset I saw a basic white expanse full of multicolored balloons. Without any prompting necessary I opened fire on these innocent plastic spheres and, to my delight, I discovered that my weapon had not one but three different modes of fire. The first was a basic semi automatic rifle burst, the second was a grenade launcher, and the third was a Gears of War style chainsaw blade. Each of these was given its own sense of haptic identity by the motor. The grenade kicked the hardest, the chainsaw rumbled consistently, etc.
According to company reps in the booth, Striker is currently exploring a number of options including acquiring Vive Trackers, working with Vive arcade owners, and beginning pre-orders for their new, market-ready design.
This new model will have the battery in the back, to balance the weight better, and will also feature a more powerful haptic motor and sleeker overall design. Pre-orders for the updated rifle will soon be made available to “location-based” customers only, according to the company.
This means that the hardware is being sold in batches to arcades and larger venues. A commercial version is not yet on the horizon but, according to the company, it is something that may become available in the future.