INT Tech’s Prototype 2228ppi Display Banishes the Screen Door Effect

One aspect of virtual reality (VR) that all users need to endure currently is the screen door effect. You may not notice it in the heat of a Beat Saber track, but on a slower, brighter experience the issue can become more noticeable. The effect comes from the screens inside the headset being so close to your eyes that you can see the gaps in between the pixels. The only way to combat this effectively is by upping the resolution, and Taiwanese R&D company INT Tech recently showcased a new prototype display that could easily banish the problem.

INT Tech - pixels

During CES 2019 INT Tech demoed its latest 2,228 ppi display, massively increasing image sharpness whilst removing any visible screen door effect. In the image above you can see the display captured through a microscope. To give you an idea of how this compares to the current crop of VR headsets, the HTC Vive Pro has a 615 ppi, the HTC Vive has 448 ppi, the  Oculus Rift has 461 ppi, while the PlayStation VR comes in at 386 ppi.

The company’s technology isn’t purely focused on improving pixel density, as INT Tech’s display is glass-based rather than silicon-based OLED’s. This approach has two benefits, in that glass-based display’s can be made much bigger and therefore provide a wider field-of-view (FoV) than their silicon cousins, plus the cost is lower claims INT Tech.

Having a screen that packed in 2,228 ppi would provide a visual effect in VR that VRFocus would image is akin to watching proper 4K content on a 4K TV, utterly gorgeous to look at. It would also make experiences even more immersive and lifelike – 360 video content would have a greater feeling of presence.

Oculus Quest - Back

To explain more about what INT Tech are up to, VRFocus spoke with founder, Chairman and CEO David K.T. Chu regarding the advancements the company was making, not just for VR and augmented reality (AR) but for screen technology as a whole and its plans for the future – spoiler, he does mention a 3000 ppi display that they are working on. For continued updates on the latest technological advancements in VR and AR, keep reading VRFocus.

Hands-on: Vive Focus 6DOF Controllers ‘Chirp’ & ‘FinchShift’ Tested Back-to-Back

Vive Wave is HTC’s open platform that offers interoperability between several classes of mobile VR headsets and accessories, something the company hopes will help unite a fragmented market. Although with greater choice in VR accessories comes the task of understanding the key differences between them. Enter FinchShift and Chirp, two different solutions to the same problem: bringing 6DOF controllers to Vive Focus.

As early entrants into the 6DOF standalone headset segment, both Lenovo Mirage Solo and HTC Vive Focus come with a single 3DOF controller in the box, making for a notable mismatch in how you move your head in room-scale space and how you move your controller (rotation only).

At CES last month, I got a chance to try out both of the officially supported 6DOF controllers for Vive Focus back-to-back, FinchShift from Finch Technologies and Chirp from TDK’s Chirp Microsystems.

Both controllers offer what you might call ‘casual-level’ input—neither match the precision of what we’ve come to expect from the current bar set by Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Admittedly, it’s a very different playing field though, with power consumption at the top of the list, which is driving these companies to stay well away from Vive Focus’ optical tracking standard in pursuit of two approaches that are both basestation-free and light on computational & power requirements.

Chirp – Ultrasonics Showing Promise

The Chirp controllers are based on the company’s SonicTrack tech, which fuses ultrasonic and IMU sensor data to provide position and orientation tracking, giving the motion controllers a suitably wide tracking volume.

The company maintains its 180+ degree tracking volume extends to a maximum of 1.2 meters away (~4 feet), or well outside the average arm’s length of reach.

The system is essentially composed of two main parts, the faceplate receiver/emitter which plugs into Vive Focus’ USB port, and the controllers; both the controllers and faceplate house an array of the company’s CH-101 ultrasonic emitters.

Image captured by Road to VR

Calibration A pairing process was done beforehand by a TDK spokesperson, so I didn’t have a chance to find out what exactly needs to be done to get it ready (see update below). It was quick enough though, and was easily passed off to me for a hitch-free start that appeared to line up with my hands’ actual position.

The size of the tracking cone is difficult to substantiate in a single-player game where you can’t see what it looks like when you do inevitably lose positional tracking by putting your hands behind your back or covering up the emitters, although it’s clearly outside of the user’s in-game field of view by a large enough margin to not be noticeable.

Image captured by Road to VR

To that effect, I was actually able to shoot a gun from the hip when looking straight forward, showing that it’s large enough to accommodate holstering actions at the very least. The true test of the controller’s tracking volume invariably will come in social VR environments that use inverse kinematics (IK) to create full-bodied avatars so you can directly see when your controller leaves the positional tracking cone.

As noisy and chaotic as the show floor was, I was told there wasn’t really anything there that would throw off the controller’s tracking, as the company’s ultrasonic time-of-flight tech works well above even what even a dog can hear.

Image captured by Road to VR

It’s easy to see why HTC tapped Chirp as for its official HTC Vive 6DOF developer kit: it works reasonably well, is low enough latency for casual applications, and has pretty solid positional tracking, something I wasn’t able to break after spending a good amount of time in both a shooting and a sword fighting game. Jitter was more than what I’ve seen on Windows VR headsets, but much less than when I first saw Chirp when it was integrated into Pico Neo at CES a year ago.

That said, I was never thrown into something I play often like Beat Saber (2018) to really get a feel for the controller’s tracking latency, so just how it stands up to even PS Move or Windows VR headsets remains to be seen.

FinchShift – Full FOV, But Lacking Precision

FinchShift is slated to be sold by HTC soon as a part of an official 6DOF controller developer kit option, and has been certified by Qualcomm to work with their Snapdragon 845 VR Reference Design as well.

Like Chirp, FinchShift offers a basestation-less experience and 6DOF controller tracking, but that’s where the comparisons stop. As an IMU-based system that uses IK to approximate relative arm and hand position, FinchShift enjoys the ability to function with full 360 degree tracking—no faceplate required thanks to Bluetooth 4.2 wireless that sends data directly to the headset.

Image courtesy Finch Technologies

In fact, it’s such a low-power solution that Finch Technologies is promising upwards of 50+ hours of active operation time for the 100g (~3.5 oz) controllers.

The system includes two controllers and two armbands, the latter of which provides more tracking points so the IK system can do its job in estimating where your hands are in 3D space. Without the armbands, you’re left with a 3DOF controller which can be used for the same basic input as the one that comes stock with Vive Focus.

Image courtesy Finch Technologies

After a short chat about the company’s tech, I got a chance to try it for myself, strapping on the armbands and popping on the Vive Focus. Since calibration must be done on a person-to-person basis, I had to go through a brief set-up process which used Vive Focus’ on-board cameras to give me a visual guide so I could line my controllers up in the appropriate starting position. After trying several times to calibrate (more of the fault of the button mapping than the system itself), I was free to dive into my first VR app.

Note: FinchShift controllers feature white visual LED markers on the controllers, although these are only used to visually line up for initial calibration, and are not used for optical tracking on Vive Focus.

Image courtesy Finch Technologies

I was thrown into a drawing application similar to TiltBrush which gave me a good opportunity to see just how precise tracking was. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to draw so much as a straight line, as considerable jitter and drifting prevented the controllers from matching my hands’ physical position.

The simple action of moving one hand from left to right and drawing a horizontal line resulted in a bumpy, jagged line. I repeated this process several times from several different angles, tracing my own arm at its side as a stable point, and putting my hands by my sides and raising them in attempt to draw a straight vertical line—simple stuff—but it always seemed the controllers were constantly doing their own thing.

Foldaway Haptics is Making a Thumbstick for VR Controllers That Pushes Back

After noticing this, I asked to re-calibrate, but after going through the process again, I was left with the same result as before.

Moving on to a sword-wielding game similar to Fruit Ninja VR, it became clear to me that 1:1 precision was the definite weak point of FinchShift, just as it is in practically all of the controllers or motion capture suits that use IMU-based tracking and IK to approximate absolute position. Slicing the jumping enemies was easy because I was making quick, broad strokes that required much less precision.

What’s Next?

To be clear, Vive Focus is in a pretty strange middle ground. In China it’s sold as a consumer headset. Everywhere else it’s sold for enterprise users, although HTC isn’t stopping regular consumers from buying the $600 headset.

Now that HTC and Google are offering additional 6DOF controller options for their respective standalone headsets, my sneaking suspicion is the companies are playing a game of catch-up with content developers in the face of Oculus Quest looming in the near future, which promises 6DOF headset tracking and 6DOF motion controllers that work extremely well in our various demos with the device.

Further speculation: both Google and HTC are likely developing full 6DOF standalone headsets. Following a less than impressive launch of Lenovo Mirage Solo and Vive Focus, they’re taking the Frankenstein approach with these developer kit add-ons and using them as defacto 6DOF developer platforms. If my assumption is right, both companies need developers to start either adapting older VR apps, or building full 6DOF VR applications from the ground-up soon, otherwise both platforms could miss out on a glut of content suited to full room-scale interactions.

Again, neither company has announced definite plans to create respective devices capable of competing with Oculus Quest, although you can bet we’ll right there when they do.

Update (12:40 PM ET): Antony Vitillo of  VR/AR publication Skarred Ghost posted a helpful setup guide for the Chirp developer kit. According to Vitillo, what I saw at the booth was a simple pairing process, and not a bespoke calibration process. This has been corrected in the body of the article.

The post Hands-on: Vive Focus 6DOF Controllers ‘Chirp’ & ‘FinchShift’ Tested Back-to-Back appeared first on Road to VR.

Walking the Walk With LBE VR Specialist PlatformaVR

Virtual reality (VR) gaming at home is great fun, but there is something even more uniquely special when you take the online multiplayer element and bring it all into one physical spot, and that’s location-based entertainment (LBE). VRFocus has already waxed lyrical about content providers like The VOID, Zero Latency, and Sandbox VR, however, there are many more looking to make their mark in the industry, one of which is PlatformaVR.


Hailing from Russia, PlatformaVR opened its first location back in 2017, in the capital city of Moscow. Three more locations in the city followed, and then the company set its sights on expanding globally. This month to coincide with CES 2019 PlatformaVR opened its first location in Nevada, inside Bally’s Las Vegas. Which is where VRFocus caught up with CEO and co-founder of PlatformaVR, Ilya Kuzyuk.

Like the other LBE companies previously mentioned, PlatformaVR doesn’t use standard VR titles developed for home use and then ported to free-roaming arenas. The team has developed its own in-house videogames for guests to experience, meaning they can offer something unique that you can’t get anywhere else. Currently, PlatformaVR offers three titles; The Arrival – a saga of space voyagers at an abandoned futuristic station, The Poisoner – a detective story of two police officers investigating a series of mysterious murders, and MATCH – a high-adrenaline combat player-vs-player experience, with a fourth on the way.

PlatformaVR’s setup uses out-the-box hardware, using HTC Vive Pro headsets, Vive Trackers for full-body tracking, and an HP VR Backpack. Where it does differ from rivals like The VOID is gameplay time. When testing The VOID’s experiences like Ralph Breaks VRthey tend to be fairly short but sweet, around 10 – 15 mins in length. PlatformaVR, on the other hand, will keep you in VR for around an hour.


Chating to Kuzyuk, the CEO discussed how PlatformaVR came about and its plans for the future, namely looking at opening more flagship locations not only in the US but also Europe eventually as the market hopefully continues to grow. Check out the interview below, and for further coverage of PlatformaVR in the future, keep reading VRFocus.

Do Away With Boring PowerPoint Presentations Thanks to VRtuoso

It’s the bane of every office workers existence, and while useful to get information across to other workers, the dreaded PowerPoint presentation has for many a year been a boring fact of life. Which is why British company VRtuoso created its own virtual reality (VR) content system to make presentations far more engaging, and then took it to CES 2019 to demonstrate the product. Which is where VRFocus caught up with CEO and founder Francesco Furnari to learn more.


Displayed on the Pico stand using the manufacturer’s new Pico G2 4K headset, VRtuoso’s system uses a combination of both software and hardware solutions, with the black box (seen below) being the core, where VR devices connect to to view a presentation.

The software allows the presenter to create an immersive presentation using both 360-degree and 2D content, like video, images, text, shapes and polls. Essentially, VRtuoso wants to become the PowerPoint of VR, just able to build a far more visually interesting solution that can grab users attention.

Having launched in Europe last year, VRtuoso has already managed to garner interest from several big Fortune 500 companies such as American Express, BT Group, PwC and BP. BT was that impressed that it has begun re-selling VRtuoso to business customers.

“VRtuoso hits the sweet spot for businesses thinking about using VR for immersive learning because it is so easy to use,” BT’s SVP of external innovation Jean-Marc Frangos has said in a statement. “It democratizes VR for learners and teachers alike. For example, great user-generated content can be repackaged and reused meaning reduced costs.”




In the video below, Furnari goes into greater detail regarding how the system works and what businesses can expect to pay for a VRtuoso system, the price increases depending on how many headsets they’d like to connect.

“Companies no longer need to engage a digital agency to create VR apps for daily use, such as in L&D and sales,” Furnari has previously commented. “We have commoditized VR production and usage meaning enterprises can now embed VR in all facets of their business, while saving them money. VRtuoso is the true turnkey Virtual Reality learning product.”

As VRtuoso continues to expand its business portfolio VRFocus will keep you up to date.

Hands-on With Pico G2 4K: Looking Prettier Than Ever

The consumer virtual reality (VR) space is going to have changed a great deal by the end of 2019, mainly due to the addition of standalone head-mounted displays (HMD). Oculus Quest is gathering the most interest it seems, with HTC Vive Focus still due a western release – and Vive Cosmos can sort of be included – plus there’s Chinese standalone specialist Pico with its newest device, the G2 4K, which the company had on show during CES 2019.

If you’ve not heard of Pico before, the company has always made standalone HMDs, such as the Pico Neo and Pico Goblin. It was during 2018 the Pico launched the G2 range, a device which uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 XR platform, dual LDC screens and a 101° field-of-view. However, the market is asking for more, with the likes of HTC Vive Pro and Pimax going down the route of improving resolution, reducing the screendoor effect that plagues some headsets. With TV manufacturers pushing the 4K standard across their ranges for a number of years now, Pico has followed suit with the new headset, designed more towards enterprise than consumer markets.

When it comes to first impressions, the Pico G2 4K isn’t really that dissimilar to the rest of the company’s headset range, with a fairly generic design to the facial unit and quick release fabric straps either side and on top. What is noticeable before putting the headset on is the lump of plastic that goes at the back of your head. This is the battery, placed there to help evenly distribute weight better. And does it? It certainly seemed so, with less weight on the front there didn’t seem to be as much pressure on the bridge of my nose, perfect for longer VR sessions, whether that’s watching a movie or engaging in a conference call.

As for the main event, what was shown did look stunning on the new 4K screens. As you’d hope to expect the clarity was pin sharp, with no discernible screendoor effect. The demo was limited to viewing very high quality close up images of bugs, being able to pick out individual hairs and spikes on their spindly legs. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, the level of clarity and richness of colour almost made it look as if you were staring at museum exhibits.

PicoDefinitely ticking the boxes when it came to displaying the punchy wow factor of the 4K screens, it would have been nice to have seen a little more. A 360-degree video, for example, to look at how the screens handle movement and possibly content from a lower resolution source. Even so, I think this is the right direction for Pico to head in, headsets do need greater resolution and to do away with screendoor once and for all.

Even though this is Pico’s top end headset, when it comes to standalone rivals, it’s more of an Oculus Go upgrade than a direct rival to Oculus Quest or Vive Focus. This is primarily due to the inside-out tracking the two headsets boast, giving rise to greater freedom in VR thanks to roomscale and 6DoF controllers. As such Pico G2 4K is far more suited to institutions which are looking to showcase immersive content, and want a headset with as higher resolution as possible in a convenient form factor, which the Pico G2 4K does very nicely.

No Hands Needed: Going ‘Foot’-on with 3dRudder’s PlayStation VR Compatible Controller

Locomotion in virtual reality (VR) has been (and still is) a highly debated topic depending on your viewpoint and comfort level in VR. And it’s all to do with immersion, whether certain movement options should always be included, and in particular direct locomotion. This is the ability to freely wander around as you would do in a standard non-VR title, yet in VR this can cause issues for some players. To help with this issue, French company 3dRudder created a foot controller back in 2016 for PC users, and will soon be releasing a version for PlayStation VR which VRFocus got to try during CES 2019.

3drudderWhat’s a ‘foot controller?’

3dRudder realised that while VR players had motion controllers or gamepads in their hands their feet were relatively stationary. This certainly doesn’t help when walking in VR and your brain isn’t receiving any signals from your feet. This also happened to be in an era when a lot of VR experiences were seated, making the idea of an input method foot controlled a logical idea.

With a flat top for your feet and a curved bottom, 3dRudder can perform any number of actions including forward/backward motion, strafing left and right as well as turning on the spot. If you’ve ever used sports equipment like a snowboard, surfboard or skateboard, for example, some of the actions will feel very natural and familiar.

Why PlayStation VR?

3dRudder is a foot controller that’s purely designed to be used seated – don’t stand on it! More and more Oculus Rift and HTC Vive videogames are tending to veer towards roomscale – where you can stand and walk around a small area – removing the viability of 3dRudder. PlayStation VR, on the other hand, tends to offer many more seated experiences thanks to its single camera system, either with PlayStation Move or the DualShock 4 controller.

Not only is PlayStation VR a much more natural fit for 3dRudder nowadays, but the console-based headset also has a significant user base that’s over 3 million, making it commercially important for any VR peripheral manufacturer.

3drudderWhat’s 3dRudder like to use for PlayStation VR?

The controller has been slightly modified since the original, with the upcoming launch on PlayStation VR helping to showcase the design changes. While the internals remain the same with wired plug’n’play connectivity, on the top section you’ll notice two additional fins. Located on the inside of each foot next to the big toe, they are there to aid twisting whilst keeping your feet in place. The top of the controller does have a rubber grip area, but if you’re not pushing down firmly enough this doesn’t always work. Having the additional fins certainly seemed to help when frantically moving around playing The Wizards: Enhanced Edition, turning and strafing together or in quick succession.

Even on a more casual title like Ultrawings, gently flying a plane through a succession of rings, when any tight turns were required 3dRudder had no issue and feet weren’t suddenly in the wrong place.

The only thing you really need to watch when using 3dRudder is what you’re sitting on. Now this will be slightly different for everyone, but on a super comfy sofa – or one that’s fairly low – 3dRudder seemed harder to use with the range of motion somewhat restricted. On a higher office or gaming chair, this didn’t cause as much of an issue.

Does it suit PlayStation VR?

PlayStation VR and 3dRudder look to be a much better combination when compared against PC VR headsets. This is especially so when considering PlayStation Move. Unlike Oculus Touch or HTC Vive controllers, PlayStation’s motion controllers can only activate teleportation mechanics as they lack, thumb stick or touchpad inputs.

With 3dRudder PlayStation VR players will soon be able to let their hands do the interacting whilst their feet do actually do the walking, improving immersion massively. Sure it’s a $119 USD accessory, but 3dRudder maybe the closest this current generation of headsets comes to roomscale VR.

Finch Technologies Interview: Bringing 6DoF Control to Everyone

Over the course of CES 2019 VRFocus saw some interesting and awesome technology for both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) use. One company demonstrating a rather unique controller system was Finch Technologies, with its FinchShift controllers and FinchTrackers. So naturally, VRFocus had to sit down with CEO and Co-founder of the company Gary Yamamoto to find out more.


The whole purpose of FinchShift is to bring six degrees-of-freedom control (6DoF) to a wide variety of platforms, not just VR. The system has been designed to allow pure 360-degree, room-scale freedom with just a pair of controllers and a pair of armband mounted FinchTrackers, whether you’re using a basic Samsung Gear VR or headset slightly more high tech like HTC Vive Focus.

In VRFocus’ hands-on preview from last week we wrote: “From what VRFocus saw of FinchShift and the FinchTrackers, it looks to be one of the best systems yet to provide out-of-the-box room-scale control for a wide variety of VR and non-VR systems.”

Yamamoto explains that thanks to a combination of the FinchShift hardware and software the company developed, its able to accurately model a person’s entire upper body, to track it real-time in VR, all from four data points. In the future Finch Technologies plans to release a skeletal model for the lower body, all users would need are additional Finch Trackers.


He goes on to explain the different use cases wireless 6DoF controllers are suitable for, mentioning, in particular, the healthcare space for training purposes. This is one of the reasons why the FinchShift controllers have those additional lights on them, allowing headsets with cameras to perform even finer calibrations when setting up, for such tasks as simulating surgery.

Currently, the FinchShift controllers aren’t quite ready for widespread consumer rollout. You can order them from the Finch Technologies website for $249 – which includes the two FinchShift controllers and two FinchTrackers – but they’re more geared towards developer at the moment as the system does come supplied with the software development kit (SDK).

Check out the full interview with Yamamoto below, and for further updates on FinchShift, keep reading VRFocus.

AntiLatency Could Offer the Unrestricted VR Freedom You’ve Been Looking for

There are quite a few companies working on the issue of tracking users whilst they’re in virtual reality (VR). These range from already available systems for both consumer and enterprise use, like those found on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, as well as newer inside-out tracking on upcoming devices such as Oculus Quest. During CES 2019 Russian company AntiLatency showcased its take on the industry, demoing a tracking solution that was modular. To find out more VRFocus spoke with CEO and co-founder Andrey Desyatov.


The AntiLatency positional tracking system uses a small swappable tracking device called ALT, which attaches to headsets, arms, hands, peripherals, basically anything that you might want tracked in conjunction with active infrared markers placed on reference points to create an IR pattern. In comparison, the HTC Vive Tracker is much larger, heavier, but doesn’t need the markers due to the external lighthouse sensors – it’s not as easily scalable as AntiLatency.

Designed to be used with mobile headsets like Oculus Go – which it was being demoed with – the ALT module weighs in at only 12 g, has a 2ms latency, takes 2000 positional measurements per second, has a 240-degree field of view (FoV), is completely wireless and has a max tracking area of 10,000 m2.

It’ll also support multiplayer, with no actual limit any number of users can employ the system in the same environment, each using different headsets if they so choose.




In the interview, Desyatov goes into more detail regarding AntiLatency’s features, revealing it can also be used for augmented reality (AR). By attaching the module to a device like a tablet, users without a VR headset can view and walk around the digital environment.

Having been founded in 2016, AntiLatency first won an international startup grand-prix hosted by GoTech that same year, going on to raise $2.1 million USD of investment in 2017. ALT is already available to pre-order, with the module retailing for $100 each, whilst the IR floor is $25 per square meter. Shipments will then begin in March 2019.

VRFocus will continue with its coverage of AntiLatency as its tracking system begins to find its way to market. For further CES 2019 interviews, keep reading VRFocus.

AR Startup AstroReality Discuss Merging the Physical and the Digital

During CES 2019 earlier this month, featuring quite the collection of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technology, VRFocus spoke with AR startup AstroReality about the last 12 months since we last met the company.

AstroReality - Mars ProFor the tech show, AstroReality had three announcements to make. The first was for EARTH, a highly detailed model of our planet which can then be brought to life via the company’s AR app and saw a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2018. With voice functionality, users can ask questions to learn about the planet. Users will also find that the interactive experience covers various topics, from basic geographic information such as landmarks, latitude and longitude, time zones, and regions, to being able to see the Earth via heatmaps, cloud atlases, point maps, texture maps, and more.

Following the initial success of EARTH AstroReality will be making a MARS Pro version which is due for release during 2019. This will have similar features to the EARTH model, with a highly detailed physical model, and plenty of interactive elements showcasing well-known missions to Mars.

The other product AstroReality had on show was something slightly different, an AR mug. Called the AstroReality Space Mug (A.S.M.), the company states that it isn’t a coffee cup, rather a new way to enjoy breathtaking views from 120km above the earth with curated images from NASA and USGS.

“The Space Mug is not only ground-breaking Augmented Reality technology but the perfect addition to any and every tech-savvy futurist’s morning. This all-new interactive experience brought out by the AstroReality app will blow people’s mind,” said – Joanne Dai, Co-founder of AstroReality.

AstroReality - Space Mug

VRFocus caught up with Dai to find out more about these new announcements and how AstroReality was pushing the forefront of education via its AR technology. That’s not all, as we also managed to nab an interview with AstroReality’s new  Science Advisor Dr. J.R. Skok, whose job it is to find all the relevant information that goes into the app for users to read and learn.

Check out both interviews below to find out more about AstroReality and what the company is up to. When Mars Pro and A.S.M. become available VRFocus will let you know.

Hands-on: The VOID Goes all Creepy With Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment

VRFocus loves a good virtual reality (VR) scare, it’s almost as if the technology was purposefully designed for horror videogames, immersing players in dark, dank locations, with ghastly creatures seemingly hiding in every shadowy corner. So when The VOID invited the team to play one of its latest experiences, Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment, in Las Vegas during CES 2019, we naturally jumped at the chance to test this new horror title.

Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment spoilers ahead

Having already tried the delightfully cute and colourful Ralph Breaks VR earlier in the week, flinging pancakes and ice creams at cats and bunnies, Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment offered an entirely different experience, one definitely not designed for all ages.

Just as before the same process applied to getting ready – by now VRFocus was well versed in getting strapped into the gear – with staff giving each of us the option to pick from one of six character cards, which would be our avatar in the videogame – I chose ‘The Magician’ who had a rather awesome moustache and top hat.

Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment is a dark tale set in Chicago during the 19th Century, with the city holding a massive exposition. However, during the event one of the attractions malfunctions and takes a dark turn, releasing evil into the world. People start to go missing so the entire area is closed down. Fast forward to present day and VRFocus seems to be in a team being sent back in time to investigate what happened and hopefully gain some answers.

Up to four players can be part of the experience – there were three of us so it still worked – with Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment instantly splitting the group in half. Our colleague Kevin then went off by himself while I and video producer Nina wandered through the videogame together. Straight away Nicodemus presents an experience with a lot more atmosphere than Ralph Breaks VR, with Ninja Theory creating a richly detailed environment that you want to (hesitantly) explore.

NicodemusThere were no guns this time around, instead, there were a series of rooms with puzzles to solve. Pleasantly surprising was the interactivity of the puzzles, fuses needed to be changed in a machine which you could physically pick up and place, or massive wheels on valves which had to be turned precisely in order to get the correct alignment. Just like all The VOID experiences, this is a linear set by step process, and to keep things flowing even if you don’t solve the puzzle the way will eventually open up.

If you don’t like horror titles – especially ones with jump scares – then Nicodemus isn’t for you. The entire experience is full of little jump scares, look into a mirror and suddenly there’s a creature looking back, a small puppet suddenly starts sprouting maggots from its eyes and mouth, or the main creature itself starts clawing at you through metal elevator railings. If there were any criticisms to be had then it comes down to two things; the scare factor starts to wane towards the end as the jump scares become more apparent, and even with effects like spatial sound there were times when the both of us felt we’d missed something – Nina, for example, didn’t see the mirror scare.

As per usual it all feels like it’s over way too quickly. Yet Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment has a unique card to play, a secondary ending. Like most experiences with multiple endings the trick isn’t playing the game over and over, but performing a certain set of specific tasks. Now VRFocus didn’t go through a second time to try this, but here’s a hint; on The VOID’s website is the full PDF story to read, make sure you do before playing.

Once again The VOID has created a VR experience that’s difficult not to recommend. It certainly doesn’t feature the classic first-person shooter (FPS) action of Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire or Ralph Breaks VR but we don’t mind as it offers something different. Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment offers the richest narrative yet for fans of The VOID, and the best reason for a second playthrough.