This dragon slaying VR demo could prepare workers for dangerous jobs

SXSW: Chaotic Moon's SlayTime game is designed to be used as a training sim
Dragon slaying VR demo preps you for danger

I'm constructing a medieval mounted crossbow of sorts from scraps around me and I keep forgetting to duck and dodge the dragon fire heading my way. As I grab the various parts needed to assemble my weapon, in the correct order, before grabbing a bow from the inside of a nearby barrel, I'm getting pretty stressed out. Never mind the backstory about protecting a king, I don't want to get got again.

I'm playing SlayTime, a slick and SXSW-friendly VR puzzle game demo from Chaotic Moon's R&D labs. It's fun and reminds me of Valve's Portal-inspired Aperture Science demo - this too uses the HTC Vive and its controllers with the simple motion of holding down the trigger used to pick up and move objects.

Read this: Inside Chaotic Moon's visions of invisible UI in wearable tech

But it's not just a dragon slaying game that the team whipped up in two months, it's designed to showcase the kind of training simulations that businesses could use to make their workers feel like they're really in a high pressure or dangerous situation. In the final apps, users might not be facing a dragon but they might have to complete an assembly line task very fast or stay safe on an oil rig.

The Austin based design and development studio has been working in VR for around three years and with SlayTime wants to provide an early example of how workers in high stress or high risk jobs could train in stressful conditions thanks to virtual reality. The weapon assembling in the game is a linear task which has to be completed quickly and in the correct order.

"You're under pressure and stress, that does different things to the brain," Jonathan Price, a 3D artist at Chaotic Moon, told us. "And because you're doing it in this VR environment, it makes those neural connections that you can't get from watching a video or reading a manual. It's also cheaper and safer than trying to do it on the job."

The team is also experimenting in mixed reality applications, less for training and more for augmenting the space around where people work with data visualisations and connections to co-workers.

It's worth remembering that while we might be bickering around the prices of the Rift, Vive and PlayStation VR, big companies are used to spending thousands of dollars on simulation hardware and training days. So the three main VR headsets for 2016 must look like bargains to some eyes.


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