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Now You Can Be the Batsman with Happy Finish's Virtual Reality Cricket

Happy Finish, 2 years, 2 months ago

It's not quite like playing in the Ashes, but the Aussies may find it useful

Now You Can Be the Batsman with Happy Finish's Virtual Reality Cricket

Ever wondered what it’s like to receive a googly from a professional bowler? Happy Finish’s Cricket VR places you, the batsman, at the crease, at the heart of the action. Put on the Samsung Gear VR Headset and swing your motion-censored cricket bat. Will you be out for a duck or smashing a six?!

Shot at Bourne End Cricket Club in the middle of the Hertfordshire countryside, Happy Finish has just completed a first in interactive VR gaming. Virtual Reality Cricket!

Blending video footage with the interactivity of a game, users are invited to take part in a cricket match using a virtual reality headset and cricket bat.

As soon as you put on the headset you are transported onto the cricket pitch at Bourne End, experiencing the same views as the batsmen, bowler and fielders as if you were there in real life.

“We want you to think you are actually the batsman. You look up, you look down, look left and look right. You’re involved. You’re there!” says Graeme Robertson, who directed this virtual reality experience.

This is very different from your standard 2D approach to directing a video. That way of working doesn’t apply in 360. There is a whole range of different considerations in terms of production, camera work and narrative. With 360 everything is in shot, all the time. Where do the production crew stand? You generally have to hide behind trees or behind buildings!

Director Graeme Robertson makes a good point: “When you’re shooting a film you’re not only shooting one image or one frame and concentrating on that, you have to concentrate on 360 degrees at all times”.

Cricket VR was filmed using a selection of GoPro cameras secured in a 3D printed rig, which all worked in conjunction with one another alongside a head-mounted rig that that Happy Finish could actually walk around with in order to see things as they happened.

In addition to that, the company also used a drone to provide some 360-degree footage of the whole game from the air!

Sounds from the day were also added, including commentary to make the person experiencing Cricket VR feel very much as if they were in the English countryside taking part in a real cricket match.

The video was then placed on a virtual sphere in high resolution footage which is then continuously rendered around the user so that wherever they move their head the VR camera will replicate that same movement.

“The future of VR is going to be big. We have had virtual interactive video games before, but not in a 360 VR environment” adds Marco Weaver, Software Engineer at Happy Finish.

“When you try VR and realise how immersive it is then the possibilities for it are endless. We’re really in a situation that is perhaps as big as colour TV or the Internet. We’re in a new paradigm. It’s an exciting time to be involved in this and it’s exciting to see what everyone’s coming up with” – Stuart Waplington.

Category: Gaming , Sports and leisure

Genre: Apps , Creative technology , VR