Without stating the obvious, GE Subsea Experience might very well be the most visually impressive Oculus Rift experience to date.
However, at three minutes in length, it might also be one of the most shortest experiences to date. So what’s it about? Developed by Kite and Lighting, the same team who in 2014 released the staggering Senza Peso, GE Subsea Experience is an amazing trip to the base of an oil and gas rig in the middle of the ocean. Commissioned by General Electric to celebrate the launch of a brand new $5600 million facility in Rio, Brazil, it features some truly amazing visuals and audio to create one of the most impressive and immersive experiences I’ve had to date on the Oculus Rift.
The experience begins with the player sitting at the helm of an automated submersible craft. Through the damp cockpit window is a view of the underside of a vast oil and gas rig. The sea gently rolls post while to the right is a small concrete jetty. Look around the cockpit and you’ll notice some amazing details, including a virtual body that responds to your own movements, holographic screens and intricate piping that envelops the cabin. After pressing spacebar to start the experience, the screens come into life and a virtual voice begins to guide you through the experience.
Soon, the submersible craft begins to lower into the ocean. As it breaks through the ocean’s surface, the watery world below seamlessly comes into focus while thousands of tiny bubbles erupt past the window. It’s a technically amazing feat, with no jarring seam between the two environments so often seen in other water-based games. As the craft lowers deeper into the ocean, fish can been swimming alongside the bottom of the rig, while beautifully detailed holographic models explain statistics behind the oil field and rig. Soon, the craft reaches the seabed and you’ll watch a GE robotic rover perform tasks on the oil well in front of your craft, while distant holographic buildings lower into view. Not long after, the craft begins to raise back above the sea and the experience is over. It’s an incredibly brief demo, and one which left me desperate to see more.
Powered by the Unreal Engine 4, support for the Oculus Rift DK2 is surprisingly strong, with GE Subsea Experience booting automatically on the Rift headset and supporting both head and positional-tracking. The sense of scale and presense is also high, and it runs smoothly on our GeForce GTX 970-powered PC, although I wouldn’t be surprised if lower-spec PC’s struggle to render the sheer detail presented on-screen.
You can download GE Subsea Experience by visiting the link below. Available for Windows only, it’s a short but spectacular experience for those with a beefy PC to power it.