Videos show players playing demo that includes bazaar environment, combat.
IBM held a press event for its “Sword Art Online: The Beginning” virtual reality demonstration on Thursday. Japanese game news websites Inside Games and 4Gamer posted photos of the demonstration area, as well as the virtual reality demonstration itself. Inside Games posted two videos of the players playing the demonstration.
Those who participate in the demonstration will be able to scan their bodies, which will then be rendered as 3D avatars for the demonstration. Users are then able to manipulate their in-game avatar using a variety of hardware, including an Oculus Rift (Developer Kit 2) for head-tracking and VR visuals, Leap Motion and Ovrvision for hand manipulation, a Microsoft Kinect 2 for body movement, and special footwear to detect foot movement. The hardware is labeled “Nervegear Prototype.” “Nervegear” is the name of the virtual reality hardware used by the characters in the original Sword Art Online story to interact with the game.
The beginning of the demonstration places users in a “bazaar” environment, allowing them to test their ability to manipulate world objects. Later in the demonstration, users are able to fight The Gleam Eyes (from the 74th floor of the game in the original story), alongside three other users.
Pre-registration for the “Alpha” of the demonstration reached 99,800 people, although only 208 applicants were chosen. The test is taking place in Tokyo from March 18-20.
IBM Japan refers to the project as a “virtual reality massive multiplayer online game (VRMMO),” although it hasn’t laid out any plans to continue the project past the initial test, nor has it specified if the alpha test will be the the precursor to a larger VRMMO project.
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