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Regina company releases virtual reality hockey video game

A Regina firm has created a brand new digital actuality hockey recreation the place gamers can used an actual hockey stick as a controller.

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Hockey video video games have been round for many years, however a Regina firm has made one the place your controller is a real-life hockey stick.

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Rene Dufour-Contreras, a designer and fabricator at Melcher Studios, mentioned when hockey gamers get their palms on Hockey VR, they’re “awestruck.”

“There’s already the fascinating facet of being in VR that lots of people aren’t used to, however then the added further of you’re holding an precise hockey stick. You will get actually misplaced in it and yeah, persons are into it,” mentioned Dufour-Contreras.

A hockey stick isn’t required to play Hockey VR, which is now out for the Oculus Quest digital actuality headset, however it positively provides to the expertise. The sport permits gamers to work on their capturing abilities by dealing with off towards a computer-controlled goalie, or do capturing drills towards targets on a internet.

Gamers take one of many Oculus Quest Contact controllers and fix it to a hockey stick utilizing the Realstick software, a 3-D printed attachment that Melcher Studios designed in-house.

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The sport offers an immersive feeling when holding onto an actual hockey stick that’s additionally represented within the recreation. The controller causes the persist with vibrate when it makes contact with the puck. And sure, the sport helps each proper and left-handed hockey gamers.

The unreal intelligence (AI) of the goalie was designed in order that the pc makes an attempt to anticipate the place the puck goes to go, not not like how an actual goalie thinks.

Gamers can take their photographs inside a hockey area or in two completely different outside rinks, one set in a mountain vary.

The concept for the sport happened two years in the past when Melcher Studios was requested by a consumer sponsoring a hockey event in Drugs Hat to design a VR recreation that may very well be performed on the occasion. The studio later determined to adapt the sport into its personal product to promote on to customers.

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Conveniently, Melcher Studios’ Regina workplace is situated proper above a hockey coaching firm, so specialists who may take a look at out the sport weren’t far-off. Jack Hilkewich, vice-president of interactive at Melcher, mentioned the studio is in talks with the corporate about how the sport may very well be integrated with precise hockey coaching.

Whereas the sport is presently meant to be performed for enjoyable reasonably than be a critical coaching simulation, Hilkewich believes it has the potential to be helpful to hockey gamers.

“It behaves just about like an actual hockey stick and puck would, so I feel it wouldn’t take quite a lot of improvement to make it right into a coaching software,” mentioned Hilkewich.

Getting the sport to work with a hockey stick wasn’t straightforward. The Oculus Quest controller was designed to be held in somebody’s hand, to not be connected to a hockey stick, so it required some effort to get working correctly.

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“The stick will create vibrations within the controller that usually you don’t have while you’re holding it in your palms. Once you’re tapping it on the bottom and sliding it, it truly would make it actually tousled. So then we had to determine why that’s occurring and filter the info,” mentioned Dufour-Contreras, who designed the Realstick attachment.

Rene Dufour-Contreras, fabricator and engineer at Melcher Studios, shows the Realstick attachment which allows a real hockey stick to be used with the company’s new virtual reality hockey game.
Rene Dufour-Contreras, fabricator and engineer at Melcher Studios, exhibits the Realstick attachment which permits an actual hockey stick for use with the corporate’s new digital actuality hockey recreation. Picture by TROY FLEECE /Regina Chief-Put up

Up to now the sport has gotten a constructive reception from YouTube creators and web sites that cowl VR video games. Whereas the sport doesn’t replicate the expertise of taking part in in an precise hockey recreation, that’s one thing the crew at Melcher has its eye on.

“We’ve bought quite a lot of constructive suggestions and quite a lot of requests for sure features to be added to it. So we’re taking a look at all these and figuring out which of them we’re going so as to add into the long run variations,” mentioned Hilkewich.

The sport is now obtainable on the Oculus retailer, and the Realstick attachment will be purchased on Melcher Studios’ web site. 

Rene Dufour-Contreras, fabricator and engineer at Melcher Studios, demonstrates their new virtual reality hockey game on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 in Regina.
Rene Dufour-Contreras, fabricator and engineer at Melcher Studios, demonstrates their new digital actuality hockey recreation on Wednesday, October 6, 2021 in Regina. Picture by TROY FLEECE /Regina Chief-Put up

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