virtual reality testing (stay tuned)

I was in Reef Migration, a virtual reality experience for the Vive, and it got me thinking about testing virtual reality. (A video of Reef Migration is here.) Reef Migration is one of three underwater VR experiences in TheBlu, and the others have a blue whale and then angler fish at the bottom of the ocean. They’re all visually compelling. This one has you on a coral reef, and sea turtles, jellyfish, and lots and lots of fish swim by. You’re surrounded by anemones and coral, and the sun shines down through the water. It’s beautiful but buggy.

Unlike TheBlu, which is visual only, in Reef Migration, you can interact with the environment, notably by punching jellyfish and tickling anemones. It’s certainly entertaining. However, the jellyfish don’t always respond as expected, and a couple times during a session, fish will glitch out and entire schools will suddenly be several feet away from where they were before. Sometimes fish move through you instead of around you.

This has my testing instincts buzzing. How do we test virtual reality? For games, is there much difference from regular game testing? How much does network speed affect the level of bugginess? What are the weaknesses that are common to all VR experiences? How is augmented reality (AR) different?

I’m going to find out. I’m thinking of getting my testers at work involved in this too as fun skill-building. Keep an eye on this space for this new avenue of exploration!

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