May the 4th is the annual celebration day for the Star Wars franchise worldwide, where events related to the franchise can be seen held in many places, including Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks (well, Walt Disney Company has the right to Star Wars since 2012)
This year, HTC gets involved in the celebration along with ILMxLAB, as they have just announced that the Star Wars related VR experience, “Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine” is now available on the Viveport! This experience was offered to VR users over Steam since July last year, so this is rather an old port, but its better to be late than never.
Created by Lucasfilm’s immersive entertainment division ILMxLAB, Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine is a VR experiment that transports you to the iconic twin sun planet seen many times in the Star Wars series. You’re stepping onto those desert sands some time after the events of Return of the Jedi, as Luke Skywalker wants to rebuild the Jedi Order, and you, as a hopeful Padawan, wish to become part of it.
Part of the fun of Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine is not knowing what happens next, so we won’t spoil everything. However we will say you’re going to see iconic spaceships swooping overhead, stand next to well-known droids and best of all, get to wield your Vive controller as your very own lightsaber.
As you’d expect from the wizards at ILMxLAB, this is a compelling VR app that really uses room-scale technology, so clear a space to allow you to swing your arms around making ‘VRRMMM’ noises under your breath. (It’s okay. We do it too.)
We can’t wait to see what happens when the ILMxLAB team ventures from experiments to full on premium VR storytelling for our favorite galaxy far, far away, but for now head to Viveport, strap in for the jump to lightspeed, and get yourself to Tatooine!
We can’t wait to see what happens when the ILMxLAB team ventures from experiments to full on premium VR storytelling for our favorite galaxy far, far away. If you’re ready to make the jump to lightspeed, head to Viveport to begin your journey.
Hyperdrive need repairs? Then while the droids work, check out these five questions we sent through the holonet to Hannah Gillis, Project Manager at ILMxLAB.
This short experience transport fans to the desert world of Tatooine, participating in simple tasks such as repairing the Millennium Falcon. This experience is exclusive to the HTC Vive on Steam, just like on the Viveport at the moment. Over at Vive blog, HTC had a minor interview with ILMxLAB about the experience, which you can read below.
What are you doing to celebrate May the 4th? Does it involve, say, bantha steaks and a backyard grill?
I’ll be celebrating May the 4th with my colleagues here at the Lucasfilm headquarters! The day will consist of some fun cosplay, photo opportunities, and, right here at ILMxLAB, some time spent having our own virtual reality lightsaber battles in Trials on Tatooine.
What were the origins of Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine? Did the desire to create a VR experiment come first, or were you looking for a way to put lightsabers in our hands?
Trials on Tatooine began as a test, a question, really: can we render the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars: The Force Awakens at 90 frames per second? That’s all we wanted to do. But of course, we couldn’t help ourselves from adding a bit of movie magic to the experiment, complete with animation, a Tatooine environment, and surround sound from the experts at Skywalker Sound. This was our first taste and green light to keep exploring and pushing the interactivity of this new medium as the future of storytelling.
How detailed are the models in Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine?
We partner with our colleagues at Lucasfilm, leveraging and exchanging assets within the Star Wars universe, as much as possible. At ILMxLAB, we strive to have the highest fidelity immersive experiences that we can.
Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine is called an experiment. Can you elaborate as to why that term was chosen? What does that mean for future of VR stories with ILMxLAB?
Trials on Tatooine was ILMxLAB’s first foray into real-time rendering and with it came a lot of lessons learned. We are so excited to be expanding and building upon our Trials on Tatooine foundation on projects such as the Darth Vader VR story experience and Meet BB-8 (an experience created as part of Lucasfilm’s Force for Change initiative and the Starlight Children’s Foundation).
Is there any place in the Star Wars galaxy you would love to visit in VR?
There are many, many places to visit and things to do in Star Wars VR. I myself would love to one day master the Force!
Thank you for talking with us, Hannah! (And may the Force be with you.)
Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine is available for free on the Viveport. There is also an entirely different Star Wars related VR application, known as “Star Wars Battlefront’s X-Wing VR Mission” (from Criterion Games), which is exclusive to the Playstation VR. There is no news related to that VR title today, but I’ll keep my eye peeled and will report back if there is any related news for that.