Here is something that makes you have faith in the future of VR: clean, with a cinematic touch, simple to navigate through and packed with interesting options, VRuseum is a free VR experience you must try!
While the Museum of Other Realities (MOR) may be the most popular of these virtual museums (still, with only 366 reviews on Steam) there are other examples of how VR can be used to share art collections. While some of those museums reflect “brick and mortar” museums from the real world, others, as MOR, only exist in the digital world, something that makes sense as much of the art they share is digital… and virtual.
The way the platform Steam refers to VRuseum (and all Virtual Reality experiences, in fact) does not help: the introduction text starts with a misleading “About this game”, which clearly demonstrates that Steam’s cataloguing system is not geared to deal with VR experiences… and no one seems to care. This leads to another problem: some users end writing reviews complaining the game has not much to do…
Well, VRuseum is not a game, although it can keep you entertained for a much longer time than many of the games – VR and non-VR – shared through Steam. VRuseum is a virtual museum projected in an area of 10,000 m2. It contains galleries and open spaces that exhibits sculptures created by artists from the digital world. You can visit the museum downloading for free the application and choosing between 3 different modes: Virtual Reality headset, and screen using keyboard and mouse or touch screen. The view modes are also multiple: VR, First person, Aerial view, Photo, Camera. It’s also possible to explore the architecture without the art pieces, see listings of the artists and more info related to a project that was developed from 2022 to 2022 and is one example of the type of museum that could/should be expanded.
A recipient of Epic Megagrants
As the note above confirms, although VR is part of the title, VRuseum can also be explored on a flat screen, although you’ll never get the same level of immersion that Virtual Reality offers, as you can wander around the art pieces as if you were inside a real museum. And it’s only when using VR that you feel how much of the design of the space is influenced by the other work the authors create. On a flat screen it is all… too flat!
This project was born in 2020 with the aim of connecting with the artists community from the world of digital art, offering participants the possibility of contemplating their digital illustrations in Virtual Reality. The museum was named “VRuseum” by Boldtron who, together with his brother SlurpTV, brought this line-up of artists to the space.
Boldtron is a Barcelona-based 3D artist dedicated to 3D/CGI and VR. Having worked as an illustrator and art director around Europe and Asia with over twenty years of industry experience, he returned to Barcelona to launch his own studio, PZZZA. SecondaryBounce, the company behind the VRuseum, is a recipient of Epic Megagrants, and has a website with projects that mix cinematic experiences, architecture and design of interiors with VR.
Taking photos, exploring LUTs
Creators of high end virtual experiences (some of which can be freely downloaded from their website), SecondBounce reveals a clear understanding of the potential of VR for cinematic uses, and, either using the optional VR support or on a flat screen, their work reflects that experience. Videos as the “Cinematic Virtual Reality Pavilion” or “Apartment Cinematics Video” reveal what can be done these days inside Unreal Engine. The interactive VRuseum reflects all that and more in ways that only in VR can be fully understood.
The presence of options to control the photo capturing process, with the possibility to use zoom, reframe, change aperture, use flashlight and more is a clear invitation for those who love photography to explore the multiple angles. The community hub related to Vruseum shows some of the examples of the photos captured by visitors. There is also a large collection of LUTs that change the aspect of the rooms, again confirming the visual importance these elements have for the creators of the project.
It’s not a game, but it’s an immense playground where visitors can discover the work of more than 35 artist involved, also individually visualize each sculpture in an isolated visualization mode or in “architecture only”. The option to see the whole museum as a miniature or, inversely, of becoming small enough to go inside some of the art pieces on display is part of the joy of discovering this. And if you “fly” over the exhibits you’ll discover some other hidden art pieces waiting for those who dare to check each corner. Visit all the zones, discover all the artist sculptures installations, unlock viewing modes and complete your collectible album.
Needs a computer with some power
VRuseum is a feast to the senses, from the ambient sounds to the images. It’s no wonder that visitors have enjoyed taking photos of the museum, exploring perspectives that put in evidence both the pieces being exhibited and the architecture of the whole place. Much easier to navigate that the more ambitious MOR, it’s more user-friendly for those starting to explore Virtual Reality, and it’s a title I suggest ProVideo Coalition readers interested into better understand the links between a cinematic vision and VR. Do check the other work from SecondaryBounce, too…
The title, which if FREE, may need a computer with some power, something those aiming to explore it should have in mind. The interface offers the option to adjust some of the graphic quality parameters, and it also clearly explains the multiple ways to discover VRuseum. Whatever you do, pay a visit to the Steam platform, register if you’ve not done so (it’s free) and download this fine example of what VR can be.