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VergeVerge Posts: 58
Hiro Protagonist
edited December 2014 in Showcase

Iceland is an experience for the Oculus Rift. You gently fly over an environment (created by the very talented Philipp Schmidt)) filled with lots of interesting things to discover. This experience is a ride, so you don’t need a controller, keyboard, hydra or mind control helmet to enjoy it.

Just sit back, relax and enjoy!

All your input would be greatly appreciated! :)

If you would like to watch it before downloading (although you will get spoilers ;)) user Valez has been so kind to upload a "fly through" video on youtube.

Download Iceland here!

Philipp Schmidt

Mirada - Tranquil Reflection


  • NannouNannou Posts: 4
    That was a really nice demo! Well done. I felt super relaxed afterwards. I could happily throw some music on and sit in that demo for a good while :)

    It would be great to have some closer fly-by's to get a sense of space and proximity. I'd love to somehow zip between some of the icicle/stalactites!
  • dalootsdaloots Posts: 94
    Brain Burst
    Excellent! Beautifully made!

    I really like these experiences, like Titans of Space.

    I get VR sick real quick but didn't really notice it with this. The only thing I missed were sound effects. I think a little wind noise, water or geyser sound could greatly improve immersion.
    I agree that adding a cockpit would be a pitty, the scenery is too beautiful to hide. Perhaps you could have a bird flying in front of you as a reference point? I'm not sure what birds they have in Iceland :D

    Congrats on the demo, I'm looking forward to seeing more!
    True 3D video for VR:
  • ValezValez Posts: 41
    Brain Burst
    Very enjoable experience!

    The fog is beautiful, but has some issues with head roll and rotation.

    If the whale would blow some water up into the air, that would be very cool.
    Ability to mute the music or choose own music.
  • VergeVerge Posts: 58
    Hiro Protagonist
    Thank you all for your kind words!

    I guess you also didn't experience any form of nausea? ;) I will look into tweaking the path so it takes you a little closer to some interesting scenery. Zipping through some icicle could be an interesting effect!

    I also want to just sit back and enjoy the ride. 8-) Having something in front of you to follow sounds like a good idea! And speaking of sounds, yeah, adding sounds to the environment will be the next thing I do. Some wind and water could really add to the experience.

    Yeah, I'm not happy with the billboarded fog either. Sometimes there is some clipping through the camera and at the end of the ride you can clearly see the fog moving along with your head. Having real volumetric fog would be the solution. And muting the music, sure, I will fix that in the next version. ;)
  • ValezValez Posts: 41
    Brain Burst
    Just recorded a "fly through" and planning on making the video available on YouTube, reddit and MTBS3D, if thats ok for you. I'll add a link to this thread. It will take 3 hours to upload, though.
    If you want to post it yourself on reddit, MTBS3D or elsewhere I'll post the link here as soon as the upload is finished.

  • I just tried this as one of the first demos on my new Rift and I enjoyed it. I like the variety of landscapes, the ice, the forest, the stream, the ocean, the icebergs, and even Mr. Whale :)

    I noticed some pop-in, where icicles would suddenly appear at 30m or so, more detailed versions of trees, etc.

    Overall I think this is great, looking around while on a virtual tour is fun, hovering over the ocean, magically floating around :D

  • drashdrash Posts: 2,849
    Valez wrote:

    Oh wow, I definitely need to try this demo on my gaming rig next week, and not on my old laptop. Looks really nice in the video!

    Thank you for sharing your dreamworld with us Verge! :)
  • WormSlayerWormSlayer Posts: 51
    Hiro Protagonist
    I like it, really nice atmosphere! :D

    Pop-in definitely a bit of an issue, the 2d fog, clouds, etc. also very noticeable. I hope you are going to add some nice volcanic areas? :)
  • jayohjayoh Posts: 98
    Hiro Protagonist
    brilliant work. clam and relaxing. would be a great first demo for those new to the rift, especially non-gamer or non-thrill seeker. just a serene trip through this virtual environment.
  • VergeVerge Posts: 58
    Hiro Protagonist
    Thanks for all the great reactions people! It also seems that this whole nausea thing is something which most of you don't experience. I guess that's a good thing. ;)

    Thank you for recording this wonderful video! Feel free to post it anywhere you like. :D

    One of your first demos, awesome! Yeah, the pop-in has to do with LOD stages. What you see here is lower quality versions of models being swapped out for better quality versions. I can tweak this a little further, but you will need a better machine to run it smoothly then. Maybe another setting besides "Riftastic!", "Rificulous!" :lol:

    And thank you for sharing yours drash! My mouth was wide open, while exploring Titans of Space. :o

    Volcanic areas you say? Hmm, I guess that is pretty Icelandic isn't it? ;) *scribbles something on a digital piece of paper*
  • qndzioqndzio Posts: 2
    Aside from few graphical glitches, it's simply perfect. So calming and meditative... I definitely want more experiences like this. If you will add a cockpit or something like that in the next version, please also add option to disable it. I love the feeling of being the pure... observation.
    Also, I can't wait for Unigine Valley being rifted (it's announced).
    God, i feel so calm now :)
    Thank you.
  • mrgreen72mrgreen72 Posts: 683
    Fucking beautiful!

    This screams for an audio track. I guess we could always play our own music in the background but adding environmental sounds would make it even more amazing.

    I love these "sit back and relax" demos. It's great to demo the Rift. Anyone can try it and they don't get out of the experience feeling like shit.

    Great work man!
  • skyworxxskyworxx Posts: 233 Oculus Start Member
    Are you kidding me?

    This is the demo scene provided with the "Big Environment Pack 2". Even though you get full rights with purchasing it from the Unity Asset Store, you shouldn't take credit for the art work.

    Here is the official video featuring the exact same scene:
  • Magro28Magro28 Posts: 10
    Brain Burst
    Can someone upload it to a mirror? (like mega) Drop box link is disabled..
  • VergeVerge Posts: 58
    Hiro Protagonist
    Who ever said I take credit for the artwork skyworxx? :?

    I must admit that this was something I thought about before releasing, because I didn't (and apparently still don't) know what the protocol is in this case. I searched the Unity forums and asked some friends in the industry about how you should give credit to assets you buy. The answers I got where mostly in the "you don't have to give credit, but it's nice to do it" category. So I decided to add a credits section to the readme.txt file in the download archive in which I credit Philipp Schmidt personally for the environment with a link to his portfolio (in which this scene is visible on the front page). I also gave him a public thank you on Twitter, which you can see here.

    And I also contacted him personally to show him the video Valez made, which he thought was awesome (and asked him about the possibility of creating a volcano model in the near future, which he is planning to ;) ). Finally, this pack is so well known in the Unity community (one of the top sold environment packs on the Asset Store) that I thought most people would know about it. But ok, in hindsight, I maybe should have also mentioned it prominently in my opening post too. Not everybody reads readme files I suppose, so I'm truly sorry about that. I will edit my first post to reflect this.

    Some people create music, some people create 3d models, some people create textures and I personally am a programmer so I create code. As a programmer I am forced to buy the assets that I use, the stuff that everyone sees and hears, elsewhere. Sometimes this will be a readily available art pack (like this one) and sometimes I will have to hire someone to create those assets for me. My intention is to create videodreams aka virtual rides for the Rift. And for my first ride I wanted to focus on the technical side of things. Writing all the code in order to set up a ride, trigger events during your ride and learning how to use the oculus camera setup and the pitfalls of developing on the Rift. After this was written I needed a beautiful environment to build this ride on. So I went shopping and found this perfect artwork pack. As it turned out, this pack already had a great demo level to build this ride in. It only took me a couple of days to setup everything and after a week of tweaking and usage (and getting nauseas) I decided that the best way to develop it further was to release it publicly. I enjoyed riding it, and I needed (and still need) more input. We can all learn from each other here. It's all new territory.

    I intend to release more videodreams in the future. And most of them will use a combination of various 3d models, characters, music, sound effects and textures created by other people. But having a harddrive full of awesome assets still doesn't mean you have a great Oculus Rift experience ready to rumble. A great ride also has to be carefully created, tweaked and optimized with love. And although code isn't visible (unless you are Neo I guess) it still needs to be written.

    Sorry for this wall of text everyone, but it is important to me that everyone knows my true intensions here. I intend to create many beautiful things for this great new community of VR enthousiast in the future. And I don't want my reputation stained at the very first release I do here. If you think I did something truly wrong, please put it under the "beginners error" section. :oops: And I hope you can still enjoy flying through Iceland, while I will do my best to make the experience even more awesome.

    Yeah, apparently Dropbox has a download limit. I will look into this today.
  • VergeVerge Posts: 58
    Hiro Protagonist
    Ok, I upgraded my free Dropbox account to a Pro account, so now the download should work again. :)
  • Magro28Magro28 Posts: 10
    Brain Burst
    edited July 2013
    Verge wrote:
    Ok, I upgraded my free Dropbox account to a Pro account, so now the download should work again. :)
    Thanks! Downloading now. :)

    EDIT: Great demo. Definitly one of my favorites!
  • VergeVerge Posts: 58
    Hiro Protagonist
    Have a great videodream Magro28. ;)
  • enigma642enigma642 Posts: 52
    Great demo! I showed this to my parents today and we all agreed it was one of our favorite Rift apps.
  • sammazsammaz Posts: 31
    GREAT Ride!

    I went through 2 loops last night and then i finally saw the whale! Thanks to the devs! :shock:
  • VergeVerge Posts: 58
    Hiro Protagonist
    Great to hear you all enjoyed it! :D

    I think we have come to the point, where I can answer the question I asked in my opening post. It seems that this videodream doesn't make people feel very queasy after all, and that I am indeed the minority. Kinda ironic that the one developing the ride is also one of the few who actually gets sick doing it. :lol: But it is very interesting to learn that having a cockpit or other visual reference isn't necessarily something you will have to add to a ride.

    Here is a list of the things I would like to add/change to Iceland, so you know what I am thinking about for the future:
    • Adding a subtle reference point in front of you, which you can toggle on/off. This one is personal, hoping that at least I get a little less sick. :)
    • Fix a bug where looking around too much changes the orientation of the camera (so you look sideways all the time). I don't know if this is a problem with my implementation or the OVR camera itself.
    • Adding sound effects, like wind blowing and water erupting out of the geysers. I'm still looking for a good quality geyser sound. And also add the option to turn off the music.
    • Tweak the path a little to get you closer to some interesting scenery. And also change the trigger of the second geyser to go off a little sooner. I'm also experimenting with multiple paths, but I don't know yet if I will implement it in Iceland.
    • Create a quality setting which doesn't show trees and stuff popping into a higher quality. I think the popping of trees really gets you out of the experience.
    • Try and find a better (more Oculus Rift friendly) solution to the billboarded fog.
    • Redo the whale. It was the last thing I added, and I'm not happy with it. I think a humpback whale can do more interesting things than just show it's tail a couple of times.
    • Add more animals. I think adding some more life to the island can create a better experience. I would really like to add penguins, but apparently there are no penguins in Iceland. ;) That leaves sheep, horses, reindeer, foxes, birds (like Puffin) and seals.
    • Do a night version, so you can choose whether to have your ride during the day or during the night. Can anyone say "Aurora Borealis"? :)
    • Add a volcanic area. This one is more long term, as I already explained, I think this island is almost perfect. Lots of different sceneries packed in one place. I only removed all traces of civilization in the scene (I wanted to go unspoiled nature). But I agree with WormSlayer that Iceland should really have a volcano. It would be interesting to go near it and fly over it. And it would look awesome during the night. Philipp told me he is working on it, so I will try to add that when he is ready.
    I think after this list is done, Iceland would be close to perfect and in my opinion finished for now. I don't want to add too much, because I want it to remain a simple relaxing experience. I thought about dropping iceblocks in front of you when you go through the tunnel and stuff, but that's not very relaxing is it. :) I will save that excitement for my next videodream, which will probably be Arabian Nights themed.
  • qndzioqndzio Posts: 2
    Verge wrote:
    [*] Fix a bug where looking around too much changes the orientation of the camera (so you look sideways all the time). I don't know if this is a problem with my implementation or the OVR camera itself.

    It's propably OR's sensor-related drift. There are some ways to counter it, the newest SDK has some correction option(s) built in.

    As for the animals - if you can make/find convincing animations for them, then they would make a nice addition. But if not, clumsy animations may cause a break in presence when compared to otherwise very realistic world. Just sayin'
  • tubeliartubeliar Posts: 9
    Yeah, the orientation change is drift. This is an unavoidable issue for any session that takes a long time. Games get the chance to reset the orientation on level changes or even when you come out of a menu, but virtual rides don't get that luxury. The most common solution is to assign a "reset home" key, and whichever direction you're looking in at that point will become "forward". Most applications will make this a hard cut, but i would prefer a smooth reorientation.

    I think adding sound effects and animals will do a lot to make the world come alive. Even the movement from the water reminds you that you're not looking at a static picture but an active environment. Sound effects will boost this a lot i think. In the case of the whale the lack of sound effects actually deteriorates the experience.
  • Really, really enjoyed this. Did you make Delta Draconis too? :)

    I have had some real nausea problems...but I had non with this. It seems that walking is the issue for me now..unnatural locomotion. But this was calm and smooth.

    Would like to see some more very tall spires to add to the sense of perspective...or maybe through a couple of canyons. Would be cool to add the ability to fly freely, like in Delta Draconis, for those who want as an option.

    Just thoughts.....really, really enjoyed this. Thank you for sharing. Can't wait to see this in HD one day!
  • VergeVerge Posts: 58
    Hiro Protagonist
    @ qndzio and tubeliar
    Ah, so it's called drift. Good to hear it's something which is common and should be relatively easy to fix (or at least adjust). :) Thanks for your input on that one!

    @ Huckleberry
    Glad you enjoyed it! And thank you for the heads-up on Delta Draconis, I didn't create it, but it looks amazing!
    Some other people have also been asking about flying around freely, so I will put that one on the great todo list. :D

    I've done some tweaking to Iceland last week. The distance at which higher quality models like trees are shown is now much further away, resulting in a better experience overall with less "popping into view" (but it will require some more GPU power). I've also tweaked some other stuff, which improved the detail level and quality of the terrain. I'm quite pleased with the result.

    I've also been adding sound effects. Right now the river, the ocean and the geysers have sound effects I'm happy with, but I'm still looking for a good wind, whale and nonintrusive ambient sound.

    The last thing I've been experimenting with this week is a night setting. Getting the night scene feeling as exciting as the day scene proves to be quite a challenge. The lack of other light sources makes the environment feel dull in my opinion. I think something should be added to spice it up a little. So, I think this won't be ready for the next release. I am happy with the sky though, so I can give you guys a sneak peak of that. :)

  • whoisonlinewhoisonline Posts: 415
    My take on this.. .. can't wait to see this one on a HD Rift.

    I hope you dont mind, I've posted a video at and youtube.
  • VergeVerge Posts: 58
    Hiro Protagonist
    Hi Whoisonline! Thank you for creating this video! It looks like you enjoyed the ride. ;) And I also can't wait to see this in HD, well this and all the other great stuff people are creating now really. :lol:
  • SubcideSubcide Posts: 55
    Brain Burst
    The FOV felt really strange to me, particularly in the chasm at the beginning. Like it had been calibrated for different eyecups. Any way to change this?
  • AnanasAnanas Posts: 181
    This was a nice demo, especially while standing up. It really felt charming and mystical to fly around Icelandic island.
    I was going to suggest something but they are already on your list :D
    Keep up the good work
  • whoisonlinewhoisonline Posts: 415
    Verge wrote:
    Hi Whoisonline! Thank you for creating this video! It looks like you enjoyed the ride. ;) And I also can't wait to see this in HD, well this and all the other great stuff people are creating now really. :lol:

    it was my pleasure .. looks like your demo might be something to try standing up.. thanks again.
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