Smaaash developing new gaming experiences using Oculus Rift

London,Krishna Bahirwani: Smaaash, a gaming and recreation centre in Mumbai is developing it’s own games using virtual reality capable devices such as Oculus Rift and Microsoft Kinect. In an exclusive interview with Shripal Morakhia, founder of Smaaash, Krishna Bahirwani explores what they are creating.

How many different types of VR technology did you experiment with before deciding on Oculus ?
SM: Virtual Reality is a considerably old concept. However, it gets its legs after the introduction of Oculus Rift Development Kit 1. What makes Oculus Rift unique is the cost and its durability and the backing of Facebook. Others are simple mom and pop shops, whose products have various limitations. However, in the future we will evaluate the products of Sony and Samsung.

How big is your team? What kind of skill sets do you need to make up a team like this?
SM: We are a 12-member, Indian and International engineer team exclusively dedicated to working on virtual reality. The most important skill that we require is the soft skill of passion and imagination, a mind that is forever ready to explore and experiment.

Tell me about the games you are working on
SM: The human mind creates limitations because of fear – fear to climb heights, fear to negotiate difficult terrain, fear to negotiate high speed and a number of other phobias. We are working on all those games, which will enable the player to overcome his fears, in the most realistic and hassle free environment from a safety perspective.

What are the plans for the future?
SM: Plans for Future, it is difficult to describe because the opportunities are huge – we can make a horror film that can be viewed on Oculus. We can make the scariest roller-coaster. We can get a person to fly to moon. Our plans are there where our imagination takes us.

How do you build immersion to the level that you can simulate fear, like you have done with Walk on a plank
SM: Mitigation of fear can only come, if we are able to simulate fear to the highest level. To do that, we are combining older technologies with Virtual Reality to give a very realistic experience.

What kind of research goes into captivating the senses of the gamer?
SM: It is a lot of passion, gut feeling and real experience with audience sensibilities. A few concepts work and many don’t work. It is this same trial and error method, that goes into captivating the fascination of a gamer.