Now it was time to put my virtual culinary skills to the test. The next demo was Owlchemy Labs’ VR game Job Simulator, and the job I was going to be simulating today was chef. Of all the demos I tried on the Vive, this one had the most things that you could do.
I found myself standing in a kitchen, and while the graphics were a lot less realistic than the preceding demo, the experience was just as impressive, but for different reasons. For the demo, I was instructed to make some soup in a limited amount of time, following a recipe displayed on a screen on the wall in front of me. Of course, I started off by completely ignoring the instructions.
In this demo, there was a cartoon representation of my hands, and the first thing I did was pick up the rolling pin with one and throw it as far as I could. I then picked up bottle of wine, accidentally dropped it, then bent down to try and pick up the broken glass (which I sadly couldn’t do). Next, I put another bottle of wine in the microwave behind me and zapped it, which turned it into a smoking pile of goop.
With time running out, I went back to trying get the soup made and started tossing ingredients into the pot. There weren’t enough mushrooms on the tablet, so I had to go in the fridge (that had a time-saving automatic opening door) to grab some more. As the clock ticked down, I started panicking that I wouldn’t get it done in time. In my haste, instead of figuring out that you can pick up the hot sauce and shake it over the pot to season the ingredients, I simply tossed the bottle in the pot. This still worked, and my ingredients were magically transformed in a can of soup that I quickly put on a tray at the pass to be whisked off by a robotic waiter.
Even though the graphics in this demo were a lot simpler than any of the others, my level of immersion was just as high because of the freedom of movement and level of interactivity this demo allowed. It didn’t matter if the tomato I picked up didn’t look like a real one. The fact that I could simply reach out with my arm and pick it up in virtual space the same way I would in meatspace meant that subconsciously I felt like I was actually there.
Also, the 360 degrees of movement that the Vive allows for meant that I could effortlessly navigate the game space with both of my hands, my feet and my body to get the task assigned to me done.
Out of all the demos I played, I’d have to say that I had the most fun playing the Job Simulator demo because it was the most interactive of them all. As we all know, gameplay always trumps visuals, even in VR.