Melbourne VR company Opaque Space is collaborating with aircraft giant Boeing to bring space training scenarios to a new virtual reality trainer.
At the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Boeing today unveiled a new virtual reality trainer for its CST-100 Starliner, a spacecraft capsule intended to transport crew to the International Space Station.
The VR trainer provides its users with a high-resolution, interactive, real-time simulation of the Starliner, and functions as a low-cost training supplement to Boeing’s physical Starliner simulator.
In the VR sim, astronauts can familiarise themselves with operating the Starliner, and perform training procedures including docking with the International Space Station.
It is the first virtual reality system developed by Boeing employees outside the United States.
Opaque Space is also currently developing Earthlight, a narrative-driven VR title that allows players to experience life as a NASA astronaut. A Reddit thread about the game grabbed the attention of NASA last year, and the space agency is one of several collaborating with Opaque Space on the project, and the Vive exclusive is coming to both arcades and home sets.
“We’re proud of our journey: from virtual reality gaming to working with NASA to now partnering with Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company,” said Opaque Space CEO Emre Deniz.
“It’s especially gratifying to demonstrate Australian technical leadership in an emerging area like virtual reality.”
For Deniz, the collaborations are something of a vindication after his company's work had initially failed to acquire federal grants, was criticised by academics, and was mostly ignored by the gaming press.
"When we applied for federal support, we got rejected, but at the same time 4 different governments asked me to relocate. Canada/US mainly," he tweeted today.
"Maybe the government, academia and public will treat games as more than just entertainment when we start doing so as an industry. /Rant.
"You know what the best part is though? I get to give my team mission badges from actual space missions we help in the future. A tear."