These VR dives are impressively realistic

A solo developer creates graphically rich underwater experiences for a VR game – the first videos are spectacular.

Some handsome water animations are currently causing a stir on Twitter. The dives in the realistic murky water come from an as yet untitled VR game by “Khena B”: The solo developer is working on one in the Unreal Engine Dive house flight on an alien planet. In keeping with the theme, the maker reserves a certain artistic freedom.

Nobody should expect an accurate diving simulator here. The first video snippets would look good even in a simulation. The virtual hands are already creating believable waves on the surface. Now that the submersion floating particles feel like gliding through seaweed-clouded water.

Fascinatingly realistic dive house excursions

As early as late summer 2022, the developer was experimenting with a water shader for virtual reality, a particle waterfall and effects such as a different authentic spray. No problem with performance followed by a change from Unreal Engine 5 to version 4.

A recent video demonstrates how cleanly the physics engine works in the old engine.

In it, the developer shows the undulating, reflective surface and bottom of a body of water. Some stones picked up on the ground fell to the ground slowed down, so if their movement still seems a bit too fast. Depending on planetary physics, the accelerated fall might also be geo-intended.

The developer still has the option of switching back to Unreal Engine 5 at a later date. In order to avoid problems, the wave system currently does not use tessellation, which could make simple objects physically more complex. Incidentally, Unreal Engine 5 now also supports the new “Nanite” feature in Virtual Reality, which can automatically scale high-resolution assets in the engine.

The game, initially only planned for PC VR, revolves around the exploration of the underwater world. Players glide forward with natural arm movementssimilar to real swimming strokes like in the VR shooter Hubris.

The arms move faster in real water. There should be no unnecessary delay that tears the game out of immersion. Pushing off rocks and branches is a bit reminiscent of moving around in Lone Echo. A smartwatch on the virtual wrist monitors the time under water.

The developer is keeping a low profile on further details, a publicly playable demo is currently not planned. Maybe some ideas implemented with ChatGPT will find their way into the game. Khena B posted a few screenshots from a brainstorming session with the chatbot.

Praise from the VR competition

Meanwhile, another studio has also become aware of the progress: “Wevr” co-founder Anthony Batt has already expressed interest in being able to use the “brilliant” technology in his revived underwater experience “theBlu”.

The latest release of the VR classic 2016 has been released from the new DLC episodes.

The VR underwater adventure Subnautica, on the other hand, does not seem to serve as a model: Khena B keeps pointing out on Twitter that he has not played the survival title.

He may later offer the project’s water shaders on Epic’s Unreal Engine Marketplace, like his available Storm Effects Kit Vol.1.

If you’re already in the mood for VR water fun, you could try the graphically rich Kayak VR Mirage. It’s already available for SteamVR and is set to get even prettier by the launch of Playstation VR 2.

The stealth game Phantom: Covert Ops also puts you in a kayak. The VR experience Biolum, on the other hand, takes you into the deep sea.

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