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Gold Thief screenshot

Hacking in the vrLab: Brighton’s Season of Tech Celebration Births Two Unique VR Experiences

Another hackathon results in some truly fantastic VR experiences: this time with Oculus Touch.

Late last week VRFocus attended a hackathon in Brighton, organised by Make[REAL] as part of the Brighton Digital Festival, in which teams had just 24 hours to create a virtual reality (VR) experience using the Oculus Rift and the as-yet-unreleased Oculus Touch. The purpose of the event was for the teams to create mini-game experiences that best utilise the tracked motion controllers in fun, unique or clever ways, with the winners not only then given the opportunity to showcase their creation throughout the weekend as part of the vrLAB event, but also taking home an Oculus Rift.

Two teams came from nothing to having a unique VR mini-game up-and-running in just a few hours. Utilising the Unity engine and official Oculus Touch runtimes and plugins, the two teams went in very different directions: the first aiming for a stealth experience and the second targeting one of the most physical reactions: laughter.

vrLAB Hackathon

Gold Thief – Paul Hayes, Michael Myles, Kyaw Tun Sein

Gold Thief, as the title should explain, is an experience in which you perform the core element of a heist: grabbing the gold. Set in an underground vault, the player used the Oculus Touch controllers to take hold of gold bullion and place them in a collection tray, which when deposited added to their score. However, throughout the mini-game a robot patrols the area: if you’re seen, it’s game over.

Gold Thief screenshot

The player has a wide variety of opportunities to avoid capture. The audio and visuals clues inform you of when the robot’s patrol brings it near, and throwing one of the gold bars might just distract it long enough to restart its route. Furthermore, given the Oculus Touch’s expanded area of gameplay than the Oculus Rift alone, the player is able to duck and move around the stacks of gold in front of them in an attempt to stay out of the robot’s line-of-sight. Be warned though: this futuristic guard is equipped with some pretty futuristic movement sensors!

vrLAB Hackathon

Little Box of Neon – Jake Slack, Harrison Perry

Regular readers of VRFocus may be aware of Jake Slack from his work on the long-awaited Private Eye, but Little Box of Neon is an altogether different experience. A mini-game akin to a fairground attraction, Little Box of Neon positions the player in front of an amusement machine, inserting a coin to begin the madness.

Little Box of Neon screenshot

A countdown timer begins and in falls a crash test dummy with ragdoll physics. With a paddle in each hand, the player must bounce the dummy throughout the open area within the machine to collect coins, before depositing it in a small collection tube in the front-right corner. However, as soon as you’ve gotten to grips with having one dummy, in comes a second. VRFocus never managed to get to the point of having three live dummies, as their movement is not as obedient as this description may make them sound.


Both titles are playable at the vrLab today, along with Tammeka Games’ Radial-G: Racing Revolved, The Guardian’s 6×9, Breaking Fourth’s CTRL, Make[REAL]’s Top of the Crop and a number of other experiences. Tickets are available via the official website of the venue, The Old Market, and VRFocus will keep you updated with any further updates on both Gold Thief and Little Box of Neon.

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