Tulsa Company Entering World Of Virtual Reality

Thursday, May 19th 2016, 9:19 am
By: LeAnne Taylor

Have you heard of Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard?  These are all new terms being used in the new arena of Virtual Reality.

A Tulsa company is at the forefront of creating content for VR. These computer-simulated worlds are the next big thing.

"This could be the future of gaming as we know it. While it doesn't look like much, I'm actually in the world of virtual reality.  This next generation, my little boy, my seven year old is not going to understand why any of us ever experienced education or entertainment on a rectangle on a wall. It won't make sense. When you could wear it and be a part of it," said Mark Steele. 

Mark Steele and his team at Steelehouse Productions are moving into the world of Virtual Reality.

"Our trade is as storytellers but not just storytellers, storytellers with a purpose. With an intention behind the stories that we're telling. We know what we want our narratives to do so VR is perfect because we're immersing someone in our narrative," said Mark Steele.

I recently stopped by their Tulsa offices for a lesson in the different levels of virtual reality from basic to the more advanced.  The most basic is what's known as Google Cardboard, VR goggles that use your smart phone to provide content. 

This is what I saw, Mark's Christmas card to clients introducing them to VR.  Then the next step up is the Gear VR, a little more elaborate headset that still uses the smart phone.

"This is the Oculus Rift.This is the one that Facebook has been developing. This is much more high end," said Mark Steele.

And it's worked out well for Mark's team, using content that they had already created with a character named Rexidus. It transports the user into another world.  This is a created experience that's getting quite a lot of buzz and has been featured on the Oculus website.  And then there's this system, the HTC Vive, complete with hand controls and wall sensors that allows me to move around the room.

"What's going to happen, as you walk around the room you'll eventually see a red grid wall in front of you. Whenever you see the red grid wall, don't reach through it or walk through it. That's a real wall in the real room your standing in," said Mark Steele. 

While it takes a while to figure out how to use the controls, it's a lot of fun.  It definitely has some form of unique impact on the brain that can be extremely positive if steered that direction and we're all in on exploring what that could be.  

Mark says he believes VR might even be a tool used to treat autism, PTSD and Alzheimer's.  Adding, he thinks virtual reality will be transformative.