Rec Room - The New VR Hangout

Rec Room - The New VR Hangout

The new social VR platform Rec Room for the HTC Vive is wining some great reviews from the community at the moment.The project is currently free in Early Access and is quickly becoming a success on Steam. 

So why's it so popular? Rec Room presents the user with a Nintendo Wii-like array of simple leisure sports including Zero-G Paddle Ball, Disc Golf and Dodgeball. Users can hang out and socialise in the locker room and customise the appearance of their avatar in the changing room. Interactivity between users is key - it offers online multiplayer so that users can interact with other people from anywhere in the world. You just have to "fist bump to party up", making friends to play games with!

What's different about this experience is that the user enters the games through its starting room, full of friendly avatars. They wave and smile at you, turning away briefly from their own games. Users have said that this happiness is infectious and lifts your mood...which is pretty impressive from a bunch of cartoons. 

The app's developers use a number of variables to generate the cutesy avatar facial expressions, including the user’s audio output, body language, proximity to other people, objects they’re holding and using, and the things that are happening to and around them. Although the expressions and gestures are all digital, and in no way realistic, it fools your brain into believing it all. Past research has even proven that emoticons stimulate the part of the brain that becomes active when looking at real faces. Science also tells us that seeing facial expressions makes us automatically want to mimic what we see: if we see a person smile, our brain tells us to smile, too.

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