Jensen has brought in experts to advise on the development of JUMP. These include the aforementioned Marshall Miller, a good friend and professional wingsuit pilot with over 10,000 jumps under his belt; and Hartman Richter, another professional wingsuit pilot and talented programmer who wrote the FLIGHT server software physics engine to mimic real wingsuit dynamics.
With their help, the team has been able to include details that give a true sense of presence. For example, the wingsuit is filled with compressed air. Once you jump off and push off the cliff, your wingsuit inflates within a few seconds. A fan starts to accelerate and blow wind at a faster pace as you’re increasing air speed. All of these elements add to the realism of the experience.
Flying into the metaverse
One of the biggest lightbulb moments Jensen experienced while developing JUMP came when observing the reactions of fliers. “When I started taking people out to the prototype, I was watching them watch other people,” he says. “They started competing, saying, ‘I want to do what they just did.’ ”
Jensen realized the experience was like snowboarding down a mountain, with people trying to match and out-do their friends. That led the team to explore the idea of an esports-style competition. “We aren’t broadcasting live yet, but we fully plan to have wingsuit racing in all of our locations that are streamed on Twitch,” says Jensen.
The team is also developing a multiplayer experience that will enable fliers in different locations to meet in the virtual environment and jump together. And there are plans to use facial scanning technology to create realistic avatars of users, bringing them into the experience and providing the opportunity to offer personalized GoPro-style videos.
For now, JUMP is a location-based experience—and Jensen says several locations are planned for future developments. Tantalizingly however, he alludes to a future in which a version of the system could be operating in bedrooms and living rooms around the world.
“The JUMP simulator and technology are the foundation for true full mobility inside any metaverse,” says Jensen. “Through a few years of location-based entertainment, we will inevitably derive a perfect virtual reality mobility product for at-home use.”
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