Why there’s such an appetite for virtual reality content
Monday, November 13, 2017/
Kei Onishi, managing director and co-founder of Vantage Interactive, a company that specialises in creating virtual reality and augmented reality-related software, started his business by working on a project for the engineering faculty at the University of New South Wales.
“When we started, not many people knew what virtual reality was [but] now we have clients ranging from educational institutions to marketing agencies, architects and mining companies.”
Onishi says that a re-emergence of the technology has led to major improvements in hardware performance and cost-reduction.
“That’s why there is a lot of appetite for virtual reality content at the moment.”
The company uses the same technology that computer games are made with but for different applications.
Onishi recalls developing one of the world’s first mining training simulators back in 2006.
“It was an exciting project to be part of,” Onishi says.
“The simulation allowed new miners to be immersed in a controlled and safe environment. The mines that we created were based off real mines in NSW and were used to teach important topics such as hazard awareness, isolation procedures and pre-shift inspection.” Onishi says.
“We use the same technology for property developers and architects, but the work is quite different. We get the design of the building and turn that into an interactive 3D model that potential buyers can experience to better understand what the building will look like.”
“The main advantage of virtual reality technology is being able to visualise things clearly. If you are immersed in the 3D environment you are more engaged with the content that you are looking at.”
“Communication becomes more effective.”
The power of using contractors
While Vantage Interactive does not outsource entire projects, they will use contractors for specific tasks. Onishi says that it is sometimes more efficient to use contractors for modelling, animating and programming purposes.
“Ninety-five per cent of what we do is in-house, but when we are flat out we will use contractors,” Onishi says.
“For example, if we are working on a project where we need a character animation, we will get someone who specialises in that area. They will provide us with the finished animation, which we will integrate back into the project.”
“In the past, it would have been more difficult to find the right person but there is an increasing number of people who have the right skill-set.”
Vantage Interactive manages contractors through meetings, emails and programs like Trello to ensure that everybody is on the same page. Onishi also says that they generally find contractors through word of mouth communication.
“We tend to work with people that we already know, but our connection to game design colleges means that we also have access to talented students,” Onishi says.
“We haven’t had many issues using contractors – possibly because we get them to work on smaller aspects of the project – so I think we’ll continue working with them in the future.”
“If there’s a specialist out there who can complete the task in a way that is better than us, it is more cost and time efficient to work with them.”
However, Onishi acknowledges that it hasn’t been difficult for his team to keep up with the technology.
“Our team has been doing this for quite a long time. We have a bit more experience than some of the newer studio.”
“We really like what we do now.”