‘Titanic VR’ Brings History to Life on Rift

Oculus Blog
Posted by Oculus VR
November 29, 2017

It’s been nearly 20 years since Titanic hit the big screen, and a remastered version returns to theaters on December 1. Today, you can explore the wreckage first-hand in Titanic VRavailable now on Rift!

An exploration adventure game from Immersive VR Education, Titanic VR puts you in the shoes of Dr. Ethan Lynch, Associate Professor of Maritime Archaeology at the University of Nova Scotia. With funding from a mysterious investor, you and your grad student dive to the depths of the North Atlantic to explore the shipwreck, recover items, and complete various missions.

“The story of the Titanic is timeless and one of the most tragic events of the early 20th century,” says Immersive VR Education CEO David Whelan. “We’re an Irish company, and our COO had a relative who perished on the ship, so we always had Titanic in mind when we set out to create educational virtual experiences.”

Design Deep Dive
While the team set out to make the most immersive and accurate experience possible, they found that the Titanic as it exists today is very badly degraded as a result of marine life to the crushing weight of the upper decks.

“We decided to make our digital Titanic shipwreck based on information and surveys from 1986 – 1987, when the wreck was better preserved and easier to explore,” Whelan explains. “Our digital exterior of the wreck from this period is quite accurate. For the interior of the shipwreck, we had to mix information from later dives and, in some cases, make an educated call on the state of preservation of some of the bedrooms that haven’t been explored before. We wanted to open up as much of the ship as possible, allowing people to freely explore. Our interpretation of areas that no ROV has been before will be available to view inside Titanic VR.

Thanks to a sandbox environment, players will be able to follow their curiosity and discover at their own pace, while audio cues add a narrative layer to the game’s mechanics. Immersive VR Education even worked with the BBC Archives to weave original recordings of survivor stories into the experience.

“Emotion is everything when it comes to creating good VR experiences,” Whelan adds. During Apollo 11 VR development, we discovered very early on that one of the best ways to elicit an emotional response is through the use of audio and music.”

Just as Apollo 11 VR mixed authentic astronaut testimony with a moving soundtrack, Immersive VR Education worked with the BBC Archives to weave original recordings of survivor stories into the experience alongside a haunting score.

On the Horizon
While the game is available to play on Rift today, it’s only half of the full Titanic VR experience. Immersive VR Education also plans to release an animated VR film that lets you experience the sinking of the ship from a survivor’s perspective. Look for this free DLC to hit in early 2018.

Beyond its own original content, the developer is working on Engage, an educational VR platform that will empower educators to create their own content and hold classes in VR. They’re also collaborating with the BBC on a World War II experience. Whelan wasn’t able to go into details, but he did share that the new title is “shaping up to be quite special.”

Stay tuned for future updates from the Immersive VR Education team, and explore the depths of Titanic VR on Rift today.

— The Oculus Team