VRHQ Hamburg: meeting point for virtual worlds

Amusement arcade and developer offices

Not only the VR nerds have their premises here and a location-based version of the shooter Tower Tag in the arcade. Other studios and tinkerers are also working on their projects in the premises at Sandtorkai on several angled floors. This includes, for example, the spatial sound mixing at Double Shot Audio or the association nextReality.Hamburg, which is holding its “XRcon” with awards for the annual developer contest in November. Pok√©mon GO manufacturer Niantic now also has an office next door.

A publicly accessible VR arcade with event space is located on the ground floor. There you can visit various attractions for around 29 euros with a single ticket (Access Pass) (depending on the discount offer, this can also be cheaper). In addition to historical VR exhibits such as the early “Socket HMD” headset by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey, a cable car gondola that stands around in the corner of the hall is a bit surreal – without any rope or suspension.

Colourful mix

Do you fancy a cable car without a rope? (Skyride)

In it you put a VR headset on and can examine 360-degree drone recordings from the company Spherie, so that you virtually float through Hamburg. Other attractions include, for example, a VR concert (Noys VR), a VR cinema with various 360-degree content (Spice VR) or a scientific journey through the DESY laboratory (The Gate). The next stop on our tour through the VRHQ led to the shared offices: Since our visit was a few weeks ago, not too many tenants had returned from the home office. Already back on site was “Schlangenmensch” and world record holder Leilani Franco, who was just fine-tuning recorded motion capture data in front of the monitor.

Adventurous contortions

Leilani Franco tinkered with her during our visit "Digital Circus" of motion capture recordings.

Leilani Franco worked on motion capture recordings for her “Digital Circus”.

Of course, not all phases of her work take place at the desk or in front of the computer: next door was her suit ready, with which she picks up smooth movements or knots in border areas of human movement. After appearances at Cirque du Soleil or in talent shows, she shifted her focus more to film production such as the short film Eelan or virtual reality installations at the VRHam festival! In that year she finally founded the motion capture company Digital Circus, which also processes animated characters in Blender, the Unreal Engine, Unity or Maya.