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Watch Will.I.Am Demo this VR Turret Simulator

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Flying high under a bomber and blasting fools out of the air is the name of the game.

VR On The Lot, a virtual reality industry conference at Paramount Pictures Studio, included a packed schedule of top Hollywood talent and executives addressing the future of entertainment and VR.

During day one of the Hollywood conference, Black Eyed Peas frontman, will.i.am, took the stage to urge other artists in experimenting with the new medium for their art. The musician also revealed he is working on a VR music experience for the Black Eyed Peas that won’t be just “us performing in front of a 360 camera.”

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After speaking with attendees, will.i.am made his away around the demo room floor, stopping at a prominently placed turret contraption to take it for a spin.

The VR turret simulator is the latest work from Two Bit Circus and Digital Domain that places you inside a virtual gunner turret underneath a B-17 Flying Fortress bomber as you spin and tilt your aim through the sky to blast enemy aircraft out of the air.

The physical structure was built in five weeks by Two Bit Circus in collaboration with Digital Domain who created the virtual game experience for the HTC Vive.

The VR experience, dubbed Gunner, was not without its challenges that accompany building a custom “chair” that mimics a Boeing B-17 ball turret. The mechanics of the project were a new frontier for Technical Director Derek Crosby of Digital Domain, but the team pulled it off and had attendees spinning all day long.

While on a cutting-edge platform, Digital Domain’s Creative Director Julian Sarmiento worked with writer Avery Wheless to construct a storyline rooted in historical context. All of this was supervised under Digital Domain’s Director of Creative Content, Wayne Kennedy, resulting in an experience cinematically beautiful, mechanically innovative, and historically informative.

Two Bit Circus are somewhat like magicians when it comes to adding physical experiences to virtual reality, having been responsible for creating Indy car racing simulators and NFL rumble installations at Verizon retail stores.

DreamWorks Animation teamed up with Digital Domain back in July to produce VR experiences for the family entertainment company’s most iconic and legendary characters, Kung Fu Panda and Shrek.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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