Realworld Lets You Explore Real World Spaces in VR Via Hand Tracking
While Google Earth VR is one of the best virtual reality exploration apps, it is only available on PC VR. A newly announced app that is still in development offers a great alternative for exploring the actual world from a standalone VR headset while also connecting with friends.
Created by Cubic VR, Realworld allows you to explore the real world in 3D splendor. Realworld is very much like Google Earth but uses Bing Maps instead of Google Maps.
It will be natively available on Oculus Quest but plans are underway for mobile VR support as well as support for mixed reality devices. Eventually, the app wants to make it possible for users to visit locations in real-life and even see notes and markups left by other users in Realworld. It will also be possible to use Augmented Reality to look up and see virtual reality users from across the world.
Realworld captures part of the magic that you would experience with the Google Earth VR. The 3D world in Realworld does not entirely surround the user but appears within a delimited area on a tabletop which could be as a result of the limited computing power of the standalone VR headsets. However, users in Realworld are still able to move into the map and adjust the proportions as they wish. It is like a Google Earth VR experience condensed down to a tabletop to enable the rendering of this kind of information. Users can easily zoom the view in and out using a “pinch” type gesture. The app has been developed for Quest and other XR platforms.
A trailer released by Realworld developer Cubic VR shows that users on the platform can “grab” one another as the experience is a multiplayer. They are even able to shrink or grow a user if they want a different perspective on the environment. As the table is too small, users can begin from a space -style continental view before smoothly zooming all the way down the street level. However, the table format still gives users a very limited scope which deprives the Realworld experience of the grand scale of the environment that they would get with Google Earth.
Realworld still allows users to go “inside” the street view perspective instantly like a 360-photo just as they would in Wander. In this case, the table transforms into a sort of 3D map with to-scale models of the locations and users can subsequently teleport down to view all that’s around them if they wish to. Realworld also allows users to sketch onto the real world and draw things using 3D pens or drag and drop your own 3D models directly onto the world itself which gives users lots of interesting possibilities and a lot more including built-in streaming support, animation features and sticky notes. The trailer above hints at a lot more interesting features.
Some of these are features that you won’t even find on Google Earth VR. The multi-user support is undoubtedly the best new feature on Realworld. While Google Earth VR takes you on a solo trip, Realworld allows you to explore the world together with your friends. The developer Cubic VR has kept with the times and is also providing support for Quest hand tracking so users can opt to safely put aside their Touch controllers, something new VR enthusiasts will find quite appealing.
Other things you can do in Realworld include importing 3D models and setting them in the landscape, taking photos and videos, livestreaming among others. Like in Google Earth VR, you can call the Street View of a location and look around it in 360 degrees.
Realworld Uses Same 3D Data as Microsoft Flight Simulator
Realworld gets its 3D maps from Microsoft’s map service Bing Maps instead of Google Maps. It therefore leverages the same data as the Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Realworld is still under development and users can register for a beta test and a newsletter from its official website. For now, it is being developed for Oculus Quest although versions for PC VR and AR headsets such as the HoloLens 2 and smartphone AR are in the test phase.
If you don’t have a VR-ready PC with which to explore the world with Google Earth VR, you can still use the Wander Quest app. However, this only supports Street View but like Realworld, it supports a multi-user mode.