VRcade’s The Nightmare Machine (Kickstarter Campaign)


Aiming to be the leader in Virtual Reality horror experiences is the immersive VR haunted house in Seattle called ‘The Nightmare Machine’ which promises to be one of the most terrifying events this Halloween. But they need some assistance raising money to achieve the type of scale on a large public level that the project is attempting. The goal is $70,000 within a 30 day period which is quite the challenge, and the team will need to hustle every single day in order to accomplish it.

Yet the focus of the project looks good though, which is to lower the massive barriers of entry in VR that are associated with high hardware costs and provide people with a terrifying 5 minutes of nightmare-inducing experiences. This type of fidelity and range is usually only seen in military research facilities and university labs, like the MxR Lab at USC. And, their custom-built head mounted displays bring out this technology into the reach of the public ready to scare the pants off of anyone willing to put on the VR goggles.

The headsets are completely wireless, multi-player and contain immersive binaural audio inside. A motion sensing system has also been integrated that can track movements of the users within hundreds of square feet. Their platform is a combination of custom in-house and 3rd party hardware along with a slick software framework. The technology looks amazing, and the prizes given out through the Kickstarter are cool too! For example, anyone who puts in $175 or more gets to have their head 3D scanned and inserted into the Nightmare Machine. The rest of the prices include tickets to the October showcase where demos of the VR experience will be shown.

Game Jams will be hosted at the VRcade headquarters in Seattle throughout the months of August, September, and October allowing indie game developers to create short, intelligently terrifying experiences that will debut in October at the opening event at the EMP Museum located right underneath the Space Needle. Already, Orange County VR held the first Game Jam in Irvine, California where several horrific experiences were manifested during a weekend long hackathon; including this non-lethal electric chair.

Overall, the Nightmare Machine has an extremely entertaining virtual reality experience that will be sure to gather some great user reactions. The Kickstarter goal is a little steep though, but VR games have had great success crowdfunding in the past. In addition, all the prizes over $1 include tickets to the VRCade. However, this is limited to those who can travel to the event in Seattle. Perhaps, they should release an update with some additional prizes that are more accessible to VR enthusiasts all over the world. For instance releasing some VR demos that are created during the Game Jams would give backers more incentive to support the project. And maybe a twist on the 3D scanning prize can be modified to include the names of backers somewhere in the game, like the credits, so they don’t have to travel to Seattle for data to be added. Either way, this virtual reality experience is worth supporting; especially after seeing what they have already accomplished so far.

6 thoughts on “VRcade’s The Nightmare Machine (Kickstarter Campaign)

  1. Cool technology and I’d love to go out there and try it out, but what a liability nightmare. Four people with VR headsets running around a room sounds like an accident waiting to happen. Not only does this put the guests in danger but they’re probably going to end up with broken headsets also. Not trying to be negative but I’ve worked haunts and those were the first thing to pop into my mind.

    1. If the software is smart enough, you could path the people away from each other, separating them. Might give some non-euclidean geometry, but if done correctly, they wouldn’t be near each other. When confronted with a VR wall, people will tend to not walk through it…

    2. My thoughts exactly. They would need to make the headsets more rugged as it will take a lot of abuse (intentionally, or not) from the end users. I’d like to see how to would manage the positioning of other participants so that it is accurate (like if they can see other people in the VR, that means there really is someone in front of them).

      1. I actually came back to watch the video again because it was bugging me. I assume they’re using some kind of Kinect like scanner to create an interface so you could ‘see’ the other people in your party in the rendered environment. I’d also assume that the VR environment is mapped to the real world room so folks don’t walk into real walls or anything. I still think the equipment will get abused. People go nuts in haunts and there are constant repairs. I think this is more of a PR stunt for their VR technology than an actual for profit haunt. It looks totally awesome.

        1. Could just be using a gyro and accelerometer combo – I had to re-watch some of it, too…it doesn’t look like it’s watching limbs, just head movement.

          Looks like a cool project, though. The deadline looks like a nightmare, too!

        2. Ha! would be funny to run into a real life wall with those on.

          Never the less, even though a wall may appear in the VR, nothing is stopping you from continuing on walking (or am I wrong? And yes, if I had the chance to try that I would like to walk through a wall.) This would pose a big problem with positioning.

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