Master of Shapes | VR Go-Karts!

  • Overview
  • Resources
  • Transcript

Learn how interactive design studio Master of Shapes created their VR Go-Kart experience using an Intel® NUC powered by an AMD* Radeon* RX Vega GPU and an Intel® Core™ i7 processor!

Why do kids and adults love amusement parks? Well, they're all about fun and exhilarating experiences. We love that nostalgic feeling of seeing colorful Ferris wheels and hearing familiar theme park tunes and eating fried foods on sticks. But how much have amusement parks really changed in the last 20 years? What if, when you went to an amusement park, you could enter a new world altogether?– where everything looks different, down to the colors of the roads and cars.

We'd like to introduce a new type of fun– virtual reality go-karts, an experience like nothing you've seen before. This adventure is made possible with Intel technology, together with Master of Shapes, who created a VR game, where you could drive a go-kart in real-time while wearing a VR headset. If you see yourself moving in VR but don't feel yourself moving in real life, it can get very disorienting and cause motion sickness. And this is one of the problems that VR Kart solves.

The process of creating this experience started with gathering an accurate scan of a real indoor track. This way, the VR world would exactly match the layout of the course. The team used a FARO X130 Lidar scanner to get a millimeter-accurate 3D model. The file they came away with is made of millions of points. Next is a meshing process, which converts the point cloud into a 3D model. They can then further optimize and import it into their game engine, as an accurate reference.

Next, they used an electric go cart and made modifications to it to make it work in VR. They also made it possible to power the computer that runs the VR game. The computer used to run the game is the Intel NUC, because it's quite powerful for such a small form factor. Not only did they need to run the computer, but they also needed to handle a VR headset as well as get data from the cart itself. This required adding physical sensors.

For this, they used an Arduino-compatible board, called the Teensy, and some potentiometers. They rigged the potentiometers in a way so that they could read the steering angle as well as the braking gas pedals. For tracking, they used an IR motion capture approach from a company called Black Tracks. By putting IR markers on the actual go cart, they were able to track it with highly accurate positioning.

They placed 28 cameras around the course, to ensure the accuracy of their coverage. Their tracking solution also used IR motion capture cameras, provided by Black Tracks. So take a look at the entire setup. You have the main server here that broadcasts all known cart positions and is able to start games and can stop carts remotely, the optical tracking solutions placed around the go cart track. And you have the VR carts, where the game is being rendered locally on each individual cart, for the lowest possible latency.

The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo level called Midnight Overdrive. The scene is equipped with particle fire, smoke vents, and power-ups. The power-ups speed up and slow down the actual go cart, when you hit them. They even created custom assets inside the Houdini engine, allowing for the system to quickly populate the city environment.

The driver sees the entire world, including full physical feedback, from the actual go cart. When you turn the wheel, the wheel turns in the game. When you press the throttle or brake in real-life, you also see the same visual feedback in the virtual world. The game uses Unreal Engine and utilizes the Vulkan rendering pipeline to take advantage of the onboard AMD Vega card on the Intel NUC. The final experience will give any amusement park a run for its money.

Thanks for watching. To learn more about the project, Master of Shapes, or any Intel technologies we mentioned, see the links provided.