When you think about Virtual Reality and all the things you can do, who you can become, and even the places you can visit, there is something about the immersion it brings. But there has been something that really hasn’t been able to experience in Virtual Reality and that is skydiving. Sure, being able to fly or be at certain heights can give you a sense of the scope of things, but being able to be in the air as you try to land without crashing or hitting something along the way has not really been available. So does developer VaxisStudios give us the experience of skydiving from the comfort of our own homes? Let’s find out with CanopySim for PCVR.
CanopySim is a first of its kind Skydive Landing Simulator that will teach real-life canopy techniques for anyone wanting to experience the thrill of skydiving. So before we get started, there will be a few things that you will want to do before you dive into your skydive experience. First, you may want to make sure you are sitting. For those who may be new to Virtual Reality or have the experience, you can stand up, but CanopySim is really designed to be a seating experience. Second, by default, all the volumes are up. So sometimes the music may be a little loud for some which are easily adjusted through the settings in the menu. And Third, you may want to calibrate often for the best experience. Now, that we have that stated, let’s continue on.
I played CanopySim on the Oculus Rift S and when you first start out, you have a couple of options. To your left, is your calibrate, tutorial and options. The center is the level that is selected, the adjustments for the wind speed and wind directions, along with fly, and the newest option of adding rings to the experience. To the right, are the levels you can select from. We have the Beach with both day and night experiences, the Stadium, Dark City with Erebus and Icarus levels, and then Liberty Island. So before you start jumping, please go through the tutorial as you will really get a sense of how to control the canopy while you are falling with only you, your parachute, the wind, and your prayers to guide you.
Of course, the object here is to really enjoy the view and try to land on the target. As simple as it sounds, there might be a good chance that based on if you adjusted the wind speed and/or direction, or regardless if you went through the training, that you may crash or land. I know, 50/50 shot. But, I will say this is that regardless of the level that you select, it really is quite a view. For example, when you select the Beach level, there is just this little island with a volcano all surrounded by water. You would think that, just like I did, you go this and you may be right. But depending on how many of the turns you make, you can easily miss the targets. And yes, I did try to land in the volcano and was successful at doing so. For those wanting to know, no, you do not burn into an overcooked smore, but like any of the times that you may crash and burn, you are given the chance to select another level or retry the jump.
When you do the level Liberty Island, it’s you dropping to landing as you pass by the Statue of Liberty. There is just something as you are passing the statue by and able to take the time to just look at the amount of detail that went into the statue that makes you appreciate the hard work. Just don’t appreciate it too much and not paying attention as you can hit the statue at different heights and then have to retry again.
But the newest update brought the ability to spawn rings while you play which is fun as it helps you gain a better understanding of your canopy controls. You don’t get penalized for not hitting all the rings, but this added feature adds to the experience rather than taking away from it.
But there is something to say about skydiving at night as you are able to see the city light up and just feel alive. The thing with the Dark City level is that you have to be able to find where the landing is and there are going to be many times that you will hit the buildings and over miss the landings only because you will need to find them. But luckily, if you look in the night sky and follow some glowing lights, you just might be able to find your target.
But I think that my favorite level is the Stadium. There is just something about trying to land in a stadium with the roar of the crowd cheering you on.
Let’s talk about the sound and the graphics. Details in the Statue of Liberty close up does look really good. There were times like in the tutorial and seeing the world around me. To add to the experience, I had a fan pointed at me and just felt like I was able to put everything else behind me. Seeing the blue water surrounding the beach and even the nightlife of the dark city came alive. With the sound, once the music volume was lowered, it did have this balance about it that made my experience worthwhile.
There are some things that I would love to see added. For one, some of the details in the background are just there. For example at the Stadium level, as you are falling, you can see the city. It would be awesome to see the cars move. Seeing the smoke from the smokestack move with the wind depending on the wind speed and direction would be a good addition and even seeing the Ferris wheel rotate would make everything come alive even more. Adding sharks or other marine life to the water would add the sense of even more excitement if you are heading to the water and you see a great white shark swimming around. More locations would be awesome such as Alcatraz or other famous landmarks. It would be really cool if somehow Google Earth could be incorporated so that we can pick anywhere in the world to jump and try to land such as the Eiffel Tower or the Great Wall of China. Free falling would also be an amazing experience here and maybe the addition of leaderboards to see who had the best jump. I do know that the developer is indeed working hard on some of these and cannot wait to see what they add in future updates.
CanopySim shows that when you have a passion for something, to keep with it. It shows that when we look hard for something and don’t find it, that sometimes we need to take that passion and make it into a reality. And it shows that if we follow our dreams of that passion, anything can become a possibility.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy.