Make your Game of Thrones dreams come true with this VR dragon

It’s hard to look majestic when you’re straddling a wooden dragon in a conference space, but that’s not stopping these people from giving it their best effort.

Mixing a VR game with a physical, 20-foot dragon-shaped controller, Abhishek Singh’s How To Fly Your Dragon sees users sit atop a handcrafted beast, pulling its reins to direct movement through a virtual landscape of floating islands.

As you can see from the below video, the virtual component looks to be a fun swirl of tailspins around a polygonal world. The real-life portion, however, is a somewhat anti-climactic vision of lanyard-bedecked professions rocking backwards and forwards on a pink and red seesaw.

In a generously titled VRScout article, The Closest You’ll Get To Flying An Actual Dragon, Singh explains that it took him three weeks to create the experience, most of which was spent making the virtual component of the dragon-ride. “In its current form the game is all about exploration,” he explains, “where you are seated atop this magnificent beast soaring through a magical and mythical land of floating islands, canyons, volcanoes and strange landscapes.”

Singh says the experience is a hit with children, although he also admits it’s fun to see an adult “begrudgingly give up his slot in the line because a kid wants to get on first”.

Goofiness aside, the physical dragon is a great example of how important physical set design can be to virtual reality. Installations that plonk a user in a room full of other people, then ask them to feel vulnerable by putting a headset on, often fail to create any sense of immersion. Some of the best VR I’ve tried has hinged on set design, from cell-like rooms to tables arranged like a restaurant.

“People always ask why I added the wings to the physical dragon, since they don’t really do anything,” says Singh. “However for me the experience begins way before the user even puts on the headset. When they enter the room and see this dragon throne waiting for them it’s immediately empowering, magical and exciting, and those are emotions that I want users to carry with them into the virtual world as well.”

You might not get to rain fire on your enemies, but this is probably the closest you’ll get to being a mother of dragons until the next series of Game of Thrones.

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