The Electronauts VR Music App Brings Rhythm to the World of Virtual Reality
Survios are a well-known name in the VR community so when the company announced it was bringing music gaming to virtual reality the industry’s ears perked up in attention. Electronauts is the result of that effort and, if early impressions are trustworthy, it looks like Electronauts successfully marries two vastly different worlds – video games and music editing – in an experience that is as unique as it is compelling.
Electronauts allows gamers to make their own music, remix popular tracks made by others, and even perform the music.
Popular musicians with music on Electronauts include The Chain Smokers, Odesza, and Steve Aoki among many others, giving gamers a wide selection in what type of music they’d like to use.
Survios brags about what it calls the “Music Reality Engine,” its name for the tech behind what makes Electronauts possible and, indeed, in practice reviewers have noted the app is quite responsive – a huge factor in a game that allows you to manipulate audio.
If the game doesn’t register what you did, nothing will change and you’ll be the first to know it so control and game optimization are hugely important as VentureBeat highlights.
In an interview with the website, Survios CEO Nathan Burba said of the Music Reality Engine: “You can take a song by the Chainsmokers, ‘Roses,’ and determine when the different elements in the song will play…It’s like you are playing inside a song.”
The engine is so finely tuned that any latencies that occur between the game and a player’s headphones are minimized such that the player always feels like they are on tempo in the game – again, a hugely important thing for a rhythm game.
The process behind this is called “quantization” and Burba discussed it at length with VentureBeat.
A process with applications outside of rhythm games, quantization is at the core of Electronauts’ gameplay. The heart of Electronauts is in using what Burba calls “stems” of a track from the original musician.
These stems can then be manipulated by the player such as by adding a drop where one didn’t exist or by eliminating the vocals entirely.
It is a process akin to the “kinds of arranging that a composer normally does — you can rearrange a song at will. You can take a song that never even had a drop and add one that sounds correct and relevant to the song, even though it was never there, to begin with. You can play with all these pieces like they’re Legos.”
This on-the-fly track construction is meant to emphasize the organic nature of music production and allows players to express their inspiration in a way that it is part game and part improvisation session.
One of the huge draws to Electronauts for gamers that enjoy rhythm games is how seamless the manipulation and track creation is. That the whole process has transformed itself into a video game is only more appealing to people who love and appreciate music Burba emphasizes.
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- August 8, 2018