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Eye-popping VR apps to deeply reconnect with nature

VR allows us to experience even the most abstract situations, especially when we want to step into someone else’s shoes. It’s mainly the domain of games and simulators, as they grow more immersive and even broader in terms of world-creating and, for example, resembling real nature.

While most of the commercial gaming industry is focused on the tactics, arcade, or creative aspects, some – that we can easily find online – remain a little different. Sometimes offbeat, or kind of new agey, but mostly just inventive, they often tend to present specific topics in new ways, that help them present a specific statement or point of view.

But hey, what can be more current and relevant right now if not wildlife protection and climate change counteraction? Yes – you know it, we know it and other VR studios know it as well. That’s why we’ve decided to present you three interesting examples of applications that allow us to reconnect with nature in the most personal, making a potential impact on entertainment, as well as environmental education.

From this article you will learn:

– about interesting solutions in creating immersive VR games,
– how VR applications can convey pro-ecological values,
– how development studios adapt the type of application to the intended end result, balancing between the audiovisual experience and an adventure supported by a specific story.

We are going to start big, with an award-winning product. Tree VR is… Well, we can call it a simulator, but maybe this term isn’t accurate enough. Anyways, as you might have already guessed, this game allows us to become a tree, “from a seedling to its fullest form and witness its fate firsthand”, as HTC puts it.

Yes, it is and it’s the most powerful feature of this project, because what will make you play this kind of game if not the message: “everyone can see now how does it feel to be a tree”. It is absolutely tempting but not like a regular game. That’s why the designers and developers made it more of a “try it once or twice” type of app, creating rather short gameplay that won’t leave most of us bored to death. In the end, even if magnificent, the life of a tree is not that dynamic.

Now, for even more relaxation, let’s hop into the world of Nature Treks VR. This Oculus Quest game is also something between entertainment and, let’s say, experience. In fact, this project makes it even further in terms of binding users and wildlife together. Maybe because it successfully shows how diverse and stunning the Earth environments can be.

There is a cosmic environment too, as one of the available levels is set literally in space. Apart from that one, there are also 14 other environments with more than 500 locations, as well as different times of day and weather conditions.

One important thing: the creators behind this product have made it clear that every piece of it is crafted carefully (with color and sound design, surface qualities, and more) to evoke different emotions. This way, Nature Treks VR became a therapeutic adventure, giving us a chance to interact with many realistic plants and animals, plus giving us a chance to design areas freely with simple (but effective) editor mode. It’s pretty easy to imagine this game as a great educational product for environmental schooling.

Now, how about a trip to Greenland?

Lastly, let’s talk about covering real issues with realistic 3D models and documentary-like gameplay. This is exactly what Greenland Melting is doing while teaching us about the current climate and environmental situation.

Through this experience, you follow two NASA scientists who explain the process of studying why the glaciers in Greenland are melting. (…) Gain access to NASA scientists as they conduct groundbreaking research into a transforming landscape with ramifications for the entire world. – Greenland Melting on Steam

What’s our part in this expedition? To see for ourselves what kind of damage are we making by our everyday actions – the market mechanisms, overall lifestyle and priorities choices. Once we look at this through the game, we can start wondering about how could it possibly be worth it. And that’s the power of Greenland Melting.

Well, that’s all for this time. Feel free to follow Giant Lazer on Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. We are making an environmental-themed mobile app ourselves. It’s called Trash Rage AR and it’s coming soon.