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“Synchronized sabering” in perfection: First virtual reality tournament at Hof University

At the beginning of November, 15 enthusiasts gathered in the new virtual reality (VR) lab at Hof University of Applied Sciences to compete in sports. “Beat Saber” is one of the most popular games for virtual reality in the field of eSports. Prof. Dr. René Peinl explains the game.

“Beat Saber” – the VR game is easy to learn even for newcomers (video below); Image: Hof University of Applied Sciences

Prof. Peinl, what is the appeal of “Beat Saber”?

“The game combines groovy rhythms with sporty aspects. The player must use his virtual lightsabers to cut up approaching blocks in time to the music, paying attention to the direction indicated and using the right hand. This gameplay is very easy to learn, so it was no problem for participants without any VR or Beat Saber experience to take part.”

And then how is the winner or victor determined?

“In the preliminary round with the duration of three songs, the game was played at the “easy” level, so that everyone had a fair chance to come along. In the intermediate round, with only eight participants, the level of difficulty was increased and a few professionals quickly emerged during the three more songs, whose scores the other participants could not match. In the final with the remaining four candidates, the level of difficulty was increased to “hard” and by then all the candidates were sweating. After three more songs, the winner was determined

Prof. Dr. René Peinl (left) and VR Lab Director Prof. Dr. Sebastian Leuoth (right) with the three successful participants of the tournament; Ronny Grebner (1st Place), Katrin Koslowski (2nd Place) und Cian Treanor (3rd Place)Source: Hof University of Applied Sciences

Those who still had reserves then could play one song each on “Expert” and the highest difficulty level “Expert+” at the end against the iisys champion Tobias Wirth, who is also a tutor in the course “Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality” and was even able to put the tournament winner in his place.”

That sounds like a successful event, in which fun was not neglected either…

“Absolutely. As organizers, Prof. Dr. Sebastian Leuoth as lab manager of the VR lab and I (scientific director of the research institute iisys as well as lecturer of the lecture “Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality”) could be highly satisfied with this experiment.”

What was the feedback from participants?

“One participant, who came in second place, reported back that evening saying, “I would like to thank everyone for a truly spectacular afternoon! We were also able to meet a lot of new people in the process and it was a lot of fun.” She herself had shown that women can act on an equal footing with the male participants and, quite incidentally, had bravely defended the honor of the Faculty of Economics against the superiority of the computer science students.”

Perhaps another eSports team is forming here at our university. In any case, contact details were exchanged between the finalists immediately after the tournament and initial arrangements were made for joint activities.”

Prof. Dr. René Peinl

What is the next step in the field of virtual reality at the university?

“The new VR lab in room B.110 has thus already passed its baptism of fire before its final completion. However, lab manager Prof. Sebastian Leuoth wants to expand it even further and, among other things, improve the possibility for viewers to participate in the VR experiences with additional screens. Already now, however, there is the possibility for interested people at the university, but also for companies, to gain their own first experiences with virtual reality: One can evaluate use cases and try out a total of eight different headsets in the price segment from 400€ to 5000€. Two project applications have also been submitted for virtual reality in care and VR learning scenarios for repairing electronic devices, the implementation of which could start in spring 2023 if approved.”

“Beat Saber” – the game in action

Prof. Dr. Rene Peinl
Rainer Krauß

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