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Virtual reality has finally made it awesome to swing an imaginary lightsaber around in your living room, and you don’t even have to make the wooshing noises yourself.

Industrial Light & Magic — the visual-effects studio responsible for the bringing films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens to life — has released a virtual-reality experience from its ILMxLab experimental-technologies team. Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine is a 10-minute story that has Han Solo and R2-D2 dropping off a special delivery for you. Trials on Tatooine is free, and it launched today on the Steam digital-distribution store.

I hopped into my Vive and fired up the SteamVR interface to take on my destiny as a Jedi. You can watch the results for yourself in the video below:

Trials on Tatooine is very short, and it isn’t really indicative of what gaming is like in VR. Instead, this is the first public experiment from ILMxLab’s efforts to tell stories in a simulation.


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The company put a lot of energy into making the world feel realistic, which involved working closely with Lucasfilm and Skywalker Sound. But then ILMxLab also focused on ensuring the player’s interaction with the Han Solo character and actions like fixing the ship all made sense and felt fun.

The studio first showed off Trials on Tatooine at the Game Developer’s Conference in March. At that event, it talked about some of its design challenges, including faking a 24-frames-per-second lightsaber in a VR game that needs to run at 90 frames per second to keep players feeling comfortable.

Moving forward, ILM is planning to take what it has learned from Trials on Tatooine and apply it to new experiences for VR, AR, and other technologies yet to come.

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