What is VR good for, other than games?
If you're asking that question, you've probably never tried Tilt Brush. We called it one of the most amazing things you could do with an HTC Vive headset, and today it's finally coming to the Oculus Rift as well.
Tilt Brush defies description even more than most VR experiences, but basically you paint in 3D. But when I say "paint," I don't just mean oily brush strokes on canvas -- you can also paint with light, or fire, or even music.
You can spread your hands apart to make the entire world larger, to put some fine touches on your work, or shrink it down to paint the sky and stars that live far above. And because these VR headsets track you as you move around, you can lean into a painting to discover the artist created an entire world inside, or -- my favorite -- literally look through the eyes of an artist by placing your face into their self-portrait.
If you're already familiar with Tilt Brush, though, don't expect anything new: I got to try the Oculus version at Google's SF headquarters last week (yes, Google owns Tilt Brush), and the only differences are around the fact you'll be using the Oculus Touch motion controllers instead of the HTC Vive's wands. There wasn't even a hint of the multiplayer mode that Google teased last September.
The only advantage with Oculus: Thanks to the Touch's touchscreen-like capacitive surfaces, you can see a preview of what will happen just by resting your finger on a button, without having to press it down. You can also now save your color palette when you save a sketch, but Google says that's coming to the HTC Vive version today as well.
Now that Google's VR painting app is coming to Oculus, when should we expect it for Google's own VR headsets? Tilt Brush product manager Elisabeth Morant won't say, only hinting that Google's Daydream probably won't be next -- because it uses a three-degree-of-freedom tracking system for its controller, instead of the six degrees of freedom that Tilt Brush requires to precisely aim a paintbrush.
The Oculus version of Tilt Brush will cost $30 (£23, roughly AU$40), the same as for the HTC Vive. Just remember you'll also need the optional Oculus Touch controllers to use it.