Virtual reality has dabbled with the concept of in-VR cameras before. Usually, they’re of the streaming variety: a faux-prop camera that you can set up in the virtual space and use to record your interactions from inside VR for your Twitch audience. But the act of in-VR photography, such as the ones seen in newer videogame “photo modes” or creative use of camera angles, is sorely missed. But thanks to HTC Vive’s new Tracker technology, in-VR photography isn’t so unrealizable anymore.
Created by interactive production and design studio dotdotdash, the D3-U seeks to solve our in-VR photographic needs. It’s a surprisingly tangible object—as in something you actually hold in your hands—and can utilize to take in-game photos while in VR, rather than manipulating yet another digital object in the environment. In order to showcase D3-U’s potential, dotdotdash even developed a game alongside it: the surreal-looking Exoplanet, an exploratory experience.
Exoplanet looks aesthetically similar to another perfectly color coordinated space-bound game (*coughs* the ill-fated No Man’s Sky *cough*). In Exoplanet, you investigate the mysterious lifeform Arche from the planet Kepler 22-b. To fully observe Arche, the player must swap out miscellaneous photo filters from the D3-U (x-ray, thermal, etc.). And by the end of your in-VR, Pokémon Snap-like quest, snapshots are printed in real-time for you to admire beyond the limitations of virtual reality, or a folder on your desktop.
The D3-U likely won’t be coming to a store near you—it’s more of a proof-of-concept to see what’s possible with the Vive Tracker. But in the off chance it becomes a reality, stay tuned to dotdotdash’s website for updates.