Launched alongside the October 2014 Premium Membership offer, but available to all SL users, is the Haunted Halloween Tour, the latest offering from the Lab to feature Experience Keys, and one that appears to be specifically geared towards the Oculus Rift.
The tour can be accessed via the Lab’s Portal Park – simply go through the gate marked “Halloween” following your arrival. The path will lead you to the access point, with gateways available for those with and those without an Oculus headset (the latter obviously requiring the Oculus Rift project viewer).
Whichever one you take (the actual tours are more-or-less the same), the first time you do so, you’ll be required to grant the experience the right to carry out certain actions on your avatar (perhaps most noticeably in this case, control your camera). Once you have done so, you’ll be transported to the experience area, where you’ll be invited to take a tour of a veritable house of horror.
This is achieved by seating yourself in your very own coffin, which will take control of your camera and shift your view to something of a “first person” perspective. After a brief pause, you’ll then ascend a hillside stairway through thunder and rain to the house itself before (literally) plunging inside.
I shan’t reveal much of what lies inside the house, other than given the theme, expect the usual mix of screams, bumps, ghouls, body parts and so on – and if you’re very lucky the odd Linden and / or Mole or two, some of whom might be there to menace, while others might be simply …. hanging around.
This is very much an Experience geared towards the Oculus Rift, with the coffin allowing the awkwardness of trying to navigate oneself through the house while wearing one eliminated (and which also ensures you keep to the designated path). As such, the ride does feature a lot of things rushing at you (heads, knife-welding asylum patients and so on), and well as sudden panning, zooming and tipping to add to the experience.
For those with an Oculus, I expect this does work rather well; I’m just not sure the approach works when taking the “non-Oculus” version of the ride. This isn’t to critique the Lab for providing an Oculus focused experience; they’ve put time and effort into getting the viewer to work with the headset and so a demonstrator is only right and proper. It’s just that it leaves the tour somewhat dry if you don’t have a headset. Or at least it did for me – I confess found myself admiring the use of materials and projectors far more than anything else as I was carried around the place!
Oh, and a word of warning to those on the non-Oculus ride: it might be an idea not to try to cam around too much in order to take snaps – on two occasions when I did, I found myself chucked out of my coffin and returned to the arrival / start point below the house …
Overall, the ride lasts for around 8 minutes, and at the end of it, on stepping out of your coffin, you’ll be returned to the Portal Park (as you will be if you stand up at any point during the ride).
- Linden Lab Portal Park (use the Halloween gate on your arrival)