Now available on Viveport, Golden Gate from dSky allows you to explore a recreated San Francisco in miniature, swoop around famous landmarks and get up close and personal with highly detailed buildings.
Tell us who you are, and what your role is at dSky?
Hello Vive community! My name is Jared Bowns and I am the Director of Community Engagement for dSky. We’re an indie shop focused on creating VR experiences for all major platforms, though we are particularly excited about the Vive. We’ve been operating in this world since the beginning and continue to believe in the potential that VR has to change the world.
Tell us about Golden Gate - it’s a scale model of San Francisco. What can you do inside the app?
Golden Gate enables you to explore and teleport freely around a miniature scale model of the magical city of San Francisco, including models of more than 80,000 buildings in the city with high detail for key points of interest. Even at 1:200 scale, this city is the explorable size of a gymnasium. You can fly around or teleport to all of SF’s most interesting locations like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and AT&T Park among others. At the bare minimum, it is fun as hell to fly around like Iron Man.
What inspired you to create (or recreate) a world that’s outside your window?
At dSky, we are really interested in creating apps and experiences that allow exploration of places only previously possible in our imaginations. Taking the conceptual and leveraging the power of presence in VR to craft something unique excites us greatly. We’re working on some other apps where you can explore Mars from the perspective of the rover and directly observe the laws of electromagnetism up close.
You made an update to Golden Gate before launching on Viveport. What's new?
A lot of time was spent on dialing in the performance of the application and getting controller support for the Vive. A lot more detail has been added for the main locations within the app to provide more of an atmosphere. We also spent a lot of time working out a magical scale at which to change the building sizes to.
How big an area (in real life) does Golden Gate cover?
Golden Gate covers the entire city of San Francisco from the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz down to the Daly City border.
Do you have any plans to create similar apps for other cities?
We do plan to create similar apps for other cities. We spent a lot of time focusing on the scale of the users’ viewport to the actual size of the buildings and getting that just right. There is a certain magic in being able to explore at a smaller scale. With that being said, our minds have been racing with other places to apply this same form to.
What would be your dream city to recreate?
My dream city to recreate would definitely be Helsinki, with viewable Northern Lights!
What’s your favorite part of San Francisco (in real life)?
I really enjoy nature, so I would say that Golden Gate Park is my favorite part of the city. For some reason, it never gets old going for a run or taking a stroll through there. It's even cooler to view my favorite area of SF in reality from VR as Golden Gate Park is one of the high detail areas of the application.
What’s your favorite part of your virtual San Francisco?
My favorite part would have to be AT&T Park. There’s a little hidden Easter egg in there that is very cool to experience!