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The Golden Age VR: Discovery of Cape Horn


Rob Tuytel is starting a new part of his Golden Age VR project, an interactive way to experience Dutch history.

After a successful launch of the golden age VR in December 2014 we started to work on a new expansion called ‘Cape Horn discovery’. On June 12 it’s exactly 400 years ago a group of explorers started their journey to discover a new route to the east. With this new experience you can relive this expedition.


The idea behind the expansion is to make a new step in storytelling. After 1 month of previewing the golden age VR to the public we had amazing positive results. We asked the public to write a review after seeing the experience, and the most recommended feedback point was more story.

Our main focus point was a stable project, so we started with a makeover, adding nice interfaces and better navigation. We also added a new scene and more character variation + animations.


The big challenge was telling a story in VR. We started development in March and now we have a rough setup. Next week we release a first VR teaser, and from that point we start to add new chapters to the story. We hope to have a full experience in the end of this year.

The discovery of Cape Horn is a story that never had been told in movies, although it’s a fascinating story about surviving and Dutch heroes from the 17th century. We love to show this to the people and hope to make great development in VR.


All the modeling/texture work is created in Blender, we use unity 5 to make it work in VR. Nicolò Zubbini did great work on the ship development, he designed two versions of the ships. Bruno Oliveira who who dit lots of character work on the golden age VR took care on the new character development. We wanted to improve the quality to have more contact with the chars when telling a story. Sam Brubaker worked on a new set of animations. Thanx to Leonardo Calamati we also have some nice artwork to promote the project.

We started development on the Oculus Rift, but because of the huge struggles with Oculus we are trying to switch to the HTC vive or OSVR. We need the R&D in the process, so we always looking for new solutions in hardware, and support. The project is now 4 years in development, we can’t wait to show this to all the people who like to see it.


About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. Nothing wrong with the hardware, We only having lots of problems testing this on public to improve the content. In the best situation we can show the project in the end of 2016 because you are not allowed to show VR content to other people, expect if you are a developer. Even with the consumer version there is no option to show this on public places.

    We had a warning from Oculus, we only had permission to show it for a month. Somewhere we hope to switch to an open source platform without restrictions. OSVR looks like an option, and hopefuly HTC is more flexible to help developers making VR content.

    It is impossible to experiment with VR without testing this on beta testers. We had huge improvements after a short preview with public, covering lots of motion sicknes problems. Oculus told us they fix it therself and don't need our opinion about improvements. We had over 6000 reviews with very intresting notes, but also that was not welcome. I still really like the oculus HMD, it is an amazing piece of hardware, no bad words about it :)

  2. Thanks for the quick response! Yeah I see what you mean now. You need to be able to test what your doing on people, so if your hands are tied then it's not very helpful. It's and exciting time for VR at the moment and I am eager to get involved in it.

    I was worried that the hardware itself was an issue, so I'm glad it's not :D It seems a shame they didn't want your feedback, but I guess if there are many developers like yourselves offering feedback, in the end they might become completely swamped by it. I guess we will have to wait an see which platforms take off etc. I'm very hopeful for VR, I think it opens up so much potential. Good luck to you and your team! Looks great!

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