Damien Clinton and Darron Cox testing out the virtual reality headsets.
Damien Clinton and Darron Cox testing out the virtual reality headsets. Jann Houley

NEW BUSINESS: It's not your typical arcade type centre

IMMERSE yourself in a virtual reality world: Play some tennis, catch fish and shoot zombies - all from the comfort of an East St building.

A new business has opened up in Rockhampton's Main St CBD called Virtual World.

It offers all things virtual reality from headsets to kat walk premium machines.

"It's an experience centre.... we are offering types of virtually created or artificial experiences," owner Darron Cox said.

"Virtual reality is an artificial 3D environment computer created by a high-end computer system to give you an environment where you can interact for heath reasons, entertainment or enjoyment."

 

Darron Cox co-owner of VR Realty Rockhampton
REALITY VISION: Darron Cox, co-owner of Virtual World, tests out the Kat Walk premium machines. Jann Houley

It's not your typical gaming or shooting arcade games but gaming is a core component of what they offer.

And it's not just for "nerds" catering for ages six and up to even those in their 70s or 80s.

"We have different types of hardware with the traditional types of gaming rooms where a user can walk around in 3x3 metre gaming space and they interact with different objects and scenarios within a virtual world," Mr Cox said.

Mr Cox has hopes of getting involved with those working in rehabilitation, disabilities, underwater, health and education sectors.

It also helps with those who have phobias. They have one game for heights where the player is standing on the plank.

 

Virtual reality gear at VR Reality Rockhampton
Virtual reality gear at Virtual World. Jann Houley

 

"It's quite normal people are going to have phobias or fears... it's finding the right ways to address them and make sure they feel comfortable," he said.

As a customer walks in the door, from the beginning it's all about the experience.

They are shown what is on offer and explained what everything does, how the hardware works, the controllers, and the headset.

Then they are taken into the more interactive rooms where they reach out and do things.

 

Damien Clinton at VR Reality on East St
Damien Clinton testing out the shooting gun for the games. Jann Houley

"It teaches them to trust their feet and move around in a 3D environment and then we can set them up through different levels of game play to make it more challenging and a lot more fun," Mr Cox said.

There are a lot of single player games but also some group ones.

"You can work out the best patterns or scenarios to solve a level so it becomes a joint venture," he said.

Out the back there is a multi-purpose room which he hopes to transform later in the year to offer escape room scenarios.

"So people in a 3D environment.... they could be in an ancient pyramid where you are trying to escape and you have to work as a team and problem solve," he said.

"It will be mid-year before we get to that scale... our major focus will be getting ready for CapriCon."

There is also a virtual reality bike where you ride through a scenario.

"It gets the blood pumping and heart rate activity up," Mr Cox said.

The business has a pavilion at CapriCon and they will bring all of their equipment to the event.

"If we do it all too early it's going to flood the local area with too much... we would rather do it in stages," Mr Cox said.

They also hope to put in a snack bar and make use of the kitchen out the back to do simple food, platters and snacks.

"It's all about making these experiences accessible and friendly."

Virtual reality isn't a new field for the Rockhampton born and raised man.

Coming from an IT background, he has been involved in VR since the early 1990s.

He used to tour around schools, birthday parties and nightclubs for hire with the first generation headsets.

"Technology has really boomed in the last three to four years... there's a lot of software, a lot of experience, all this hardware that is coming out," Mr Cox said.

Whatever it is you choose to do when you go to Virtual World, Mr Cox will be eagerly awaiting to teach you all about it.

"This is a long-term project - not a fly by project... it's more than just a hobby or passion, it's a career for us," he said.